Try This DIY Aromatherapy to Turn Your Home Into a Calming Retreat

Inhale, exhale.
citrus in pot with herbs on the side

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Whether it’s curling up with a good book or binge-watching cleaning videos on TikTok, we all have our ways of dealing with stress. That said, there are some environmental switch-ups that seem universally appealing: opening windows to let in fresh air, peppering in some healing plants (it’s a thing), and cooking up a big batch of…herbs and spices? Turns out, it’s both calming and mood boosting, and the best part is you can DIY aromatherapy with ingredients you already have in your kitchen

“I’m definitely using it a bit more in my daily routine these days,” says Kristin Guy. The photographer and stylist (and gardening pro) has been tinkering around with a few different blends. Some provide air purification and others supply head- and chest-clearing properties that could help anyone feeling a little under the weather. All of them involve a simple mix of plants, fresh fruits, or dried spices. “I know a lot of people don’t have huge stockpiles of essential oils on hand, so it’s important to remember that you can create the same aromas using foraged items from your backyard or pantry,” adds Guy. (Good news for those of us spending more time indoors these days.)

assortment of spices in plates and bowls
Photography by Kristin Guy

seeds in a wooden bowl
Photography by Kristin Guy

Guy’s aromatherapy DIYs are simple: Just fill a large pot with water, add your ingredients, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer on low. Replenish liquid as needed, and try to use whole spices wherever possible (if using powdered blends, Guy recommends making little sachets out of cheesecloth and twine, so loose herbs can mingle). 

The beauty of this project is how customizable it is—though if you’re feeling stuck, these are the combinations Guy currently has on repeat.

bowl of oranges and lemons
Photography by Kristin Guy

The Immunity Booster

Right before bedtime or a hot shower, whip up a pot of bay leaf, spruce, and ginger—those strong scents help open up your chest and could relieve congestion. 

The Sleep Aid

Guy swears by an elixir of peppermint, lavender, and lemon at night, which infuses a sense of relaxation into her bedroom and helps her drift off. 

The Air Freshener

Try diffusing a few different combinations of fresh herbs, whole spices, and anything citrus. The zingy fragrance will make your home smell superclean. A few of Guy’s favorite recipes: sage, ginger, lavender, lemon, orange, and rosemary; rose petals, lavender, lemon, and orange; and bay leaf, thyme, coriander, lemon, and orange. Now breathe easy. 

Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.