Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Self-Care in Grief...soothing essential oils

"The Leaf",(1897/1898) by Elizabeth Forbes
When someone dear to us dies, friends often encourage us to take care of ourselves, to be gentle with ourselves. I have given this advice to many people over the years but now I am the recipient of this sympathetic support. You see, my mother passed away the day after Christmas. Mama had lived with us for the previous two years as she fought against ovarian cancer, first detected six years before. She was briefly hospitalized at the beginning of December and then came back home to us under Hospice support. She achieved her two goals, celebrating her ninety-third birthday on December 16th, and seeing her great-grandchildren on Christmas Day. Those accomplished, she gently slipped away with my husband, my brother, my sister-in-law, and me, by her side.

Even when expected, even at the end of a very long life, losing someone so loved and integral to our lives is hard. Really, really hard. So how do I follow my own advice of self-care? I should remember to eat healthy food and stay hydrated, even when I don't think I can swallow it down. I should take walks even though I just want to sit here in my chair with Mama's blanket over my lap. I should allow myself to cry when
the tears well up and allow myself to laugh when humor gently nudges my funny bone.

What other things can I do? When a caring neighbor gave me some hand lotion that smells just like sugar cookies, I noticed how comforting it was each time I smoothed it on. Although I liked the feel of the lotion, I realized it was the scent that was soothing to my spirit. Of course. It was a form of aromatherapy. So I've done a bit of research and found some essential oils that are especially helpful for the kind of self-care I need at this time. (I discovered these in a blog post by Marika Fleri on the School of Aromatic Studies website.)
"Fresh Cut Lavender Flowers" by Lexipexi via Wikimedia Commons

Use these combinations in a bath, diffuser, or aromatherapy inhaler:

3 drops Sandalwood
2 drops Melissa
2 drops Frankincense


3 drops Mandarin
2 drops Lavender
2 drops Clary Sage

"Mama and Me" photo by William Ahearn, the author's husband

3 drops Lavender
2 drops Roman Chamomile
2 drops Jasmine

Thanks for stopping by...y'all come back now.