E3 Promotes Self Care for Professional Caregivers
This month at e3 we’re promoting self care for professional caregivers – appreciating and supporting those who give us support. While caregivers seem to stop at nothing to make sure their patients are taken care of, many of you will admit that taking care of yourself is often not as easy.
Many caregivers rationalize there just isn’t enough time in the day. The truth is you will always have time for the things you prioritize. Don’t forget taking care of yourself gives you the stamina and energy you need to care more, and accomplish more, with each day.
What does self care for professional caregivers look like?
The idea of “treating yourself” in order to reduce stress, improve health, or change mood is not a new idea – but many professional caregivers are doing the bare minimum (or less!) when it comes to daily or weekly routines that benefit emotional, physical, and spiritual health. But think about it: most of us brush our teeth and hair, and shower before leaving the house. It’s become so second-nature, these things are thought of as non-negotiable tasks, but they’re really choices we make every day to feel healthier and happier.
When it comes to your choice of self-care, remember it does not have to be expensive, time-consuming, or complicated. We often think of people going for a spa day, but it can be as simple as taking a few minutes at home to recharge. With that in mind we’ve come up with some options for you to try below.
Self Care Gifts and Essential Oil Recipes for Professional Caregivers
Here are some of our favorite ways to pamper and care for ourselves quickly and easily. These recipes can be made in advance and stored for up to a month in your refrigerator. We’ve provided you with options – from the shortest time and effort, up to longer spa-like treatments.
Over the course of a month, build yourself up to half an hour per week, and you may see the value in building self care into your weekly routine.
Have a professional caregiver in your life who you want to say “thank you” to? These recipes also make great gifts and is a personal and enjoyable way to give back to those who give us so much.
Combat Caregiver Fatigue: Aromatherapy Shower or Bath
A shower or bath on its own can be stress-relieving and relaxing. Add essential oils and you’ll be surprised at how quickly a shower or bath at home feels like a professional spa.
● Simplest option: add 4-8 drops of essential oil to a washcloth and place on the shower floor. The warmth of the water will create a gentle diffusion and fill your shower with an aromatic steam. As you take your shower, breathe deeply.
● To take it to the next level: fill your tub with water, warm enough to soak comfortably. Add 4-8 drops of essential oil to 1 Tablespoon carrier oil, 1/2 cup whole milk, or 1/2 Epsom Salts. Submerge yourself in the water and pour in your essential oil mixture. Swirl the water around you, breathe in the aroma and relax for at least 10-20 minutes.
● Additional self care tip: For a cooling and hydrating eye mask, spritz chilled cucumber hydrosol (or juice) on a washcloth and lay across your eyes while you soak.
● Gift for Caregivers: the bath soak can be mixed up ahead of time and stored in a glass jar to give as a gift. Pairs nicely with a small bottle of cucumber hydrosol or juice, and an eye pillow.
Essential oils we recommend:
- Mood Enhancing: Bergamot FCF, Lemongrass, Rose, Neroli
- Rejuvenating: Rosemary, Basil, Lime
- Calming: Lavender, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage
- e3 Blends: Skin Care, Female Harmony, Peace, or Courageous
Reduce Caregiver Burnout: Improve Sleep with Essential Oils in Your Pillow or a Personalized Bedtime Spritzer
Essential oils can offer a variety of support options to help improve sleep – from relaxing muscles, easing tensions, and calming breathing. While many oils will offer similar benefits, the key is finding the oil that you like in the moment. As Caryn likes to say: “the nose knows.”
● Simplest option: add 2-3 drops of essential oil or blend to a tissue or cotton ball, and tuck it into your pillow case. Use the same tissue each night, and add an additional drop of essential oil as you’re going to bed; replace if the tissue or cotton ball starts to deteriorate. Take a deep breath as you lay down and place your head on the pillow, count to 5, then exhale slowly.
● To take it a step further: create a personalized aromatherapy blend. To figure out which essential oil, oils or blend to use, smell a drop of each oil you think you’ll like on a tissue or cotton ball. Inhale deeply, and, as you slowly exhale, take notice of how your body feels: are you more relaxed? If so, that’s your indication that your body will respond to that oil or blend. Start with one or two oils you respond to, and add 20 drops of essential oil (total) to a 4-ounce spritzer bottle, then fill the bottle to the shoulder with distilled water. Shake well and spritz your pillow generously right before bedtime. As you lay down, take several deep breaths.
● Additional self care tip: a diffuser can be an easy way to add aromatherapy to bedtime without spraying essential oils directly onto the sheets. Use according to the diffuser’s directions, and turn it on about 20 minutes before bedtime to create a calming, relaxing environment in the bedroom.
