Self care vs self pity

It is that time of the year again – Valentines Day. A day to celebrate love and being loved. But for many this day brings an array of other emotions too. You might be grieving over either no relationship or a relationship that has little love left. This can cause a lot of sadness for most.  Sometimes the frustration around broken relationships or failed relationships or partners who just can‘t be bothered brings anger and bitterness to the surface and it hard not to feel sorry for yourself. Self-pity is very different from self-compassion.  Self-compassion also known as self-care is really a combination of self-respect, self -discipline and seeing yourself honestly.

Self care puts you in the driver seat where you can take action and not dwell on your problems. This doesn’t mean you are denying your problems or that they will go away by themselves. Self-care means you will take care of your spiritual, physical and emotional needs.

Self pity however is feeling sorry for yourself, your situation and your mistakes. It keeps you stuck in an emotionally miserable place. The difference between self-pity is that is more narcissistic whereas self-care is productive.

Self-pity makes you feel like a victim and you end up blaming others for your situation or your emotional state.

Can you switch from self pity to self compassion?


You will need to use some discernment and take a good honest look at the situation or problem.

Is there anything that you are responsible for and that you brought to the table?

Can you change that or not?

The switch really is to become aware of the reality of the situation or relationship. Giving the situation a lot of thought – what might be going on for the other person?

Self-pity diminishes our ability to show empathy while self-care enables us to reach out to others because we are doing ok. Whenever the safety procedures are being explained to passengers in an airplane they always say to put your own oxygen mask on before you help others.

When you show yourself some compassion and start taking care of your own needs you are much better equipped to care for others.

I have been prioritizing my own sleep and I can tell you I am so much calmer and able to deal with whatever life throws at me. Trust me at the moment it feels like I am bombarded .

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Can essential oils help the process?

Essential oils have a very emotional response and can indeed be very helpful in your self care program.  You can read more about how essential oils work here. There are many essential oils that share the same properties therefor you can choose an oil that you like rather than just because the list say that it is a useful oil. If you can’t stand the smell of Lavender then perhaps try a different supplier of another oil.


Rose essential oil can certainly be called the queen of essential oils. Super beneficial for the vascular, digestive and nervous system. It is because of this triple action that it is a particular useful oil to use for stress and nervous tension. Cleansing, purifying, regulating and tonic effect on a physical level. On a mental level this is oil that is very helpful especially with post –natal depression or depression that is brought on after a breakdown of a relationship.  Rose oil is the oil of choice when dealing with grief. Rose oil is also great for skincare and especially dry, sensitive or aging skin. Often women can slip into depression due to the changes that happens to their bodies and skin as they age.

How to use Rose oil

  1. Apply topically – apply rose oil behind the ears or on the wrists to lift the spirit and boost your confidence and use it as a natural perfume.
  2. Diffuse – diffuse a couple of drops to create a peaceful atmosphere and combat depression
  3. Inhale directly – inhale Rose oil directly from the bottle to lift your mood and strengthen your spirit.



Bergamot oil can create joyful feelings and energy by improving blood circulation. It can reduce anxiety and stress as well and is a great oil to use for nervous system conditions.  Boosting your  immune system and stimulate the lymphatic system. A good choice if you  are struggling with low self-esteem and low self worth.

Quite effective as food craving fighter and very helpful with emotional eating.

How to use Bergamot oil

  1. Apply topically – Bergamot needs to be diluted with carrier oil. It can be applied on the wrists, neck and abdomen. Rubbing it on the tummy area also helps with digestion and to regulate appetite. The D-Limonene in Bergamot oil has the ability to help relieve heartburn and reflux.
  2. Inhale directly – breathing in Bergamot straight from the bottle will help to lift your mood and relieve stress.
  3. Diffuse – 2 -3 drops in the diffuser will balance the mood and create feelings of refreshment. Diffusing is a great way to curb cravings for certain food.


Safety warning – Bergamot oil should be use cautiously if you are a diabetic as it may affect blood sugar levels.

Also avoid sunlight on the areas where you applied Bergamot oil for 12 hours.


Geranium is an anti-depressant and an adrenal cortex stimulant. This oil has a stimulating effect on the lymphatic system. Geranium has a tonic effect on both the liver and the kidneys. Geranium essential oil encourages the balance of hormones. The anti – inflammatory properties of Geranium oil can alleviate aches and pains which can sometimes keep us in a ‘stuck’ space.

How to use Geranium oil

  1. Diffuse – diffuse 2-3 drops of Geranium to ease anxiety and lift your mood.
  2. Apply topically – Geranium may irritate a sensitive skin and must always be diluted with carrier oil. Apply the oil on the back of the neck or temples to clear your mind and support healthy cognitive function. Geranium can help to tighten and contract muscles so it is a very helpful oil to assist with sagging skin. Geranium oil can also help with red dry flaky skin which can in itself create feelings of depression and helplessness.


