2 Aromatherapy Blends for Emotional Distress

spring beauty

My mum used to take my sister and I to Lonsdale Quay when we were little. I remember the smells of the market and the feeling of jumping in to the ball pit clearly, even though it was years ago. We would weave in and out of stores and sample fudge from the candy store. We’d feed the birds and make wishes before throwing pennies in to the fountain. One of our stops was always at Saje. My mum would smell the oils and we’d never leave without a spritz of fairy mist. I remember closing my eyes, hearing the pump click, and feeling of a light mist on my cheeks. The smell was sweet, but not too sweet. It was one of the first times I can recall really paying attention to what it felt like to consciously breathe.

Aromatherapy can be a powerful tool for combating emotional distress. Scents can trigger memories, calm nerves and increase energy. You can harness the scents by soaking in a bath, applying a cream, massaging with oils, using an inhaler or a mist spray, or by self-application. Through exploration and trial and error, you will discover which methods work best for you, and when. 

If you are trying to soothe emotional upset, massaging with essential oils can be a wonderful way to calm your mind. No partner, no problem! Some say that self-massage (or Abhyanga) works just as well, if not better.

“When having an emotional upset of dealing with an upsetting situation, these formulas can help. Massage one of these formulas into the abdominal area, back of the neck, shoulders, back, and upper chest for at least 30 minutes and until the oil is fully absorbed into the skin. After the massage, dab on cornstarch to dry off any remaining oil.” – D. Schiller and C. Schiller

emotional upset blend no. 1

aromatherapy blend no. 2

We’ve written about aromatherapy several times on the blog, and for good reason! There’s a lot to cover, and many people find that aromatherapy can help them to manage emotions that come up in their caregiving journeys.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive look in to the world of aromatherapy, pick up a copy of Aromatherapy for Life Empowerment: Using Essential Oils to Enhance Body, Mind, Spirit Well-Being. Recipes in this post were taken from this book.


Cassandra Van Dyck

Recommended Article: When MS Means Mighty Stubborn by Cheryl Ellis, Caregiver.com


Karyn recommends the article, “When MS Means Mighty Stubborn” by Cheryl Ellis on Caregiver.com. If you have struggled with your loved-one’s desire to remain independent and your desire to maintain their health through preventive measures, this article will be of interest.

“Both caregiver and patient have heard the phrase ‘you are not MS’ repeatedly. An unfortunate truth is that while the individual is not the disease, the disease affects their body and often rights of choice,” writes Cheryl Ellis. “Caregivers have been given custody of their loved one’s trust in addition to handling various affairs, but the original relationship between the MS patient and the caregiver remains. Remembering that relationship and putting it first, both verbally and by action, can offer an independence for caregiver and loved one.”

While the article specifically addresses the relationship between someone who has MS and their caregiving loved-one, the article offers communication tips to negotiate the tasks that a carepartner and caregiver does.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section.


How pets prevent heart attacks

photo-1415369629372-26f2fe60c467There are many advantages to seniors owning pets.  One of these is the way it has been proven in formal studies that pets prevent heart attacks.  One study by Friedmann (1995) analyzed people who had suffered heart attacks, and who owned a dog versus those who didn’t.  The study also analyzed those who had human social supports versus those who didn’t. In both cases of dogs and humans, the social support was important and helped increase rates of survival.

Another benefit to seniors owning pets is touch.  Just petting or stroking an animal’s warm fur in stressful times can be soothing. I can vouch for this myself, and I’ve observed it in my Dad also with our Labrador.

Celebrating our furry friends,

Calm Pond

Aromatherapy helps when you’re tired and blue

I discovered aromatherapy several years ago, when I decided to do away with the use of harsh chemicals in my household products. I switched to natural laundry detergent, shampoo, and deodorant; and I was excited to make herbal remedies to help with sore throats, cuts, and low energy.
I have found essential oils to be amazing companions for whatever is happening in life- whether that involves adjusting to unexpected changes, or embarking on exciting new projects that take a lot of energy.