● Gift for Caregivers: mix up a couple of 1-ounce spritzers with blends for your Caregiver to try.
Essential oils we recommend: Lavender, Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Marjoram Sweet, Sandalwood Blend, Vetiver, Frankincense, or Bergamot
e3 Blends: Sleeptime, Relax, Serenity, or Peace
Caregiver Sole Support: Aromatherapy Foot Lotion or Foot Soak
The Mayo Clinic currently lists over 30 potential causes for foot pain besides overuse, but regardless of the cause, when feet hurt, almost every task becomes more difficult and painful. Essential oils can help relax, ease and comfort feet after a long day. We want our professional caregivers to start the next day as pain-free as possible!
● Simplest option: add 10 drops Lavender essential oil, along with 5 drops e3 Muscle Soothe, and 5 drops e3 Joint Relief essential oil blends to one ounce of unscented lotion or carrier oil – you can easily mix up a batch ahead of time in a travel container, or directly in the oil/lotion bottle, and set next to your bed. Massage a teaspoon amount into each foot at night before bed (put on a pair of cotton socks, too, while you sleep, for a super-moisturizing experience).
● To take it to the next level: On days when your dogs are really barking, or just once a week as a treat, soak your feet for at least 20 minutes before adding lotion at bedtime. Epsom salts or apple cider vinegar can both be helpful in alleviating sore muscles and feet. Fill a shallow basin with warm to hot water (comfortable enough to submerge your feet). Measure out 1/2 cup Epsom salts or apple cider vinegar and add 5 drops Lavender essential oil, 2 drops e3 Muscle Soothe blend, and 2 drops e3 Joint Relief blend. Add the mixture to the water, and stir with your hand. Soak your feet for at least 20 minutes, or until the water gets cold.
● Additional self care tip: foot massage can help release tension and prevent pain building up and triggering additional knots in your legs and back. Follow along with a video to massage your own feet at home – or trade with a friend or partner, and massage each others’ feet while enjoying the company.
● Gift for Caregiver: both the lotion and foot soaking salts can be made ahead of time as a gift.
Essential oils we recommend for pain, inflammation and sore feet: Eucalyptus Globulus, Lemon, Spearmint, Peppermint, Rosemary, Marjoram Sweet, Niaouli, Tea Tree, Petitgrain, or Vetiver.
For a blend besides e3 Muscle Soothe & Joint Relief: e3 Cardiovascular Support, Pick Me Up, or Antiseptic Blends.
Caregiver Support on the Go: An Aromatherapy Inhaler
Essential oils and aromatherapy can be helpful to calm and relax us at home and before bed, but can also be used during the day at work, or on the go to help stimulate, energize, focus, and ground you. An inhaler gives you the option to bring aromatherapy with you, without spraying or applying it directly on your person, which can be helpful if you have clients who are sensitive to smells.
● Simplest option: put 2-3 drops of essential oil on a cotton ball, cotton pad, tissue, or Q-tip and put that into a plastic baggie. Keep the baggie in your pocket, then periodically during the day, open the bag and hold it under your nose while taking a deep breath. Or, set the open baggie on the dashboard of your car, next to your computer, or anywhere close to you during the day.
● To take it to the next level: keep an aromatherapy inhaler in your purse, pocket or backpack to take your essential oils and blends with you anywhere you go. The glass vials and caps will hold more essential oil and last longer than the plastic baggie and cotton ball; use a travel pouch to carry more than one blend at a time. Inhalers are a discrete and attractive way to enjoy aromatherapy in public, without having to spritz yourself or apply oils topically.
● Additional self care tip: different essential oils and blends will speak to you and be more appealing at different times. Take the time to check in with yourself once a week, whether during meditation or in the morning before you get out of bed – take stock of how you feel and how that compares to the week before. Use what you learn to alter and tailor your aromatherapy approach for that week.
● Gift for Caregiver: inhalers are inexpensive and can be wrapped up with a 10 ml essential oil or blend for a practical gift.
Essential oils we recommend:
Stress-relieving: Lavender, Geranium, or Mandarin
Mood-lifting: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lemongrass, Orange, Cedarwood Atlas, or Ylang Ylang
Calming: Clary Sage, Lavender, Marjoram Sweet, Sandalwood Blend, Vetiver, Frankincense, or Bergamot
Stimulating/Energizing: Rosemary, Peppermint, Juniper Berry, Tangerine, Cypress, Cinnamon, Spearmint, or Lime
e3 Blends: Concentrate, Female/Male Harmony, Mood Rescue, Rebalance, Revitalize, Stress Relief, or Peace
From all of us at e3: Thank you, Caregivers!
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