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Vaccine Self-Care Routine

6 mins

Andela Patrnogic

How to soothe anxiety before Covid 19? Should you massage arm after flu shot? How to take care of the shot area? Read on!

The vaccine rollout in the United States is underway, and many more of us are starting to get vaccinated - yay! Are you prepared for the anxiety before, and soreness after receiving the injection? And a myriad of questions that come after vaccination, like “should you massage arm after a COVID shot?” Get the full lowdown with natural beauty recommendations in our vaccine self-care routine! 

Table of contents:

  • Possible Vaccine Side Effects
  • Nervous and Anxious About The COVID-19 Vaccination?
  • How to calm down nervousness
  • Self-Care After the Vaccine
  • How to Mitigate Pain with Essential Oils
  • Skincare Routine With a Sore Arm
  • Sleeping With A Sore Arm
  • Days After The Vaccine
covid shot, skin care after covid shot, covid vaccine symptoms relief

Possible Vaccine Side Effects

As with any injection, there are possible side effects when getting the COVID vaccine. This shouldn’t deter you from getting it as symptoms will dissipate in a few days! According to the CDC, some of the common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm that receives the shot. We recommend getting the vaccine in your non-dominant hand, so you can still get things done with your dominant hand! Make sure to release the tension in your arm while you’re receiving the shot (don’t squeeze something for support) as that will make the pain worse later on. 

The rest of your body also might experience symptoms like a headache, overall tiredness, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea. Now, these are POSSIBLE side effects, these are not guaranteed and would only last 2-3 days. The CDC also says that you might experience worse side effects after your second dose, which is a sign that your immune system is working as expected. However, if you don’t experience any side effects, it doesn’t mean that “it’s not working,” it just means your body reacts differently! 

covid 19 vaccine

Nervous and Anxious About The COVID-19 Vaccination?

To calm down any feelings of anxiety, it helps to know what to expect, be prepared with our tips below, and know that this is much better than getting COVID! The reality is that you’re getting a shot with a very thin needle, which takes less than a minute from start to finish. Both doses of the vaccine can make you upwards of 90% immune to this virus and will help prevent hospitalization if you do get COVID. I know shots are scary but getting COVID without the vaccine has much worse symptoms, so this short time of pain is well worth it! 

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How to calm down nervousness

  • If the anticipation before the shot gives you anxiety, try visualizing the process of getting to the vaccination center, getting the shot, and waiting 15 minutes for any symptoms before leaving. It may bring up feelings of anxiety, but it helps remove some uncertainty from the whole process.

  • Do deep breathing practices on the way to the vaccination center.

  • Use our 100% therapeutic-grade essential oils like lavender, peppermint, jasmine, bergamot, or ylang ylang by inhaling deeply from the bottle itself, adding 1-2 drops on your wrist, and sniffing throughout the session (the scent is strong enough to sniff through your mask), or if you want to be less obvious, you could use something like an essential oil diffusing necklace or bracelet.

  • When it’s time to get the vaccine, let the personnel know if you’re nervous or faint so they can treat you accordingly. During the actual shot, focus your attention on an item in the room or your phone. Pay attention to your 5 senses and go through them in your head to distract yourself. 

Just like that, you got your shot! Now what? Should you massage arm after a COVID shot? Yes! During the 15-minute waiting period, massage the shot area to prevent soreness and stiffness. Let the staff know of any symptoms you’re experiencing. Some might be latent feelings of anxiety, like your eye twitching, stomach pain, the jitters, etc. When you get back home, you can continue to diffuse those calming essential oils through a diffuser and take the rest of your day to rest and recuperate. 

Self-Care After the Vaccine

Experiencing some side effects after you get the shot is totally normal, and a sign that it is working! Kaiser Permanente suggests these tips to help reduce pain or any soreness you may feel at the injection site:

  • Avoid tensing your arm when getting the injection to avoid more pain. It is best to try to keep your arm relaxed at your side, in a neutral position. It helps to be distracted when getting the shot, so focus your attention elsewhere and try not to look!

  • After the injection, apply an icy or warm compress as soon as possible. Putting on an icy compress can help to reduce the pain and any swelling. However, some people find applying heat feels better because it helps the muscle to relax. Whichever works for you, do it!

  • Keep your arm active by moving it around and stretching it out! It helps to lessen the pain by boosting blood flow to the injection site and providing momentary relief! It will feel more painful the stiffer it is. 