Using essential oils can be a truly joyful experience, as scent is a powerful connector  to good memories. A particular smell can remind you of the lake where you spent summers as a child; or bring you a sense of comfort as you breathe in the familiar scent of your Grandad’s soap.
While it is so lovely to enjoy the smell of particular essential oils you’re drawn to, it’s also wise to choose your oil blends based on what systems of the body they actively provide support to. The following article suggests 4 essential oils that are beneficial for relieving symptoms of depression: https://draxe.com/essential-oils-for-depression/ .  Caregivers, please be aware that as you go through the hardships and the losses of your journey with a loved one, your feelings of grief can bring about symptoms that look very similar to the signs of depression. For example, when feeling very sad about your loved one’s declining health, you may feel fatigued and lacking motivation, and find it hard to concentrate on simple tasks. This can be your grief process, and I encourage you to treat yourself with lots of gentleness.

Here are a few De-stressing blends from http://helloglow.co/essential-oils-for-stress/ that you can make at home. Try using 3 drops of each oil in the blend you’ve chosen, and put them in your diffuser. There are 2 main types of diffusers: A ceramic one, with water on top and a candle underneath; and a water-filled machine that plugs in and releases a mist into the air. You can also buy a plug-in for your car, which holds the oils on a little cotton pad and plugs into your dashboard. Isn’t that marvelous?!


Ease tension
Bergamot, Geranium, Lavender. Together the three may help ease nervous tension, lift spirits and bring an overall sense of balance an calm emotionally.

Calm anxiety
Lavender, Roman Chamomile, & Ylang Ylang. Roman Chamomile has a calming scent that may help ease anxiety and restlessness.

Find Balance
Lavender, Frankincense, & Orange. Lavender has a very calming & relaxing scent which may be helpful in both physical and emotional balancing.  Studies have shown that smelling lavender increases beta waves in the brain which suggests greater relaxation & less mental stress.

Here’s a writing activity to try: Think of 1 smell that you really enjoy, and write about it for 3 minutes without editing your work. What memories did it evoke for you?

Aromatherapy is a terrific way of caring for yourself. Maybe at nighttime to help you unwind before bed; or in the morning to energize your system for the day. I invite you to give it a try!



Online Caregiver Support Groups & Forums


Time, location, and overwhelming responsibility can all be cause for missing out on caregiver supports. If you struggle to make our regular Network Meetings or Walk & Talk sessions, you may be feeling the need for support but unsure of how to access it.

Here is a list of 7 online support groups and forums for caregivers: 

  1. I Care for Someone: CanadianVirtualHospice.ca offers several discussion forums, including one for caregivers and one on grief. Each forum is easily accessible and recent comments show a response time of several days and more.
  2. Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories: This online gathering place offers a place for caregivers of people with Alzheimer`s Disease to connect.
  3. COPD International: If you are caring for someone with COPD, the online community includes a chat room and a message board to share your experiences of caregiving.
  4. Cancer Chat: The De Souza Institute offers online support groups for caregivers of people with any cancer diagnosis or prognosis at set times and dates for those who can schedule the time but have trouble getting away. (The next session begins on October 6th, 2016.)
  5. Caregiver Support Group: This online forum for support groups has an extensive member list and a response time of a few days.
  6. Caregiver-Online Support Group: An unmoderated email group for caregivers from the Family Caregiver Alliance (US). Share your stresses, concerns, and feelings about caregiving with others by sending and receiving email.
  7. LGBTQ Community Support Group: Also hosted by the Family Caregiver Alliance, this unmoderated support group offers a place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender caregivers of adults with chronic health problems to discuss the unique issues of caring for their loved ones over email.

Did I miss any that you use? Please share it with us in a comment.


An Awesome Article on Medical Alert Devices

photo-1455758190477-ac7265bc8139If your loved one is requiring a medical alert devices, this awesome article will be of use, particularly if they are resisting the process. Susie Slack of Today’s Caregiver provides some helpful advice on the topic of discussing medical alert devices with your parent, though the information can apply to anyone you are caring for. As Susie describes, “Falls are the leading cause of injuries, including fatal ones, for people in the 65-and-above age group.”

She also points out how medical alert devices have been around for 30 years. Nowadays, technology has evolved when it comes to medical alert devices. You can now get devices that look like jewellery or pedometers!

Did this article help you? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section.


De-Stress and Energize with Reflexology

I love that look of calmness that comes over people after giving them a 5-10 minute reflexology session. Whether it is for tension in the muscles, headaches, stress, anxiety or numerous other conditions the outcome is always the same.