Basil oil is useful for nervous disorders such as weakness, indecision or hysteria, depression and anxiety.

It is uplifting, clarifying and strengthening oil. Basil oil acts more on the mind and emotions and is one of the best oils to use to calm and focuses the mind.  Help reduce adrenal fatigue by revitalizing energy levels.

Due to the high linalool content it is a great oil to use before bedtime. Various studies have shown the anxiolytic effects of linalool.

Basil oil is very useful to treat tension and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, which is a common symptom of many depression sufferers.

How to use Basil oil

  1. Diffuse – 3 drops of Basil oil will uplift your spirit and clear your head as well as clear the air. Due to the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of Basil oil it is a natural air cleanser when you diffuse it.
  2. Apply topically – Basil oil must be diluted with carrier oil. Massage onto stiff neck and shoulder muscles and onto the lower back.
  3. Baths – 2 drops Basil oil with a couple of drops of Lavender and a cup of Epsom salt in the bath will not only relax the muscles and the body but also prepare the body for sleep. Due to the Linalool in Basil oil it has a sedating effect.
  4. Inhale directly – just take a few breaths straight from the bottle whenever you quickly need to calm your mind.


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Clary Sage 

Due to the Linalyl acetate, which is the primary compound in Clary Sage, it is relaxing, soothing and balancing oil. Clary sage has sedating effects and is very helpful oil for insomnia. It is an anti-depressant and considered a nerve tonic. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Clary Sage is beneficial to support the adrenals and kidneys.

Clary Sage is  a hormone balancing oil and is really helpful  during menopause when many women suffers from hot flashes, night sweats  and weight gain which in effect is a cause for depression in many middle age women. This is also a time when many women can fall into the pit of self-pity instead of focusing on self-care.

How to use Clary Sage

  1. Apply topically – dilute Clary Sage oil with carrier oil and apply to the abdomen. Clary Sage is also a menstrual discomfort soother and will help to relieve cramps and spasms.

Apply to legs and chest to improve circulation. Clary Sage is capable to reduce blood pressure.

Clary Sage can be a natural remedy for rashes and will cool skin inflammation due to the Linalyl acetate component.

  1. Bath – drop 2 drops of Clary Sage in the bathwater to promote restfulness and relieve insomnia and anxiety.
  2. Diffuse – Clary Sage contains Linalool which is a monoterpenol and gives it its pleasant smell. Breathing in the fragrance of Clary Sage will help as a sleep aid and will calm the senses. It is quite a balancing oil.

Safety warning – Clary Sage essential oil is not safe to use during pregnancy because it can cause uterine contractions.



Sandalwood is very grounding oil and can comfort anxiety and nervousness.  The scent of Sandalwood oil is very therapeutic on the brain’s limbic system. Sandalwood essential oil’s chemical compounds are sesquiterpenols which is why it is helpful for mental clarity. Mental clarity is really necessary to switch from self-pity to self-care.

How to use Sandalwood

  1. Inhale directly – simply open the bottle and take a deep breath. Sandalwood oil is a mood lifter.
  2. Apply topically – Sandalwood needs to be diluted with a carrier oil. Apply to the chest, wrist and back of the neck.

Aromatherapy massages will be a great way to use Sandalwood oil and you will get the added bonus of human touch which is super beneficial for depression sufferers.

  1. Diffuse – diffusing a couple of drops of Sandalwood will help with mental clarity and alertness.
  2. Bath –Sandalwood oil can cause irritation to some people. Anyone with allergies should avoid sandalwood oil in the bath. If you can tolerate Sandalwood then drop 2 drops of Sandalwood Essential oil in the bathwater with a cup of Epsom salt for a relaxing bath and relaxes muscles.

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General Safety Information

Always use good quality essential oils, preferably organic. One of my favorite companies where I personally get a lot of my oils from is Plant Therapy.

Do not take essential oils internally or apply essential oils undiluted on the skin.

Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil.

Dilute according to body mass. For children you can use a 1 % dilution and for adults 5 %

Pregnant women have to consult with a qualified aromatherapist and or midwife and doctor before using essential oils, especially topically.

If you have liver damage, cancer, suffers from epilepsy or other medical problems and take medicine on a regular basis  then you have to use essential oils under the guidance of a trained aromatherapist.

Check whether the essential oil of your choice is safe to use around your pets. Here  is a list of essential oils safety for dogs.

essential oil dilution chart


Take care of you so that you can take care of others








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