Compassion fatigue, Vicarious Trauma, Secondary Trauma, Burnout has been the subject for the last few weeks and I’m happy to see it being covered on more blogs also. It’s hard to stop for self-care when you’re thought pattern is “just one more”. I can do just one more cat, dog, child I can! Only you can’t and honestly you shouldn’t. Sometimes overdoing it means that you won’t be around to help long term and long term help is what’s needed.
Look at how much has changed just in the last few years: don’t declaw campaigns, the creation animal abuser registries so these people can be tracked better and the creation of felony charges for animal abuse where there was once only misdemeanor charges available if that!
These things are not accomplished quickly. Changing legislation is frequently like watching grass grow and I think grass has the process beat because it does actually achieve something in a season! To have the kind of long term stamina you need you must care for yourself.
I took an informal poll on Facebook as to what people are doing out there to decompress and here’s what I heard: Yoga, Reiki, unplugging and going for walks with pets and family, essential oils, meditation, crystals, Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), Ho’oponopono, setting routines and eating well especially limiting sugar and processed foods (yes!), and UJam (hip hop style Zumba). I absolutely believe that whatever works for you, use it and use it regularly.
Today I’ll cover the essential oils I use. I can’t comment on other brands and there are plenty out there so please let’s avoid the Young Living vs XYZ debates that can happen in the comments. There are so many oil companies to choose from and just like the list of activities above we all like different things. I use and sell Young Living: it’s what works for me, my family and my pets. I have no attachment to the brand you use if it works for you just like I wouldn’t feel anything over what gas station you go to or what brand of toilet paper you buy lol! 🙂 Share if you like but please don’t criticize anyone else’s brand preference. Yay Oils!!
I started with the basic oils from YL after much nagging and pestering by my mother. I don’t make a habit of listening to my mother because really, she’s my MOTHER! Ha! However I used Thieve’s, Purification, Breathe Again and Citrus Fresh. Used them, liked them got results with reducing colds and getting over pneumonia but wasn’t passionate about them until I got a diffuser and started exploring the emotional/mental health side of oils.
I was a mental health therapist for years and specialized in trauma and addictions which often go hand in hand. I wish I’d had this knowledge back then! I noticed the Citrus Fresh lifted my mood when I had it on and at the time, in the midst of a medium sized PTSD event, any change in mood was noticeable and that got my curiosity going! We’ll talk briefly about behavior modification with oils a little later in this post.
I explored German and Roman Chamomile. I like the German best, it has a cooling effect on hot emotions so as I used it (2 drops on feet at night, inhalation during the day) I noticed my anger, bitterness and even fear receded a bit. I started using Dream Catcher for nightmares – a blend that has Sandalwood in it which is a favorite of mine and it worked. My nightmares of being murdered by a client stopped however what was most interesting is that long forgotten dreams seemed to come back and there was movement. I wanted to write again, I began walking more and that tightly coiled spring in my gut began unwinding.
From there I used Highest Potential. I figured if my dreams were waking again I wanted them to be achieved in the best (fastest!) way. HP has 14 oils in it making it one of the pricier bottles but since I buy now at wholesale prices and generally only wear a drop on my wrists in the morning as needed a tiny 5ml bottle goes a very long way. The way I look at it is that for me it’s cheaper than therapy although therapy is awesome and if you’re going adding an oil or two might help. It’s also better for me than hanging out with my two favorite friends Ben & Jerry who for a while there I was visiting nightly! I do miss those guys sometimes!
For me I have to stop everything. No Facebook, no phone calls, no TV. Although a binge watching session of The Blacklist or Chopped can do a lot for turning off my chihuahua yappy yap brain. I journal and I carry a bottle of Young Living Stress Away, Highest Potential and Scared Frankincense in my purse at all times. When I feel anxiety or overwhelm strike I pick one on intuition to smell deeply and sometimes I put a tiny drop under my nose or wrists.
Not only are the oils healing for me I am training myself with simple Pavlovian-esque behavior modification that these smells mean “time to deep breathe. time to relax.” Training yourself through smell is very powerful. If you think about it, a single odor can transport you through time back to happy or sad events. Using that tendency of the body in a purposeful way is fun and effective.
Several times a week I take an Epsom salt bath using 1 cup of salt mixed with whatever oil seems right. I hold a few bottles and blindly pick one. I also keep a glass jar of pre-mixed salt and Sandalwood with German Chamomile for bathing. While bathing I Reiki myself and whatever cat happens to be sitting there staring with that wide eyed horrified look they get when they see you voluntarily sitting in…yikes…water!
I diffuse Vetiver, Lavender and Cedarwood to both relax and focus. I have a touch of the ADD and this blend helps tremendously. The cats for whatever reasons are drawn to this blend as well. One cat is particularly fond of Vetiver and will knock the bottle off the counter smelling around the lid!
You can find me babbling on and on about YL essential oils here and on this website here.You can learn about essential oils for years and still not know it all which is another reason I stick with them, I have a low tolerance for boredom.
I offer a free consultation by email if you have specific questions you can fill out the contact form and I can usually get back to you in 24-48 hours. If you happen to be at BlogPaws Conference 2015 I’ll be doing a talk over lunch on Thursday I believe. We’ll do some exercises to pair scent with emotion for relaxing and unwinding so stop on by!
If you’re an oily fan how do you use them to take care of your precious self? Let’s learn from each other