Essential Oils for Mental Health, Wellness & Art
By Caryn Gehlmann
As a small business owner, I feel an affinity for business owners who are promoting mental health and wellness. I was so happy to meet Caroline Larrieu Casias recently, a local business owner with an incredible business model that inspires wellness, creativity, and a fun way to use essential oils for mental health wellness.
With her background as both a social worker and an educator, I really appreciated Caroline’s insights on aromatherapy. And you’re going to be inspired by some of the magical blends she and e3’s aromatherapy blender extraordinaire, Lakita Dunkers, have concocted to represent 12 months of mental health themes.
Tell us a little about your experience in mental health and the inspiration behind your business.
My name is Caroline and I am the owner of Awaken Arts + Wellness! I bring together Self Care, Aromatherapy, and Art to create unique products and monthly subscription kits to help all people express their creativity while improving mental health. I was inspired to bring this business together after years providing Play and Art based therapy to middle schoolers, while also doing arts and craft book clubs with my adult friends. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I have training and education learning how to help others work through difficult experiences in life, and improve mental health through creative expression. As a working parent, I have experience in feeling like my own needs, thoughts, and feelings are the last priority on a long list of other responsibilities. I hope that in my business I am able to help folks spend a little time focusing inwards, in order to feel whole and cared for even when life gets busy!
How were you introduced to essential oils and how did you meet Caryn?
I was introduced to essential oils while studying for my master’s in social work, as many of my classmates were well versed in the new practices in the field of mental health including mindfulness and aromatherapy. I started buying and using oils in my own life to welcome different moods into my home, and loved being able to have a sensory way to adjust my state of mind. I met Caryn and was introduced to Essential 3 when I reached out to her business owner to business owner looking for support sourcing glass jars in which to create my products! Caryn immediately invited me for a masked and socially distant meeting to discuss not only how she can help my small business source wholesale jars, she also shared wisdom about growth, the local market, and shared more about the essential oils she provides! A few months later I reached out to her to collaborate on developing unique blends of essential oils to match the Mental Health theme of the month subscription kits that I offer.
With your background in mental health, what do you believe are the benefits of aromatherapy?
I used aromatherapy for 4 years with my middle school students, and it never ceases to amaze me how much interest and curiosity students have in this new sensory experience! I believe that aromas can activate memories stored deep in our minds, and those memories affect our present mood. Then we can reinforce this pattern by using that scent again and again during times we wish to feel that mood. I found that without a doubt the most loved essential oil I shared with middle schoolers was Orange. Nearly all students said the scent made them feel happy, positive, and excited. So, if they came to me sad or down, we would open up the orange, take some deep breaths, and begin refocusing on happier experiences until their mood lifted.
How have you been using essential oils for mental health, wellness, and art?
Each month I produce three kits that address the Mental Health theme of the month from a different perspective. Awaken Art approaches the theme through a hands on art activity, Awaken Wellness approaches the theme with guided journaling pages and accompanying stickers, and Awaken Aromatherapy approaches the theme through scented products. I used essential oils each month in a roller bottle, so subscribers can wear the scent all month, bringing their focus back to the theme of the month. Additionally, I have been developing essential oil versions of many other bath products in my shop, beginning with essential oil bubble bars. The perfect way to fill your tub with bubbles and your heart with comfort!
I want to share a special discount with the essential 3 community. If you choose to subscribe to the Awaken Aromatherapy kit use code ESSENTIAL3 for $5 off your first month!
Tell us about your collaboration with e3 to create your own unique blends.
As I developed the 12 Mental Health themes of 2021 I knew I wanted to express those themes in a variety of ways, so that subscribers can choose kits that connect to their unique ways of thinking and processing. One of those ways being sensory. I reached out to Caryn and shared my idea: 12 blends of essential oils to complement and represent 12 Mental Health Themes. Working with Lakita in the shop to make a blend out of an abstract concept has been fun and creative! I provide Lakita with 5-7 aromas that evoke the theme, and she helps guide which essential oils in that profile might go best together! She then does her magic, making sure to balance the aromas while always working within the financial guidelines necessary to ensure I can keep my prices affordable for my subscribers.
Some blends have been simpler to approach, for example in February the theme was Relaxation and I knew I wanted to feature Lavender and Vetiver. Lakita was able to balance the strong scents in such a way that the blend felt like a new take on a well-known herbal scent. Other blends have been more complex, for example in March the theme was Balance, and I had a lot of ideas about scents: coffee, chocolate, orange, tangerine, grapefruit. Lakita pulled a Coffee essential oil and paired it with complementary citruses that somehow also smell like chocolate! These blends go into the roller bottles in the Awaken Aromatherapy kit each month, and will be sold as sets as the year goes on.
Do you have any personal favorite blends, recipes, or applications that you’d like to share?
I am pregnant, and with pregnancy comes a heightened sense of smell! I like to carry a small spray bottle of water with Ginger essential oil in my pocket when I am experiencing morning sickness, and I spray it in the air around me anytime I start to notice a smell I don’t like. This has been a lifesaver! I also love diffusing calm and grounding essential oils (Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Vetiver, Lavender) by my bedside at night to help me feel calm even when my body is struggling to find a comfortable sleeping position!
Wow! Essential oils for mental health wellness is not a boring, dry topic at all! Thank you Caroline for sharing with us amazing products and how essential oils can play a significant role in our mental health. To receive more suggestions on how to incorporate aromatherapy in your life, sign-up for our newsletter and you’ll get 20% off your first order.