Gelf-Care 30-Day Challenge Day 15: Putting the "Oy" in Essential "Oils"

I used to go to a yoga teacher (incidentally named Robin) who would drop some essential oils into our hands at the end of each class. We would rub our hands together, cup our face and inhale these magical concoctions that had different healing properties (I did my best to inhale them through my nose, but it’s really tough when you’re a mouth breather. I say this as I sit here with my mouth agape.)

Robin wasn’t too woo woo, so I trusted her and went along with it. In fact, at a certain point, I loved this ritual (depending on the scent, of course. No cedarwood for me, thanks.)

I haven’t gone to Robin’s class in over a year and over the weekend I was given some essential oils, so I thought I’d heed no one’s advice and “try this at home.”

Out of the 12 bottles I was given, I chose eucalyptus. It was also the only one I could open. Those tiny bottles are snug!


I put a few drops in my hand, cupped my face and tried to inhale through my nose. I don’t know if I put too much oil on my hands or what, but I started coughing. I rubbed my hands together again, inhaled again and the same thing happened. Finally, the third time, it worked. So well, in fact, I felt it go down my eustachian tube. (Nostril breathing FTW!)

My hope was that it would keep me calm throughout the day. That I would smell my hands at different points and be brought back to this moment of peacefulness. I knew it might be tough given the number of times I go to the bathroom (TMI?) and therefore, wash my hands throughout the day, but I wanted to give it a try. I remember Robin’s oils lingering for a few hours after class, so I knew it was possible.

I left my apartment into the chilly morning air, sniffed one hand (nothing), sniffed the other hand (nothing) and was pissed. It had only been 45 minutes since I dropped the oils on my hands. WTF?

I retraced my steps in my head. Before I left, I cleaned something in my kitchen, I made breakfast, I put on makeup and I hit the loo. I think I wound up washing my hands three times. So much for mindfulness around these essential oils.

I went about my day and it wound up being incredibly stressful. I wish I had brought some kind of oil with me to help calm me down. I would have taken anything (maybe even cedarwood). Instead, I brought the worst kind of oil to my day. The oil of my people. I speak, of course, of “Oy”l.

I met up with a friend for a drink (something I rarely do, but I didn’t have my oils handy, so I needed something to help calm me down.) You could consider that a type of self-care although Twix is more my speed, but it wasn’t enough.


When I got home, I decided to do one other pretty foolproof self-care thing to help me relax. I lit a candle. It has a red currant scent that I absolutely love and it makes me incredibly happy.

I knew it wouldn’t make me cough nor force me to breathe unnaturally. I could wash my hands as many times as I wanted and the scent would still be there like a good friend by my side. It was like a hug for my nose and myself and when I was ready for it to stop working, I would let go, blow it out and my self-care (at least for today) would be complete.

Would I have even thought to take care of myself in this way a few weeks ago?

Hell, no.

Am I grateful for this awareness?

Mos def.

Have I’ve given up on essential oils?


Will I try them again maybe in a bath, a scrub or on my pillow, if that’s a thing?

Yes… provided I can open the bottle.

Do you have any essential oil tips or ideas? How do you calm yourself down? Tell me below. Thanks and namaste. ;)