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Lauren VanScoy of ‘Essence One’: “Believe in your mission”

They are pretty much the same as what I recommend at work or sport. Sleep! Whenever I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I notice it. My mind is cloudy, I react a little too quickly to hard situations and I am more impatient. Eat better — if I don’t eat well, I feel sluggish, sleepy and […]

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They are pretty much the same as what I recommend at work or sport. Sleep! Whenever I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I notice it. My mind is cloudy, I react a little too quickly to hard situations and I am more impatient. Eat better — if I don’t eat well, I feel sluggish, sleepy and more negative mentally. Exercise — the feeling you get after a workout is exactly what you think you will feel. Even though it sounds so cliche, it’s true, the sky is bluer, the world is brighter and your mind is clearer.


As part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren VanScoy. She founded Essence One to bring awareness to mental health and wellness through the creation of all-natural aromatherapy products. Her passion and dedication to natural products began after being caught off-guard by anxiety and depression in her mid-thirties. Lauren’s search for help led to her interest and eventual certification in aromatherapy. Crafting all-natural products that are uplifting and calming is one of Lauren’s joys in life. Each product and scent has been formulated to support an inspired and less-stressed life.

Essence One keeps mental health awareness at the forefront of every purchase by partnering with Bring Change to Mind, a national organization co-founded by actress, Glenn Close. Bring Change to Mind works to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness by helping students start mental health clubs. Essence One funded the very first club in the state of Minnesota and, with your purchases, will fund many more around the country.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up as the oldest of four siblings in Minnesota. I was involved in music and sports and was a year-round swimmer. I babysat almost every weekend and saved my money because I didn’t have anything I wanted to spend it on. By the time I went to college, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, I had a nice little savings for college money. I started as a Nursing major and quickly switched after I realized it wasn’t the career path for me and redirected to English and Norwegian. I studied in Norway, which was a game changer for my confidence level as I learned how to “adult” on my own, in another country, speaking another language, without my family. After graduating from college I did a little temp work and then started my first career in group travel. It was there that I remained for 16 year before transitioning to my company, Essence One, full time.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My number one fan was, and still is, my husband. Before you decide to leave a stable job, living on a budget with two incomes and two kids, making sure your partner is comfortable with that decision was very important. I started Essence One when I was working my day job. Making product, my aromatherapy education, and formulating all happened at night after the kids went to bed. I remember making soap until 2:00 am and then getting up early with the kids, getting them to daycare and off I went to work. The fact that I had the passion to grow Essence One into the wee hours of the morning, while maintaining a family, a job and daily life, soon made me realize I was inspired by something I loved.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My parents always taught us to do what is right and to work hard at what we do. I don’t do anything halfway professionally and I give whatever I am doing my all. I don’t think I could have that outlook if I wasn’t raised to believe I could do anything.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Oh my, there are so many. From showing up to my first trade show with my sweet sister in a sling from shoulder surgery thinking that buyers would just come up to us and place orders to spending way too much money on our first national wholesale order on special boxes and packaging. There is SO MUCH to learn when running your own business but funny stories and mistakes are part of that learning.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Believe in your mission. If you are fueled by your passion don’t give up. Persistence is necessary, doubts will come but if you push through them, you will make it. If you believe in your mission, giving up is not an option and you will find people that share your mission, that want to help you, that also inspire you and keep you going as well. Find mentors, or fellow entrepreneurs so you can trade information and bounce ideas off each other because it can be a lonely road at times. Having people by your side that are going through the same type of struggles as you, helps create a strong group of necessary supporters and cheerleaders.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Chemistry of Calm. It was so helpful in my journey to mental health balance. It told stories of people that overcame life events that affected their mental health journey. It was inspiring to know, after my own mental health breakthrough, that there are so many ways to find balance and calm in the midst of a hard place.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“It never hurts to ask.” Since I started Essence One, I have lived by this quote. There have been so many things that would not have happened if I didn’t ask. We have been featured on Good Morning America, the Oscars swag bag, and The View, and if I didn’t ask, we wouldn’t have gotten those opportunities. I believe in my mission, to break the stigma behind mental health and help people with stress and anxiety relief, and am not afraid to make sure we can reach and help as many people as possible.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Our current project is our Essence One Self Care Club box. Unless you have someone to sit down and educate you on aromatherapy, it can be very overwhelming! We have been dreaming up the Self Care Club for a while now and are so excited to be launching it because it will provide people with aromatherapy products, all centered around stress and anxiety relief, with simplified education. It will help people set aside time to create routines around self-care and stress relief. It can be hard to take time to do it, so the products incorporate aromatherapy into daily routines.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Creating good habits is imperative for our health — both mentally and physically. I learned this about 7 years ago when I hit a huge bump in the road experiencing crippling anxiety and depression. I’m not completely sure why I got to that point but since coming out of it, I have learned when I’m getting “lazy” again because my anxiety skyrockets and my body starts to ache. Developing habits that help relieve stress is key — exercising, sleep, eating better, using more natural products, aromatherapy, less alcohol and caffeine, are all great places to start. Finding your own picture of health takes a little time and it can be made more simple by choosing one area of your life, improving it, and then moving onto another. You don’t have to do it all at once and when you start improving these areas you will slowly see that good habits make you feel better. When I say, I know I’m getting lazy, it’s because I start to neglect some of my good habits and can feel the stress creeping in. It’s always a good reminder to kick those good habits back into gear again.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

