Candles are everywhere! Scented candles especially have been all the rage for the past 10 years or so, but do you know that they have been lighting up lives for almost 5000 years? Yes, that long. I always ask people if they ever thought that the very simple act of lighting a candle is something they have in common with billions of people the world-over and across time, cultures, countries…? Think about it and how connected that makes us all.
Before you light that wick, take a moment to breathe in the scent of your candle (if scented). Look at the creaminess of the wax, the length of the wick, any special effects of marbling or speckling in the wax, the shape and texture of the candle, the container or candle holder. You could even pass your fingers over the wax to feel the softness/hardness of it. As you light, watch the way the flame takes to the wick. Once lit, see how the flame may diminish a bit before it finally settles and flickers a bit. Watch the flame cause the wax to liquefy then feel the warmth.
As part of your mindful approach to self-care, here are a few benefits to lighting candles:
1. Candlelight: Nothing is more soothing to the eyes and the soul than the gentleness of candlelight. If you are not a fan of scented candles, you can still enjoy the beauty of the light through unscented candles. It casts a gentle glow over everything and this alone can be a joy for the eyes, especially if you work in offices or spaces with harsh lighting all day or have an aversion to bright lights. In a safe, clean, clutter-free space where there is a candle lighting, you can even benefit from a reduction in stress.
2. Connected to spirituality: There is no religion on Earth that does not use candles in one form or another. For those who seek to commune with the Divine, lighting a candle upon an altar is a perfect way to do so. In fact, lighting one anywhere can allow you to feel that connection. This can bring comfort and joy, alleviate stress, and even set a special tone for what comes next.
3. Aromatherapeutic: If your candles are scented then the experience can go a whole other way! Scents can relax, energize, motivate, stimulate, assist with prayer and meditation, remind you of pleasant memories or just plain make a room smell great. Feel free to scent-scape – this is where you use a different scent of candle in each room to create a distinctive mood. Living rooms do well with lightly floral scents like Jasmine, bathrooms seem to always have stronger florals like Gardenia. The kitchen may be well served by Basil or a citrus scent, the bedroom with Lavender.
4. Symbolism: Candles and their light can have different meanings for each individual. Peace; hope; optimism; cleansing; and the fire of the human spirit, all come to mind. You can light a candle to connect to any of these sentiments or whatever personal meaning, whenever you feel the need.
How best to enjoy candles for self-care? Light them in moments of solitude and tranquility! Before bedtime, during a bath or shower, while cooking and during a meal, as you read, during yoga, while listening to soft music, during crafting, even gardening. Be creative.
It would enhance the whole experience if you keep computers, phones, tablets, etc., turned off and away from you. Being disturbed during your self-care is jarring to the system and the blue light from electronic devices is disturbing. If there is an issue with outside noise you cannot control, the use of earplugs or earphones can help. Try to keep toxic people away from you during your time for yourself and avoid having newspapers and pending work in that space.
Now go on and enjoy your candle!
Okay - going to address a few popular candle trends - but with an eye for safety!
First up - extras in your candles (e.g., herbs, flowers, fruit, foods, metals, plastic embeds, etc.). I avoid adding these to my candles because of a little phenomenon known as "secondary incineration". This is where the items floating in the wax can actually catch f...ire. This is easy as they are soaked in melted/liquid wax, hot, and there is an open flame - like RIGHT there. These items are for aesthetic value to be honest and do not add to the scent. This is why we advise that you clean out old burnt wick pieces from your wax and even little insects that sometimes get caught in there.
I am guilty of adding glitter, shimmer and sprinkles to my candles and there has never been a problem with these items.
BUT I decided to test! Who set sprinkles on fire just to check? Me. Under the watchful eye of a boyfriend who is a trained chemist. Those things BURN. Didn't smell good either.
So shimmer and glitter stay. YAY!
I have LOVED adding lavender buds to wax in the past as well as sprinkles - and have stopped. Pretty, I know. But until the laws of physics and chemistry change...