I haven’t always been into essential oils. The first time I tried them was years ago, when I randomly chose just one oil at a department store. I found out years later that I’d picked an oil for depression at a time when I was depressed. I didn’t know anything about the benefits of different oils or how to use them, I just liked this one! I used to put it on the floor of the shower and forget about it.
For a long time that was the extent of my relationship with essential oils.
Then I started noticing that oils were becoming really popular and that doTERRA businesses were popping up all over Instagram. Coaches and wellness experts seemed to be pushing them everywhere, and I used to roll my eyes and think, come on, if you’re so happy and successful already then why do you need to sell oils? Why are you pushing these products on your friends? I didn’t aspire to be like that at all.
In 2015 I was planning a goal-setting workshop in Perth, and a friend who lived there generously offered to have me stay for the weekend. She also asked if I wanted to include some samples of doTERRA oils in the gift bags for the workshops. I said, “I’ll have a think and let you know” and then promptly ignored her email for three months.
That’s how weird I was about oils!
Eventually I thought, ‘stop being so selfish, Sarah, she’s letting you stay at her house. Just put the samples in the bags!‘
Workshop week arrived and I went to stay with my oil-loving friend. She was great. She knew how resistant I was about the oils, so she didn’t talk to me about them at all—but and just maintained her own oily routine.
I woke up on the morning of the workshop and I felt pretty good. Normally I’m a ball of stress before presentations, but I just chilled in her kitchen, did some work and went to my workshop. I felt pretty positive and a bit more open and welcoming than usual. It wasn’t until the day was over that I stopped and really noticed how different it had been. Instead of stressed, edgy and self-conscious, I felt relaxed all day.
Normally I’d be really wired after a workshop and take hours to wind down, thinking through all the things I could’ve done better. But that night I slept really well.
The next day I woke up foggy and tired, which is normal for the day after a workshop — but after 15 minutes in the kitchen (where the diffuser was!) I was happy and chatty. I had three social events that day, which felt like a lot after a workshop when I’d normally just want to lie in bed all day and relax. But instead I went out and had a great time, got some more work done, and had another great night’s sleep.
The day after that, I sat my friend down. I said, “Okay, whatever you’ve been using on me, I need you to tell me more. It works.”
She’d been diffusing different blends for me all weekend: one to help with my anxious feelings, one to energise me before the workshop, and a sleep blend to calm me down at night. She hadn’t explained any of it to me at the time. I was just aware that I felt good, and ‘good’ wasn’t always normal for me at the time.
Like a lot of us I was resistant to spending money on oils at first — or maybe more accurately, I struggled to spend money on myself.
I felt sick when I placed my first order, even though it wasn’t very big; I felt like I couldn’t afford it. But once I got that first batch of oils, I never looked back. The next month I got a diffuser, and after that I kept ordering an oil or two every month. If I ever felt like I shouldn’t spend the money, I just reminded myself: this is important and it works.
It’s as simple as that: for me, this works!
The more I got into the oils, the more I started reading and learning. I have a book about emotions and essential oils and that’s like my bible. If I’m having a negative feeling, I can literally look it up in the back of the book and find the oil that will help.
Instead of reaching for the chocolate to perk me up at 3pm, I can crack open an oil, have a sniff and feel better in less than ten seconds.
If I feel angry or somebody hurts my feelings, I can look up which oil will help with resentment or sadness and breathe it in until I feel okay.
Or if I come home stressed or frustrated after a bad day, I roll essential oil on my feet, put my feet up and after a few minutes it’s transformed my mood and I’m ready for a relaxing evening.
I’m not somebody who’s good with time-consuming routines or a lot of complicated, expensive self-care. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So you can believe me when I say that this is simple. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.
I feel like I’ve discovered a secret—self-care that literally takes ten seconds! And if you’re curious about how it all works — or if you’re skeptical, like I was, I’d love to share the secret with you too.
Photograph by the wonderful and talented Amy Agnew.