The start of a new year is the perfect time to reset and update your self care practice. Having provided the ultimate relaxation wardrobe, Voya shares with us why essential oils are the must-have addition to any relaxation routine.

Citrus, woody, floral and fruity flavours are scent signatures that evoke nature and can uplift our mood. Essential oils are a perfect indoor experience enhancer, especially during winter while the days are short, cold and cloudy. They have health and well-being benefits, which is another reason to feel good. Here are a few essential oils with mood-lifting effects that are perfect for winter.

Sandalwood Essential Oil

Used in ancient Egypt for embalming purposes, Sandalwood (Santalum album) has a sweet, woody-floral fragrance and is commonly used in perfumes and incense. Sandalwood essential oil is a perfect mood lifter during winter with harmonising effects which are relaxing, soothing and can reduce anxiety. Blending well with other essential oils like jasmine and yang ylang, sandalwood oil is commonly enjoyed during meditation or prayer time. Adding a few drops of sandalwood oil into a hot bath will benefit your skin while also supporting a restful nights sleep.

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is a citrus plant, cultivated and used by Italians for years to lower stress and soothe the skin. Bergamot oil has a range of health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation and inhibiting pain. One of the active ingredients in bergamot - linalool - is also found in lavender and rosewood oils. Bergamot operates as a mood enhancer by increasing alertness, calmness, reducing anxiety and stress. If applying to the skin, dilute with a carrier oil or water to minimise skin sensitivity. Or enjoy the benefits of bergamot by adding a drop of bergamot oil to a cup of normal black tea to make a cup of Early Grey.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a leafy, tropical plant with a fruity, citrus fragrance and has been used for centuries in southeast Asian cuisine. Lemongrass oil has been studied extensively and a range of properties beneficial for health and well-being have been identified. With antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial, and fungicidal effects, the list of positive benefits from lemongrass oil seem to be endless. Lemongrass oil is also a mood enhancer with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects. As a gentle oil, lemongrass oil can be inhaled or applied directly to the skin. To freshen up the fragrance of the house and take advantage of the antibacterial and fungicidal properties, add a few drops of lemongrass oil to your next cleaning solution.

Rose Essential Oil

The delicate, sweet fragrance of Rose (Rosa) oil is luxurious and comforting. Extracted from the petals of rose flowers, rose oil has been shown to reduce pain and stress, alleviate discomfort, reduce breathing rate and blood pressure and provide an overall relaxing effect. Rose oil is also considered to be of benefit to the skin with certain healing properties. A floral classic, rose oil may also go beyond mood lifting - as it is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. Dilute rose oil with a neutral carrier oil (like avocado oil) before applying to the skin, or add to a diffuser.

Other mood-lifting, winter-warming essential oils are: lavendar, wild orange, and ylang ylang.