Did you know taking care of yourself is critical for your long-term well-being? The British Journal of General Practice reports:
Self-care affects health outcomes through several pathways:11
- adherence to treatment regimes;
- maintenance of good physical health through lifestyle choices (for example, diet, not smoking);
- monitoring symptoms to inform treatment/self-care decisions;
- monitoring and managing stress and/or emotional consequences of illness;
- interacting effectively with health professionals to ensure that patients’ needs are expressed and addressed; and
- using social support networks to help to achieve the above.
The article continues…
As well as being a crucial element of illness management, self-care in the form of day-to-day ‘lifestyle’ behaviours (such as diet, physical activity, smoking, and drug use) is also the basis of much preventative health care.1,21 Major initiatives now exist on preventing diabetes and its complications,22 stopping smoking, and preventing the progression of hypertension and hyperglycaemia and other heart disease risk factors.22,23 The drive to prevent more illness by promoting healthy behaviour further increases the need for effective systems of self-care support.
In another article regarding preventing physician burnout, the Journal of Supportive Oncology stressed the benefits of self-care for a higher quality of life. You can easily substitute physician for any career or job title:
Importantly, self-care has the potential not only to minimize the harm from burnout, compassion fatigue, and moral distress but to promote personal and professional well-being. Job engagement (marked by efficacy, energy, and involvement in work),1 compassion satisfaction (the pleasure derived from being able to do one’s work well when helping others,69 and resilience (the ability to respond positively to challenging experiences) are all possible outcomes when a physician’s personal well-being is carefully tended. If these qualities are supported and strengthened, the very characteristics of the work of caring for patients with advanced cancer that convey such risk for harm to physicians can instead bring great gratification and a sense of professional and personal purpose.
I’ve written previously on the benefits of caring for yourself, especially if your job is caring for others (any parents out there!?). In fact, a recent study just reported on how partners can become more anxious when their loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer.
This means that in order to fully be present for others, you want to make sure your “oxygen mask is put on first.” There’s real science here and rational thought my oily friends…you just can’t be effective yourself or to others if you’re in “hypoxia”.
See this video.
One of my favorite ways to support wellness and self-care is, you guessed it, using essential oils.
Here are some of my favorites:
- I just wrote a blog on the benefits of movement for health and self-care. One of my favorite essential oils blends is a combination of many tissue calming yet mentally stimulating oils which includes: Gaultheria procumbens† (Wintergreen) leaf oil, Helichrysum italicum† flower oil, Eugenia caryophyllus† (Clove) bud oil, and Mentha piperita† (Peppermint) oil. This makes it a perfect way to ease any tension or discomfort after you’ve nurtured yourself with physical movement. (See my article on carrier oils for making this blend, I buy this blend in a bottle myself.)
- Palo Santo: This is a known essential oil for spiritual connection, relaxation, and rejuvenation. In fact, I think that if there were four Wiseman, the fourth would have brought this oil to the Christ Child! Here is why:
This oil contains sesquiterpenes, which modulate brain and neurological health, and limonene, which supports immune and circulatory health. This combination of compounds makes Palo Santo a beautiful spicy, woodsy scent to diffuse with many physical benefits. (You can read more in detail here).
- Wintergreen: This is a fantastic single oil for tension and discomfort. It is famous for its methyl salicylate content, which you can discover here.
- Eucalyptus Radiata: Self-care can go to the waste side with runny noses and coughing throats surrounding you. Enjoy this essential oil famous for its immune, respiratory, and overall wellness benefits and help keep your Valentine’s Day sniffle free.
- Lemongrass: This oil can bring the whole family together, including your little furry kitty friends. I just wrote another part to my series on lemongrass which has immune supporting properties and is excellent for diffusing here.
I hope you enjoy the benefits of essential oils and self-care for this heart-filled month!
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.