Caregiver Relief: 3 Quick ‘n Easy Ways to Recharge
Many of us are caregiving on some level with children, parents, or for the sandwich generation, both at the same time. And think about our healthcare professionals, such as nurses, who work tirelessly to care for others, especially with all the extra challenges of the last few years. To get caregiver relief, you have to carve out time for it. “How is that even possible?” you ask. I promise you that it is! It really doesn’t take a lot of time to take caregiver stress down a notch, if you give yourself permission to rest, relax and recharge throughout your busy day.
This year I’ve had to make caregiving for my parents a priority. Caregiving for individuals with dementia is both an honor and exhausting. Setting the intention to stay in a place of compassion and kindness is so important for all involved. So I get it that the last advice you may want to hear is to take care of yourself. That just feels like one more thing to add to your to-do list. But the good news is aromatherapy takes minimal effort and adds maximum benefits!
In this post, I’m celebrating all of you caregivers with three (yes, I like that number!) easy caregiver relief tips that don’t feel overwhelming in the process.
Tip #1 Caregiver Rest — Give yourself breathing breaks throughout the day
Three minutes of deep, mindful breathing sprinkled throughout your day can make a huge difference. There are different techniques people use in diaphragmatic breathing. The key is to take deep, slow breaths, visualize filling up the lower part of your lungs just above your belly button like a balloon, and then exhale slowly.
Recently, I have found that going outside and staring at the sky or the trees and taking a few deep breaths is really helpful. (I really like the recommendations in this Three Minute Breathing Space meditation by Danny Penman.)
Aromatherapy is helpful because it helps you stay in the moment and if it’s a soothing scent, it can deepen the relaxation effect. You can add your favorite essential oil or blend to a cotton ball or tissue, use an aromatherapy inhaler, or apply to your wrist using a roll-on, to give yourself a deep breathing break throughout the day. Some favorite e3 blends for diaphragmatic breathing include Meditate, Serenity, Peace, and of my go-to’s when caregiving, e3’s new blend Harmony.
But are you struggling to find three minutes? How about these times of the day….
- In the shower, use e3’s Shower Mist or another aromatherapy spritzer, and you can close your eyes and do some deep breathing before you even start your day!
- Before you get out of the car to start your day. Before jumping out and hustling to the next thing, take your three minutes to breathe.
- During break or lunch time at work. Instead of using all your time scrolling on your phone, put it aside and do a quick breathing exercise instead.
In the car, when you get home at the end of the day. You probably jump right into making dinner, doing laundry, helping kids with homework the minute you open your door. How about taking three minutes for yourself, first?
Those are just a few ideas that may or may not work for you but the idea is to find those minutes. They’re precious and you deserve them!
Tip #2 Caregiver Relaxation — Take an aromatherapy bath
When’s the last time you took a bath? Showers are faster but the interesting thing is studies are showing baths are actually healthier! One research study, Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention, reports that participants who took immersive baths “showed significantly better general health, mental health, role emotional, and social functioning scores.” According to the researchers, “Immersion bathing, but not shower bathing, exerts hyperthermic action that induces increased blood flow and metabolic waste elimination, which may afford physical refreshment. Immersion bathing should improve both physical and emotional aspects of quality of life.”
And of course adding therapeutic essential oils makes for an even more relaxing bathing experience. (Just make sure not to add them directly to the water, first mix them with a carrier or with Epsom Salts.)
Tip #3 Caregiver Recharge — Chill with your pet
Do you have a pet? It may seem counterintuitive for caregivers to give themselves someone else to take care of, however studies show petting animals can lead to decreased heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Pets also tend to be good listeners if you need a safe place to vent at the end of a long day! I loved this article by a caregiver who considers her dad’s dog to be her partner in caregiving, When Both Pets and People Need Your Care.
So this brings us to a question we had recently from one of our e3 customers.
“After the September fires there were a lot of animals both dogs and cats that were found wandering without a home… I am being a foster Mom / home for animals that are being found. Is there anything I can use that will keep me calm and at the same time support animal anxiety? I have mostly dogs but a few cats.”
Here’s my answer. Two essential oils I recommend that usually both dogs and their owners find relaxing and helpful in combating anxiety are Bergamot and Lavender essential oils. So these make good choices to diffuse, either with an aromatherapy diffuser, or by placing scented cotton balls in strategic locations. However, cats don’t respond as well to essential oils, so if you are going to diffuse essential oils, make sure your cat has the option of leaving the room. You don’t want to trap them with a scent that is overpowering to them.
And another easy option for a relaxing environment for you and your pet is to use e3’s Love Your Pet Lavender Hydrosol. Lavender is considered by many pet owners as the all-purpose hydrosol since it is gentle, soothing, relaxing, and antibacterial! It’s so gentle that some cats are okay with it too! Learn more about how to use this pet hydrosol here.
Caregivers — we appreciate you! Hopefully you found an easy-to-use caregiver relief tip that will help you rest, recharge or relax. Please contact us or join our conversations on Facebook if you have any aromatherapy tips to share with other caregivers. And if you haven’t already done so, sign-up for our newsletter to get more tips and a 20% off coupon on your next order.