What do you do after becoming the Bachelor? For most alumni, it’s hawking fit teas and watches on their Instagram. But some of them have legit businesses, Nick Viall being one of them. The two-time Bachelorette contestant and one-time Bachelor decided to team up with his sister and start his own business, Natural Habits essential oils. Naturally, we were curious, so we sat down with Nick to discuss his new venture. Nick talks all things essential oils, including his personal experiences with oils, the inception of Natural Habits, and how his oils are different from the ones your aunt’s friend keeps messaging you about on Facebook.
Read on to learn more about the beneficial ways you could be incorporating essential oils into your daily routine.
How did you learn about essential oils?
I’ve been using essential oils for going on six years now. I got into it because, like a lot of people, I get anxiety, and that anxiety would lead to me grinding my teeth, and subsequently, I’d get headaches. My sister, who’s a holistic nutritionist, is always looking for alternative forms of self-care and improvement, and so she turned me onto them and suggested I try them. I understand that when it comes to anxiety and headaches sometimes you have to medicate, but if you can try to do other things before you get to that stage it’s always beneficial, so I wanted to avoid relying on medication for anxiety.
Did you have any doubts about using essential oils at first?
I reluctantly started using essential oils. It honestly sounded kind of hocus-pocus-y to me. And the two biggest companies and players in the space are doTERRA and Young Living, who are, as a lot of people know, multi-level marketing (MLM) companies. And there are some red flags with that concept. But there’s other, smaller brands out there so I started using those, and to my surprise, they really helped with me sleeping, relaxing, and anxiety, and then especially also with headaches.
Why did you decide to start your own essential oils company?
It was a bit cumbersome for me because you can have individual essential oils, like peppermint oil is really popular for headaches, but when you blend essential oils together you can maximize the medicinal benefits. That’s kind of time-consuming for the average person. I just wanted to use them as a way to make myself feel better. I also found it surprisingly interesting that it was a challenge for me to find essential oils that were USDA Organic Certified. So that’s kind of how Natural Habits started, with two ideas in mind: first, being able to offer an organic oil that was certified by the USDA, and then we specialize in blends.
What does it mean that your oils are USDA Organic Certified?
So I can only speak in the essential oils space, I don’t know the qualifications for shampoo or whatever, but it’s just making sure there’s no contamination, there are no chemicals, especially when it comes on the farms. Like, we have to make sure there’s no runoff that comes into the soil, no chemicals are added, no adulterants are in there, and a lot has to do with the farming. And the fact that it is a third party, it’s the USDA that we have no relationship with other than the fact that they’re approving our oils so we can legally fly that symbol. There’s a lot of companies that would call themselves organic. Anyone can say they’re organic, but they can’t say they’re verified by the USDA.
What sets Natural Habits apart from other essential oil companies?
We’re not the only ones who do blends, but we specialize in those blends, and we’ve taken time to create the blends. And we try to keep it simple and safe. So the combination of us being USDA Organic, the fact that we’re simple. Right now, we only have four blends. We’re going to keep those for a while, the same four blends will be in our diffuser line. Eventually, I’m sure we’ll have more, but these are the four blends that I’ve used for the past five years that have really helped me, and honestly, if you use these on a regular basis, they will help your emotional, physical, and mental well-being. We try to make it simple for the average user, not over complicate it. I’ve seen the memes like, “What’s the essential oil for bae not calling me?” But it’s almost a little out of control, and I think some of the companies make it more confusing than it needs to be.
Which essential oil is best for getting people to stop talking to you
— Stephen Lee ?? (@shopkins776) November 30, 2018
What products do you currently offer?
Our roll-ons are out of the box, ready to go. You roll them on just like you would a perfume, anywhere your blood flows, on your temples and like that. We created four blends, Rise, Protect, Center, and Release, with very specific ideas. The idea being that these are habit forming, to get you through the day. Rise to wake up, get your energy boost. Protect for an overall immunity boost, and anything in terms of keeping your immunity up. Center is great for headaches, so if you are prone to headaches it’ll help reduce the headache that you have, but more importantly, it helps make sure you’re not getting that headache in the first place. And then Release is perfect for sleep and anxiety.
Why is diffusing essential oils better than burning candles?
Candles aren’t good for you. Basically, the fragrances and the chemicals they put in to make them burn longer and last longer, to smell the way they do, are all things that you’re literally putting on fire, and by putting them on fire you’re breathing in toxins. Think about how much beneficial using a diffuser : You can control how much or how little is going into the air, as opposed to setting your place on fire.