  • Make sure to time your shot right! It can be hard with the limited slots for these vaccines, but if you are able to, try to schedule it for a day before you are able to take the day and the next day off for true rest. That is why doing it before a weekend would be ideal for most! 

  • Take some over-the-counter pain medication like Aleeve or Tylenol. Just make sure to take the medicine AFTER the vaccine and not preemptively because that might affect the vaccine’s efficacy. Ask the personnel at the vaccination site just to be sure it’ll work for the vaccine you receive. 
eucalyptus oil

How to Mitigate Pain with Essential Oils

On top of traditional pain killers, essential oils are an incredible way to naturally soothe pain symptoms directly on the vaccination site. According to scientific literature, there is proof that inhaling certain essential oils can help soothe pain in certain areas of the body. 

  • A 2012 study found that inhaling lavender essential oil safely relieved migraine pain in the research participants. 
  • A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2003 found that eucalyptus oil has both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Using 1-2 drops of essential oils like peppermint, or bergamot mixed with a carrier oil like castor oil can help in soothing pain with a gentle massage. Hence, the answer to the question “Should you massage arm after a COVID shot?” is a positive one. 

The best part is you cannot overdose on essential oil aromatherapy, it’s 100% natural, and you can trust WOW’s therapeutic-grade formulas to deliver 100% pure elixirs for all your self-care needs.

skin care, oils for skin

Skincare Routine With a Sore Arm

Routine activities like washing your face, brushing your hair, etc. might be harder now that you have a sore arm. In order to not worsen this pain, try to do your self-care routine with one hand. I know, it sounds like a youtube challenge, but it’s better not to aggravate your hand if it is painful to move. 

wow face wash

Use our
Ubtan Foaming Face Wash With Brush or Activated Charcoal Foaming Face Wash With Brush to thoroughly cleanse, remove impurities, and reset stressed skin. The best part is that the built-in silicone face brush is already attached, so you can pump to release the product, scrub, and rinse with minimal involvement of your sore arm.

Sleeping With A Sore Arm

I personally found sleeping to be the toughest part of this journey, as the pain, stiffness, and discomfort can prevent you from getting the sleep your body desperately needs. Even if you’re exhausted, try these tips to get a good night’s rest: 

  • Sleep on the side you did not get vaccinated on. Prop up the vaccinated arm with a pillow so you can sleep in a more comfortable position. 
  • Take pain medicine right before bed to mitigate symptoms that will keep you up at night.
  • Stay hydrated! Dehydration can worsen symptoms. 
  • Use pain-relieving essential oils to diffuse, inhale, or massage sore areas to keep up the pain relief throughout the day, and right before bedtime to relax your arm before sleep. 
  • If you normally have trouble sleeping, check out our Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Sleep story to drift off and stay asleep for longer. 
sleep essential oil, stress essential oil

It’s best to be prepared as the exhaustion and lack of sleep can make you cranky, and symptoms feel worsened. Get your best beauty sleep, naturally, with essential oils!

Days After The Vaccine

You should start feeling relief after 1-2 days post-vaccine, when your energy levels are higher, your arm is less stiff and sore, and the pain is starting to lessen. There are some stretches that you can do after you get your shot to keep your arm moving and help alleviate any soreness. 

  • One of these stretches is grabbing the arm that got the shot, crossing it, and using your other arm to help pull it while applying gentle pressure until you feel a stretch on the original side. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and do it a couple of times to really activate that muscle. 
  • Another stretch you can do is a “shoulder wall slide”, which starts with you standing upright in front of a wall, pretending like you are holding a towel/rag (or actually do grab one if it helps you more) and move it upwards as if cleaning the wall. Then lower it back down and repeat a couple of times. 
  • Lastly, you can start in a standing position and lean your opposite arm onto a table and hang your sore arm over the side of the table. When in this position, shift your body weight in a circular motion and let your arm hang and swing in a circle at the same time. This will really help to stretch out the sore muscles in your vaccine arm. 

The rest of your muscles in your body can also start to feel sore so don’t be afraid to stretch out the rest of your body too! 


While getting the vaccine can be anxiety-inducing, being as prepared as possible is the best step to getting yourself safely protected. There are natural ways to help mitigate symptoms that come from getting the shot and adjusting your routine to accommodate a sore arm. Good luck! 

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Author: Andela Patrnogic

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