Community care is something that we could all use. It would be wonderful to indulge in activities with individuals that promote health and well being. Far too often, we are confronted with concepts such as healthism, that puts the responsibility on an individual for their health outcomes (this does not account for health disparities, social determinants of health and what that individual has access to/can afford depending on their socioeconomic status) (Community Care, n.d.).
So What is It?
Community care is a concept that highlights the importance of taking care of each other (Community Care, n.d.). We are social beings and were meant to be in community. As much as I consider myself to be a social introvert, I would be lost without my community. When we support each other, it can have a positive impact on our overall wellbeing and health. I’m sure you’ve experienced some form of community care, whether it was from a doula, your support group, a community health worker or even your faith community (Community Care, n.d.).
Depending on where you come from, this (having community) can be something you’ve experienced since childhood, but there are many who have not had this same experience. My concern, is for our aging population. If/when they are able to retire, they may have dreams of participating in activities, enjoying their families or relaxing; however, one small illness can morph into something devastating, robbing them of their dreams (Ke et al., 2022). Now, it is completely possible this can happen to any of us at anytime, but given my time in healthcare, I see this quite often.
Aromatherapy as a Tool
Aromatherapy can be extremely helpful in these settings. One barrier to entry can be if an individual is open to learning more about this practice. My mother was extremly skeptical of essential oils at first, but when I created a muscle rub for her, it completely changed her mind and overall wellbeing. My goal is to incoporate aromatherapy in as many aspects of life as possible. So how do we do it? Here are a few suggestions:
- Diffuse an essential oil such as sweet orange, grapefruit, lavender or lemongrass in a room where you or your friends will be. These oils are good for promoting wellbeing and can be used as a great conversation piece (of course as long as no one has an allergy).
- Add a few drops (more like two) of peppermint essential oil in a fatty oil in a small container (you can purchase aromatherapy necklaces or inhalers to keep in your pocket) and take it with you on a hike with friends.
- Want to feel connected to Mother Earth? Diffuse pine, cedarwood, or patchouli.
What if I Don’t Have this Community?
I can relate. When I moved to my current place, I knew no one. I was very shy and nervous about meeting new people. Slowly over time, I would introduce myself to people over time and I now have a small group of friends where I live. You can also explore Meet Up groups, faith based groups, or going to the park with your pet. It can take time, but now that I’m growing my connections, it makes life so much better.
Community Care. (n.d.). Mental Health America. https://www.mhanational.org/bipoc-mental-health/community-care#:~:text=Community%20care%20enables%20individuals%20to,conditions%20and%20overall%20well%2Dbeing.
Ke, M., Hsieh, K., & Hsieh, W. (2022). Effects of Aromatherapy on the Physical and Mental Health and Pressure of the Middle-Aged and Elderly in the Community. Applied Sciences, 12(10), 4823. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12104823
Image: Reframe Your Brand/Age Quencher Electrolyte Drink