What is the mission of your company?
You know for me, obviously with my platform, I reach a lot of women, but gender neutral. I use essential oils, guys have anxiety and headaches too, and everyone can benefit from what they can do. I think we’re just trying to get the message out about essential oils and how they’re beneficial, and kind of fighting against some preconceived notions of essential oils.
Do you have a favorite blend or oil that you go to?
Mine is the Release, I use that a lot. I mean, that’s the one that’s designed for sleep and anxiety, and that’s really what got me into it, and so that blend with peppermint, clary sage, lavender, and grapefruit is the one I use the most. I use it every day when I go to sleep, and I use it throughout the day if I ever go to yoga or do meditation, which I don’t do as much as I should. Thankfully, I get less and less headaches now, but the Center’s been really helpful for that. I find that my second favorite one is probably the Protect because I like the way it smells, and when I’m traveling I put it on and it helps with the immune system. I hate getting sick, and I always try to avoid it, so I’m using it every day for that extra boost.
How do you incorporate essential oils into your daily routine?
That’s how we came up with the name Natural Habits. should be habit forming, it should be something you do on a regular basis to maintain that healthy lifestyle. It’s like when you want to get in shape, you don’t just hit the gym and eat donuts, you look at a holistic approach to having a healthy lifestyle. Essential oils have been a big part of , and they’ve really helped me.
I’m sold! If you’re officially drinking the essential oils kool-aid too, check out Natural Habits’ current line of roll-on oil blends, and the diffuser line, available now. And for a limited time, Natural Habits is offering Betches readers a discount on their purchase. Use code BETCHES for 20% off your purchase on Natural Habits.
Images: Natural Habits
If you have a sense of humor and working eyes, you will agree that all of Sgt. Olivia Betchson’s articles are hilarious. However, I didn’t laugh very much at one of them (even though the jokes were spot-on) because I could relate to it a little too hard. I once had the exact same problem she is currently experiencing—insomnia—and, as all Fight Club fans know, insomnia is no f*cking joke. In fact, it’s horrible, and I
don’t wish it on my worst enemies. Luckily, my bout of no sleep happened during my college years when I only had to use my brain for a few hours a day, and could spend the rest of my time drinking and editing Instagrams of me pretending that everything is going great! Spoiler alert: everything was not going great.
Insomnia affects everyone slightly differently, and it affected me the way dementia affects your grandma. For those of you who are about to tell me that was an insensitive joke, it wasn’t a joke! I participated in a sleep study, which officially ruled that my brain had been in a dementia-like state since the insomnia started, just six months before. And unfortunately for everyone who knew me at the time, I was in that terrifying state for another eight months. Ugh, so nostalgic for my fun and carefree college days! Because my Sergeant already went into detail re: how awful insomnia is, I’m just going to say “seconded on all counts” and talk about happier things, like natural ways to fall asleep that don’t involve counting sheep, aight? Full disclosure: these methods work for me now, four years after I countered the problem with both medication prescribed by my doctor and a tightly packed joint. I don’t still have insomnia (bless up), but I get really nervous that it’s coming back on nights when I can’t sleep, and on those days, I practice the below natural ways to fall asleep. You’re welcome, fam.
Read A Boring Book
I was an English major and legit enjoy reading. You aren’t allowed to be an English major if you don’t. So I got in the habit of turning off my laptop and putting my phone face down (after setting my alarm, of course) once I decided it was time for my bedtime story. FYI, I still do this every night and I will never not refer to it as my bedtime story. Cute or creepy, LMK in the comments! Anyway, when I first started doing this, I was reading Lolita, which is like the absolute worst book to read if you don’t want to be up all night thinking about a full-grown adult man who’s planning a cute little scheme to kidnap his wife’s adolescent daughter so he could bang her whenever he so pleases. Don’t get me wrong, Lolita is an incredible book and everyone should read it, but if you’re using it as a sleep aid, you may as well just sip an espresso or pop an Addy while you read because this book will not let you doze for one second. It will haunt you until the day you die.
If you’re going the book route, read something slightly less “active,” as my 10th grade English Literature teacher referred to it. My weapon of choice? Little Women. It is long af, which just inherently makes it incredibly boring, and the plot moves slower than your IBS on a bad day. Another boring af option? Pamela, an epistolary novel written in 1740 about a 15-year-old maidservant named Pamela Andrews, whose employer, Mr. B, makes unwanted and inappropriate advances towards her. Wow, I guess times really haven’t changed at all!
