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How I use an essential oil diffuser to stay calm during the week

An essential oil diffuser has become an integral step in my daily routine — both during the week and throughout evenings and weekends.
Illustration of a man using a oil diffuser and a lifestyle image of the white Vitruvi Stone Diffuser next to a bed
Essential oils are generally used in three ways, among them as aromatherapy with an oil diffuser.Getty Images ; Courtesy Vitruvi

Editor's note: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes some possible risks when using essential oils in proximity to pets. Before buying an oil diffuser, be sure it's safe for your pets and that you pet-proof the space where you plan to use it.

From the increase in Covid-19 cases to the dip in temperatures, you might find yourself feeling more stressed out as of late — and you're likely spending more time indoors than you would normally. To better cope and put my mind at ease, I rely on an essential oil diffuser — it might prove useful to you, as well. Here's how I found my love for essential oil diffusers: Watching my sister working on her final project for school, sipping on coffee and listening to some calming playlist, I spotted an oil diffuser beside her. Somehow, she seemed to be completely relaxed despite the stress of the moment: Back then, this included the onset of Covid-19 and the college paper she was working on.

SKIP AHEAD Essential oil diffusers to shop

I asked her about what smelled like Christmas to me. She explained it was coming from the BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser, a tiny device used to break down essential oils and disperse them into the air — besides the model I came to adore, there are a myriad of options for oil diffusers at retailers like Macy's, Walmart and Wayfair. After researching and learning how diffusers work, as well as which scents I could grab, I began to borrow my sister's diffuser throughout the day. Within a month, it had become a fundamental part of my routine.

How I use the essential oil diffuser all day

The BellaMist diffuser is very simple to set up:

  1. I pop off its orb-like cap and fill its body with water.
  2. Then I add a few drops of oil into that water.
  3. After replacing the cap and switching the diffuser on, it quickly produces steam and spreads it around.

The covering protects the heated water from bubbling over — and keeps me from accidentally touching the hot water. It also doubles as a light feature with a variety of colors I get to choose from. One of the options has the diffuser automatically rotate through its possible colors, adding a level of aesthetically pleasing entertainment to my relaxation.

BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser

The BellaMist Essential Oil Diffuser is compact and easy to use. It produces mist for up to four hours and comes with a 5ml bottle of peppermint essential oil to get you started. It also includes a light feature that offers seven different colors.

Essential oil diffusers need oil

Which oil you end up using is up to you and your routines. BellaMist offers a variety of essential and fragrance oils, both individually and in sets.

  • In the mornings and while I work, I like to use something that can wake me up and keep me alert. To that end, I rely on peppermint oils.
  • Once I get tired of peppermint or enough time has passed, I’ll switch over to a fiery clove-and-spice scent — it gives me the feeling of entering a new environment.
  • Later in the day or during the weekend, I love the smell of lavender to help me unwind and relax.

While I prefer the aromatherapy aspect of essential oils, registered dietician Maya Feller previously told TODAY that they're generally used in three ways: They can be ingested through droppers or capsules, applied to skin topically through hair or skin care products and spread into air for aromatherapy with a diffuser. Feller uses essential oils in her practice, scents including oregano, lemon, peppermint, lavender and argan oil.

Regardless of which route you head, keep in mind the ASPCA notes some possible risks when using essential oils in proximity to pets. "Using an oil diffuser for a short time period in a secured area — one that your dog or cat cannot access — is not likely to be an issue," they summarize. "However, if your pet has a history of breathing problems, it may be best to avoid using one altogether." Before buying an oil diffuser, be sure it's safe for your pets and that you pet-proof the space where you plan to use it.

Other essential oil diffusers to shop

While I currently use the BellaMist diffuser, there are a variety of other highly-rated options to consider.

1. URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser & Cool Mist Humidifier

TODAY contributor Katie Jackson recommends the URPOWER Diffuser. It's got a 4.4-star average rating from over 65,300 reviewers on Amazon, and goes for less than $20. She explains that the small-but-mighty diffuser freshens up the air and is easy to use. It also comes in a few colors, including Blue and White/Grey.

2. Vitruvi Stone Diffuser

The Vitruvi Stone Diffuser is a little over half-a-foot tall and can hold up to 90 milliliters of water to disperse mist in rooms up to 500 square feet. It's got a 4.4-star average rating on Amazon from over 1,500 reviewers. While on the higher-end, it's made from porcelain and can run intermittently for up to seven hours, or up to three hours straight. It also features a minimalist and natural design that doubles as art on a bedside or coffee table. Additionally, it comes in over half a dozen colors, including Blush, Charcoal, Honey, Sea and more. You can also find a variety of essential oils on the brand's website, as well as the Move and Stay Diffusers, which offer a more contemporary design.

3. InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser

With a 4.5-star average rating from over 64,200 reviewers on Amazon, this InnoGear diffuser is the retailer's No. 1 bestseller when it comes to aromatherapy diffusers. It's compact and features two modes for intermittent or continuous use. It can run for up to eight hours intermittently or four hours continuously and will automatically shut off once the water runs out. Plus, you can find it in four colors, including Yellow and Brown.

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