I’ve gradually learned that reducing bad habits like drinking too much coffee during the day, which increases my anxiety and destroys my focus, in addition to increasing my healthy habits like aromatherapy products during my morning routine, exercising and eating better, have a dramatic effect on my day.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Introduce healthy habits one at a time. I have found that experiencing the benefits of good/healthy habits help motivate me to keep them as part of my routines. As you layer more good habits, it becomes obvious that you are doing something constructive and beneficial. When I feel like my bad habits are affecting my mental and physical health, it’s easy to see that I need to make a change. It’s when I know I am being “lazy”. Being in tune with yourself is key because when you feel like things are going down the wrong road, you need to make a conscious change to redirect.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Establish routines in your day to experience self-care and stress relief. Aromatherapy is the easiest to put in place and experience if you use natural products scented only by essential oils or herbs, products that you use daily as part of your routine. Aromatherapy is effective because when inhaled, it goes directly to the limbic system which directs our body to relax, slow down the heart rate, and bring calm. 2. Exercise: Increase your endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and stress is proven to affect our mental and physical health negatively. Stress throws our bodies into a fight or flight response, which weakens our immune system, disrupts our sleep patterns and fogs our brains. 3. Get enough sleep — sleep is so important. It gives our minds and our bodies time to recover and heal.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Gradual introduction to healthy habits (eating better, exercise, sleep, self-care, aromatherapy, medication, etc.) allows you to feel and see the benefits, which will motivate you more to keep those habits. When you let those habits go, you will notice what happens when you do that and that is what leads you to understand what works for you.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

Sleep! Whenever I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I notice it. Eat better — it impacts your body and mind. Exercise — it helps elevate your mood and create clearer thinking.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Introduce them one at a time. I have found that experiencing the benefits of good/healthy habits help motivate me to keep them as part of my routines. As you layer more good habits, it becomes obvious that you are doing something constructive and beneficial.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

They are pretty much the same as what I recommend at work or sport. Sleep! Whenever I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I notice it. My mind is cloudy, I react a little too quickly to hard situations and I am more impatient. Eat better — if I don’t eat well, I feel sluggish, sleepy and more negative mentally. Exercise — the feeling you get after a workout is exactly what you think you will feel. Even though it sounds so cliche, it’s true, the sky is bluer, the world is brighter and your mind is clearer.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Stay positive! Everyone wants to feel better, stronger, and more positive. Understand that you are not alone — reach out for help. Exercise with a friend. Talk to a doctor. Lean on family, friends and colleagues to join them in healthier habits. Everyone needs motivation. The results are worth the energy to find your perfect combination of healthy habits.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Yes! Find your passions, your strengths, your motivations and go with it. Granted, you have to make sure it is financially feasible, but there is nothing like someone that is fully invested in their dream career. Feeling Flow is the goal, the ideal, the thing that people search for in their work life. Everyone is entitled to that feeling — but you have to go for it. I remember interviewing for so many jobs after college where I sat there and tried to convince myself (and the interviewer), that it was the right job for me. It was painful! The job I did receive was, now when I reflect, the best fit for me at the time and I’m so thankful it worked out. I felt Flow. Through that experience I realized I don’t ever want a career when I don’t feel Flow.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’m a big fan of encouraging people to be themselves. Share your real life story even when it’s not flattering. When I went through my mental health struggle, the first step in my healing, was the day I shared what I was going through on Facebook. I wanted people to know what I was going through and that the anxiety and depression were real, that they weren’t alone, that the stigma behind mental health needed to be broken and that nobody is perfect. The response I received was incredible. People that were going through the same things as me, that were ashamed to share their stories, were reaching out. It just really made me feel that if we all shared what we were really experiencing, while we experienced it, people would realize that we are all in this together. That if we shared our good habits, our successes and our failures, we’d realize that we are all on the same search for healthy balance and happiness in life.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-).

Glenn Close would be my pick! My company, Essence One, donates to Bring Change to Mind, an organization started by Glenn Close, to break the stigma behind mental health. Our donations sponsor high school mental health clubs, provide them with a framework to establish their clubs and invite fellow students to join. High school is such a vulnerable time (especially now during the pandemic) and we don’t realize how much it shapes our personality and mental state until later in life. These mental health clubs provide a safe place for students to talk about their own mental health experiences or the effects a family member or friend’s mental health has on them.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Our website, www.essenceone.life, features my work in aromatherapy and my background story. As seen above, I’m not ashamed to share my mental health journey and truly believe that sharing our experiences can help so many going through the same places in life.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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