Who doesn’t need a little stress relief these days? If you’re feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, practicing self-care with calming essential oils can help. Certain essential oils act as nervines and calmatives, which are known to promote relaxation. This post will help you understand all you need to know to use essential oils for stress-filled moments in your life.

Let’s go over what essential oils are good for de-stressing and get some tips on how to use them.

man showing signs of being stressed

Jasmine essential oil

Jasmine essential oil has a warm, floral aroma that can help to lift spirits, relax the mind, and enhance self-confidence. Research from a 2021 clinical trial suggests that inhaling jasmine essential oil might be effective in calming nerves before surgery.

It’s worth noting that jasmine oil isn’t technically an essential oil, so you might also see it labeled as an absolute. To enjoy the relaxing effects of jasmine, try diluting it with jojoba oil and wearing it as a personal fragrance during stressful situations.

Rose essential oil​

While rose essential oil is more commonly known for its uses in skin care, it also offers amazing benefits for your well-being. Its sweet, peaceful aroma can be used in aromatherapy to enhance relaxation and help relieve headaches, which are often triggered by stress. A study published in Natural Product Communications found that subjects felt more relaxed after having Rose essential oil applied to their skin.

Try adding a drop to your nighttime moisturizer or diluting it and adding it to a bath to de-stress after a long day.

Orange essential oil

Cold-pressed from the fresh fruit peel, orange essential oil has a sweet, sunny scent that not only smells good but also promotes calm. This study and this one published in Physiology & Behavior found that diffusing orange essential oil at the dentist’s office helped patients feel more at ease.

Another way to harness the calming, de-stressing properties of this oil is to mix 8 drops with 10 ml of carrier oil—like jojoba, sweet almond, or olive oil—and massage it onto your skin daily. Since orange essential oil is photosensitive, apply the diluted oil to your back or lower chest and throw on a shirt before going outside.

German Chamomile essential oil

Although not as well-known as Roman chamomile oil, German chamomile essential oil boasts some impressive benefits. Used in aromatherapy, it can inspire calm feelings. According to a study published in EXPLORE: The Journal of Science & Healing, participants who inhaled chamomile and lavender essential oils for 30 nights felt more relaxed than those who inhaled distilled water.

Want to put it to the test? Diffuse 3 drops each of lavender and German chamomile oils to help you relax and unwind before bed. For a sweeter, brighter scent, add a few drops of orange essential oil.

Lavender essential oil

woman sitting down relaxing to destress

Lavender essential oil is one of the most calming and relaxing essential oils for your diffuser. Used in aromatherapy, it can help to calm and soothe the nerves and relieve headaches. A 2011 study on 30 patients found that lavender oil had a soothing, de-stressing effect on participants. Whether you use it in your diffuser or dilute it and add it to a bath, lavender essential oil can help you tackle everyday stresses naturally.

Ylang Ylang essential oil

Another calming oil you should try is Ylang Ylang essential oil, a widely used nervine and calmative in aromatherapy. In a 2008 study, participants who smelled Ylang Ylang felt significantly calmer compared to those exposed to the scent of peppermint oil or no scent at all.

To experience Ylang Ylang’s calming effects, use it in aromatherapy or apply it topically with a carrier oil. Let this sweet, calming oil help you relax and de-stress after a trying day.

Cedarwood essential oil

Commonly used in home remedies for healthy-looking hair, cedarwood essential oil is also loved for its warm, calming aroma. In one study, researchers tested the properties of cedrol—a key component of Cedarwood essential oil. During the experiment, participants inhaled cedrol, and researchers measured changes in their heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing patterns. The results indicated that cedrol had a relaxing effect on the participants.

To harness cedarwood oil’s calming properties, try it with other relaxing oils in a nighttime diffuser blend. You can also dilute it and add it to a roller bottle to help you de-stress from daily challenges on the go.

Patchouli essential oil

When you want to create a calming and peaceful environment during a busy day at work, reach for patchouli essential oil. In a 2020 study, researchers found that inhaling Patchouli oil helped emergency nurses de-stress at the end of a long shift. Use its musky, earthy aroma as a base note for cologne or perfume, or pair it with other calming oils like orange and jasmine in your diffuser to feel calmer and more at peace.

Dos and don’ts when using essential oils for stress


  • Use only 100 percent pure essential oils.
  • Patch test with one drop diluted in a carrier oil.
  • Practice safe sun exposure after applying photosensitive oils like orange essential oil.


  • Use fragrance oils and expect to get the same benefits as essential oils.
  • Apply undiluted essential oils to your skin.
  • Use more drops than recommended on the essential oil label.

Do any essential oils help relieve anxiety?

people clasping each other's hands to comfort one another

While the essential oils above can help in managing everyday stresses and promoting relaxation, they’re best used in combination with other stress-management techniques. If your anxiety or stress feels overwhelming, persistent, or disrupts your daily life, it’s crucial to consider professional support.

Seeking guidance from a medical or psychiatric expert ensures you’re on the right path for managing stress effectively. Remember, taking care of your well-being involves a holistic approach, which might include therapy, medical advice, and self-care rituals. So, while essential oils are a valuable tool in your relaxation toolkit, they’re just one part of a comprehensive approach to your mental well-being.

This post is also available in: French