Get An Aromatherapy Diffuser
Guys, this is the best purchase I have ever made and I got it from my favorite place in the world: Bed, Bath and f*cking Beyond. Coincidence? Nope! So every aromatherapy machine is different, but they all kind of do the same thing, which is release a cute little puff of steam that’s infused with essential oils. Mine is by a brand called Ellia and it’s really pretty, which doesn’t really matter, but it sits on my window sill where everyone can see it, so it actually matters a lot. They are so simple and easy to use, and pretty affordable. There’s a little vessel where you pour a certain amount of water and a few drops of your fave essential oil, which lasts literally forever. I’ve been on the same vial of lavender oil for two years now and still have a f*ck ton left. You can use whichever oil you prefer, but if you’re using the aromatherapy diffuser to help you sleep, I’d stay away from citrus scents and opt for more of a lavender or chamomile situation, since those are proven relaxers. Turning on the diffuser a good hour or so before bed will def do the trick when you get sleepless night vibes. Some of them (mine, at least) even have music settings built in so you can either connect it with your Spotify or choose one of the diffuser’s playlists, which are all soothing water sounds. I just convinced myself to buy another one.
Try Breathing Techniques
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. I learned the importance of paying attention to your breath in hot yoga, where breathing is like, actually kind of difficult. Breathing techniques work for two reasons. One, focusing on your breath helps you both control and slow it down, which, in turn, slows your heart rate down, which, in turn, will help ease you into sleep. Secondly, focusing on nothing but air going in and out of your lungs is boring af and should put you to sleep, like, ASAP. I don’t f*ck around with that stupid, in through your nose, hold it for ten seconds, then out through one of your nostrils then inhale for two seconds, hold for five then release again through, like, your eyes sh*t. Those kind of techniques are too complicated and stress me out. I keep it simple with breathing in through my nose slowly and releasing it through my mouth slowly. Easy. I learned this technique when I was on the track team in high school (MVP, obv) so that I could get through the 800 without having a stroke. And it worked! Your breath is obviously connected to a lot of systems in your body (and mind), so making sure it’s in a good place is integral to a good night’s sleep. That’s all!
Don’t Eat Right Before Bed
Look, I live in New York, home of eating dinner at 9pm, but having a full meal right before bed is not the move. I’ve been told that it’s more about what you eat than when, but since I have a very strict diet of pizza and cheeseburgers, I’ve been instructed to just not eat if I’m going to bed shortly after. If you are a functioning adult, having a light and nutrient-packed snack before bed is actually good. For you weirdos who eat salads and sh*t for lunch, low-energy food before bed can help keep your blood sugar levels in check, which, for some unfortunate souls out there, drop at night, and that is why these people wake up wanting to go on a homicide spree out of hanger come the morning! A lot of foods are low-key energy-boosting, but not in like a “Let’s go for a run” kind of way. All they do is make you feel tired, but they won’t let you sleep, kind of like my friends at parties.
Ok, so this next part is tricky, so pay attention. Having a small carb-y snack like warm milk, fruit, or crackers can actually help you fall asleep, because the sugars make nice with the serotonin in your brain, but having actual sugar like candy or cookies will have the opposite affect and you will be up all night, and not in a good way. The most important thing to remember is to not eat mindlessly before bed. Like, until I knew this, I physically couldn’t watch Netflix without a bag of pretzels in my hand, but that kind of habit may have kick-started my bad sleeping habits to begin with! F*ck you, pretzels!
Light A Candle
Try this at your own risk, but I’ve found that making my tiny closet of a bedroom feel like a spa in any way that I can has proven really helpful for my sleepiness. If it were up to me, I’d hire an interior designer to turn my apartment into Anthropologie, but sadly, my bank account is not down for that. Sad. I am not a regular at five-star spas, but I’ve been to a few, and I’ve noticed that they all have candles on every surface for ~relaxation~ purposes. And they nailed, it because I’ve fallen asleep in every spa I’ve ever visited. I have no shame in admitting that I have not one, not two, but eight candles in my room (all in cute containers, obv) and I love them all dearly. They are all really light and clean, which means I can light them all at the same time and the scents won’t be gross when mingling in the air! If my mom is reading this, my apartment is still standing, so relax. Lighting them all at once sans artificial light in the room serves some serious spa vibes and I am here for it. I usually fall asleep with all of them lit (#lit) and then wake up a few hours later to blow them out and then subsequently pass the f*ck back out. Candles are a must, people, and they are such an easy investment. All I ask is that you buy all-natural beeswax candles so you aren’t falling asleep to the heavenly scent of toxic fumes.
