lemons_in_bowl

Six more weeks of winter — at least, that what Pennsylvania’s Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil predicts.  And even though I anxiously await the beginning of this year’s Winter Olympics, eager to cheer on my friend’s son who is representing America on the Men’s Luge team, I really cannot wait for warmer weather to arrive.

The entire East Coast has gotten hit with so many arctic blasts this winter season, it seems as if almost every person I speak to has some form of the winter blues.  Personally, I feel like if I see one more snowflake, I am going to scream!

But fear not, my friends!  Spring will soon be here!  The winter can’t last forever, can it?  In fact, the days are already getting longer, and hopefully these “mini” snowstorms that seem to be hitting us three times a week will soon fade away.

But we’re not out of the woods yet, so what should we do in the meantime?

If you feel like you’ve gotten a dose of the winter blues, brighten up your cleaning by putting a little zest into your routine.  It’s easy to get cabin fever staying at home all day, but with a little citrusy goodness, it will be easier to forget that you’re trapped inside.  Just ten minutes spent cleaning your home can brighten your mood on a gray day when you use products with bright, uplifting scents.  After all, our sense of smell influences our behavior, triggers our memory, controls our cravings, and enhances our moods.

Think about it.  Each day, we breathe in over 23,040 times and inhale about 238 cubic feet of air.  We are capable of recognizing about 10,000 different odors, and each and every odor we smell has the power to influence our moods and our behavior.

iStock_000017472616Small

Certain smells can brighten our moods and lift our spirits, like the smell of a good cup of coffee or a warm cinnamon bun fresh out of the oven.  Other smells bring a sense of calm and make us feel at home, like the smell of lavender.  Some smells even make us think of old memories, like Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, weekends at the log cabin, or lazy days at the beach.  For years, doctors have been diagnosing certain diseases by smell alone.

Smells are everywhere: in our household products, our homes, our cars, and our office environments.  Cleaning our dwellings with essential oils can help freshen up our moods.  Some of my favorite oils to clean with are lemon, lavender, vanilla, tea tree, ginger, eucalyptus, grapefruit, citrus and peppermint.

Citrus oils especially are all great mental up-lifters, making them great choices for these cold, wet days of winter. Here are just a couple of ways you can incorporate them in your cleaning routine to help brighten your mood:

  • Mixing four cups of vinegar with a gallon of water and some lemon juice can freshen up any floor in your home.
  • Add some grapefruit or citrus essential oil to your all-purpose cleaner made of two teaspoons borax, four tablespoons vinegar, four cups hot water, and some liquid soap.
  • Disinfect your home by adding a few drops of tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil to your favorite homemade cleaners.

 

And if cleaning with essential oils isn’t your thing, brighten your mood and freshen your home with leftovers!  For amazing, inexpensive ways to spice up your indoor air, save extras from cooking and from the pantry – like citrus rinds, bits of ginger, herbs, and juices.  Use them for homemade potpourri, squeeze the oils out of them after freezing and thawing and use with a diffuser, or even throw them in your garbage disposal to get rid of smells there.

As strange as it sounds, I really do believe that smells play a large role in health and well-being because they are powerful influencers of moods and behavior.  Adding certain essential oils and juices to homemade cleaning products or using the citrus leftovers can definitely boost up our energy levels and brighten our days.  It all makes perfect “scents,” doesn’t it? 🙂