By Joan Hannant, Founder & CEO of The Soma Institute
This year, Valentine’s Day comes at a time when we all need a little love. It has been one challenging year! On top of that, some of the normal comforts of this holiday, like nice meals out, may not feel like a comfortable way to celebrate in the midst of a pandemic. So, I enlisted the help of one of our amazing instructors, Kelly Fowler for a few ways you can make Valentine’s Day special.
The first thing Kelly did was reframe the holiday. While Valentine’s Day has its roots in romantic love, in this day and age, we can expand that to all types of love. Self-love is essential to our health and wellness. Without it, we wouldn’t be our best selves. Valentine’s Day is a perfect day to take care of ourselves, whether we have a loved one to celebrate with or not.
Kelly says one easy way to start is by creating the proper environment for self-reflection. “Using essential oils in a diffuser or in the context of a massage is a great way to set the mood,” she said. Kelly teaches a continuing education aromatherapy course, and she says picking oils doesn’t need to be complicated! As long as you find the scent pleasing, your body should exhibit some responses that put you in a calm state of mind. But, if you’re not sure what scent your loved one might find pleasing, Kelly outlined a few oils that should facilitate a calm, relaxed sensation.
- Lavender- It is one of the most researched oils available. It has effects leading to lower blood pressure and calm and relaxation.
- Frankincense- Many tree oils, in general, have long been used in different cultures for the purpose of mediation and enhancing a sense of spirituality.
- Lemon or Orange (citrus)- These oils have shown to decrease the effects of anxiety. Generally, they tend to be some of the least expensive oils you can purchase, so they’re very budget-friendly.
- Clary Sage (herbal family)- These oils are definitely known for having a tranquilizing effect. Sage, in general, is used for meditative purposes. Many people are familiar with burning sage, but you can use the essential oil to get the same effect.
Massage is and always has been a wonderful way to relax yourself or show someone you care. Kelly says there are even some simple massage techniques you can incorporate at home to promote relaxation. “I tell people to start with some specific areas that don’t require excessive pressure or contorting of the body,” said Kelly. “Focus on the hands, feet and scalp. They have a lot of nerves and that makes it easy to get a full-body response by just addressing those small areas with light pressure.”
And, once again, set the mood.
“Consider lighting and sound as well. Either use music or a calming sound like Tibetan singing bowls,” said Kelly. “Make sure you are unplugged from any devices like a cell phone, and remove any distractions.”
At Soma, we talk regularly in our Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate Program about the fact that there is no one path to wellness and relaxation that works for everyone. We’re all different, and our bodies and minds respond in different ways. But, one thing that is unavoidable, we all respond to love. On a Valentine’s Day unlike any other, we hope these tips can help you achieve some well-deserved relaxation.