       WOW!! they say.

My headache’s gone, I don’t feel as tense, I can breathe more easily and best of all,


“Gosh, I never knew that by doing this on my hands I had the power to prevent or alleviate my symptoms”.

Hand Reflexology works because reflexes in the hand correspond to all parts of the body and mind via the nervous system. Hands go everywhere with you and are easily accessible, so you can work on them night or day.

Spritz!! AAAHH!!


What nicer way to enhance that experience than with a spritz of aromatherapy essential oils? Something to add to your feeling of calmness with Stress Release from Saje aromatherapy; a blend of Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Clary Saje and Vetiver. Or, for something more energizing and awakening, try Energy or Refresh with Spearmint, Lavender and Eucalyptus.

The choice is endless!!

I love to share so join me on August 22nd  in a fun interactive evening of Hand Reflexology and Aromatherapy. Just bring yourself, your hands and a small cushion.
See you there.

Shirley Gibbons, Reflexologist

Helpful Resource: The Family Caregiver Information Package

The Family Caregivers Association of BC has been sharing helpful resources for BC’s Family Caregiver Week.

photo-1414919823178-e9d9d0afd0acThe first resource is the Family Caregiver Information Package, which covers many topics on caregiver well-being and burn-out. While this resource is available online, you can also request a hard copy by giving them a call at 1.877.520.3267 (toll free).

Other resources they have shared include their many taped webinars, podcasts, and hand-outs. Topics include advocacy skills and navigating the health care system. Peruse their site and see if any of the topics resonate for you.



Cell phones for seniors

The issue of buying a cell phone for a senior is something of a challenge: smart phones are too technical, so what is the alternative?

Fortunately, there are specialized flip phones for seniors.  The Jitterbug is one, Doro Phone Easy is another, and Telus also sells a flip phone for seniors, just to a Google search under “cell phones for seniors.”

Some of the features of these specialized phones are:

  • large, easy to use keypad
  • dedicated emergency key
  • hearing aid compatible handsets
  • long battery life
  • easy to use
  • relatively inexpensive

For example, my Virgin mobile service charges $18.00 a month for flip phones, so quite affordable.  Personally I think my mother would benefit from a cell phone, chiefly for peace of mind.  I think the flip phone is a good alternative, one that we will explore.

Take care all,

Calm Pond

Bra Fitting Essentials for Senior Women

Choosing a bra can be confounding. That heavy sigh of not knowing where to begin can be even deeper, when buying a bra for your mother, or your friend, or your grandmother. And deeper again, if you’re a man venturing into the lingerie department, list in hand. But with a few vital pieces of information, choosing a bra for a senior woman can be straightforward.

First, measuring. There is a growing trend in the big stores for over-tight fitting; having an idea of the correct size can save you back-and-forth trips and returns.

– using a measuring tape, wrap it around the ribs under the bust. It should be gently firm.

– read the measurement in inches

– add four inches (many people skip this step, resulting in over-tight fits)

– round up to the nearest even number. This is the band size: 36, 38, 40, etc.

Knowing the band size, or even coming close, is your best starting point. Cup size can be uncertain, especially for softer breasts. Cup fits vary by style, design, fabric, and even brand. However, once you have the band size, cup size has only four standard options. If the woman is smaller, try a B, small-medium, a C, fuller a D or DD.

Different bras tend to work well for us at different stages of life; for senior women, start with two principles:

Choose wire-free bras: as we age, our breasts become soft, and wired cups tend not to work; choose a wife-free bra for a more forgiving fit.

Choose comfort and familiarity over concern for fit: A great fit can be elusive, and if our breasts are soft, even more so. For senior women, a bra gives comfort both physically and through the utter familiarity of being contained. When helping a woman try on a bra, ask, “How do you feel?” This can keep the focus on comfort and familiarity, and put fit firmly in second place.

Many senior women don’t find perfectly-fitting bras. If the woman is comfortable, and is satisfied with the look of the bra, then it’s a great choice.

The lingerie department can be overwhelming. But with a few filters, a good bra choice can be easy, or easier. Questions? email me at ayll.consult@gmail.com

At Your Leisure Lingerie can provide in-home measuring, and product delivery.

Guest Blogger, Shannon Fowler.  At Your Leisure Lingerie http://www.bellamariabrafit.com/services/