Obviously, everyone falls asleep differently, so I can’t guarantee that these sleep techniques will work for you. But I can guarantee that doing these things will help you feel more relaxed, and relaxed people usually sleep better. It’s like, science. Hopefully you’ll figure out what works for you so you can kick insomnia’s ass. Let me know in the comments if you have other methods that have worked for you!
Images: Unsplash; Giphy (5)
You know those days where if you get one more email, you’re going to throw your iPhone under the subway? Then your mom calls and you start freaking out because no, you don’t have a plan. And then, Whole Foods is out of Halo Top and you have to wait in line for 30 minutes because everyone decided to go grocery shopping at the same time. But all you wanted to do was lie in bed and watch Friends all day. If only being lazy all day was, like, an actual job.
Acknowledging that we’re stressed is a growing movement. And since long periods of stress cause cortisol (the primary stress hormone) to spike and higher cortisol levels lead to weight gain, heart disease, memory problems, headaches, and depression, feeling stressed out is not a joke. In addition, there’s more awareness that anxiety is an actual problem that affects at least a third of the world. And honestly, the number feels like it should be higher since literally all of my friends complain of being anxious (but maybe it’s because we’re stressed out millennials).
In any case, since stress is bad for both your physical and mental health, I’m always looking for ways to de-stress. A year ago, the New York Times wrote an article about how the “Prozac Nation is Now the United States of Xanax,” so sure, I’m well aware there are plenty of drugs that doctors love to push on their patients. But since I’ve always loved trying weird things, I wanted to test out some alternative methods of de-stressing. Since I have no background in anything medical (does dropping out of pre-med count?), I turned to Google (which we all know is totally reliable) and decided to try them out.
Here are the results in my totally scientific one-test subject study on alternative medicine/new age-y ways to chill out.
I invested in a diffuser and some oils from Urban Outfitters. Lavender oil supposedly reduces stress (plus, you know, smells lovely) so I thought I’d try it. Some essential oils can also be applied to the skin when diluted, but a word of warning: like most things in a very contradictory health industry, there’s not much definitive evidence on whether essential oils should be ingested. Personally, I would probably steer clear from swallowing essential oils. Also, don’t diffuse around your pets. Anyway, I have no plans on accidentally dying in the pursuit of journalism, so I just stuck with spritzing lavender in the air. The whole experience felt quite spa-like and did temporarily relieve some tension. I suppose I could have lit a candle instead, but for some reason, essential oils are all the rage. Plus I’m trying not to get expelled for accidentally burning down Stanford.
Breathing actually weirdly works. Inhale through one nostril, and then exhale through the next. The act of focusing on my breathing seems to have a calming effect for some reason. It’s basically, meditation, which I’m sure it would work—in theory. If I could sit down and not have my mind wander after 30 seconds (“this is a waste of time. I really could be finishing that paper so I can get blacked tonight at a mixer…”) that would be a miracle. I believe the whole point is to let go of your thoughts and just connect with your nature, but it’s kind of hard when my thoughts are freaking out all the time. So, let’s just stick to breathing for now.
Did these make a difference or did I want to buy one more random thing from Urban Outfitters? The world will never know. But hey, apparently, rose quartz promote good vibes, so I figured, why not get a few? At the very least, they make my glum cement block of a dorm room slightly less hideous.
Cutting Out Caffeine
Someone once told me coffee boosts your metabolism, so I’ve been drinking it like mad ever since. The bad news? It also increases stress, so maybe my three triple shot lattes a day were not the best idea. In pursuit of de-stressing, I decided to give up caffeine for a few days and it was TERRIBLE. Honestly awful. I started falling asleep by 5pm, I had a splitting headache, and I did not in any way feel less stressed. Would I have felt less stressed if I decided to push through my caffeine withdrawal? Maybe, but you try writing a paper with a migraine.
Sounds kitschy, but crafts can totally release stress. Apparently, the act of doing the same repetitive action over and over is soothing, so drawing or scrapbooking or knitting are all good ideas if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Honestly, drawing is really therapeutic, as was scrapbooking all my memories of last year in a week, which I maintain will be cute one day despite the fact that all my friends think I’m incredibly maudlin.
If all of these sound stupid to you, then I recommend stress baking. At the very least, you’ll end up with some dope chocolate chip cookies or something.
Images: Giphy (2)