• The Best Essential Oils (and Blends) for Grief

    woman in mourning

    As some of you know, my dad died earlier this year. I’m sorry if that language is a bit blunt or shocking, but I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the euphemisms we have for death. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel it’s sting, however. It’s been quite a roller coaster of emotions – sadness, frustration, irritation, stress, anxiety, helplessness, anger, regret, to name just a few. I’m so thankful that I had some essential oils to help me get through the worst of it.

    The oils I found most useful changed with time, mood, and circumstance, which is entirely what you’d expect given that they all work on grief in a slightly (or sometimes radically) different way.

    Below is a short list of just of a few of the oils that can be used for grief. I’ve provided a short description of their useful properties where grief is concerned, but don’t go totally by the description. If the description resonates with you but the smell doesn’t, you need to find another oil. Sometimes the one I needed in the moment was not the one I would logically have chosen. When it comes to using essential oils, especially for emotional issues, always trust your nose.

    Neroli

    A very soothing oil and wonderful to use in times of grief. It is especially helpful to aid you in moving through the emotional stress, anxiety, depression, and stress of deep loss.

    Frankincense

    Neither soothing nor uplifting but extremely beneficial if you’re dealing with grief-related depression. It has a very calming effect on the spirit and helps foster/strengthen your link to the Divine, which is often weakened when we lose a loved one. Frankincense is also extremely calming to the mind and can help keep your mind from racing with all the woulda, coulda, shouldas that tend to bombard the mind of those who are left behind.

    Neroli/Frankincense blend

    The best of both oils in one convenient blend. This blend allowed me to keep it together enough at the funeral that I was actually able to interact with people instead of retreating to a separate room away from everyone.

    Lavender

    Very calming. It works particularly well on the depression, anxiety, guilt, and shame that often accompany grief.

    Jasmine absolute

    (Not really an essential oil since the delicate jasmine leaves don’t hold up to the rigors of the steam distillation required to create an essential oil, but used in the same way.) This a superbly soothing oil for every aspect of emotional well-being.

    Rose

    Soothing and especially helpful for the despair and shock associated with grief and loss. Rose is sometimes too much in the initial stages of grief, when other emotions need to be addressed first. You’ll know it’s too soon if the smell isn’t pleasing or soothing to you.

    Melissa

    Uplifting and calming.  It can bring acceptance, clarity, and understanding when you’re experiencing shock, grief, anger, and/or fear.

    Bergamot

    An uplifting oil. When it’s not enough to just soothe the stress, depression, or anger of loss, bergamot can help you remember that yes, you will eventually feel happiness and joy again.

    Orange (and lemon and grapefruit)

    These are sunshine in a bottle. There is always light to balance darkness, and the citrus oils will help you find the light that’s left in your life when the loss of death has you in its dark grip.

    Rosemary

    Uplifting as well as energizing. It can help you move through the feelings of anger that are often associated with depression. It’s also a stimulating oil, which means it can help you stay awake and present if you’ve been having a difficult time staying awake. Caution: Except in rare cases, don’t use rosemary within about 6 hrs of bedtime. Trust me on this one.

    Cypress

    Imparts calm, strength, and understanding that grief is a long process that can’t be short circuited. It helps immensely with acceptance and moving forward.

    Spikenard

    Both calming and grounding, a valuable oil to have in your grief toolbox. Spikenard will not only help ease deep-seated grief and sadness, it is also a powerful sleep aid. It is especially useful in those instances when your grief brings old, unresolved emotional pain to the surface.

    It’s impossible, even with some amazing essential oils, to spare someone from the deep grief that they’re going to experience when someone close to them dies; nor should we. But the right essential oils can help them function when they need to, reduce anxiety and depression, as well as help facilitate their ultimate acceptance of the loss. In short, it can help them to move through the process with a bit more ease than they otherwise would.

    P.S. I’d be ever so grateful if you’d share this with anyone who might benefit from it.

2 Responses so far.

  1. Paula Kemp says:

    Sorry to hear about your Dad.

    I’ve recently had a couple of clients that have unfortunately suffered from miscarriages and these oils are so beneficial for helping them to deal with their grief. I especially love Frankincense and Bergamot in a blend, which works for both men and women.

    I’ve not tried Spikenard, not sure if it’s an oil available in the UK, but will definitely get it if it’s available.