6 Steps to Improve Your Self-Care Routine
6 Steps to Improve Your Self-Care Routine
It’s an all too common feeling. With the dawn of a New Year (and decade), many people set goals and benchmarks to achieve in the unfolding months. Whether it’s regarding your finances or simply exercising more often the media across various platforms touts a variety of methods to help people reach their goals. No matter what career or profession you are in, something or someone is telling you to do better. But one category in these New Year’s resolutions that is often overlooked is selfcare. And for massage therapists, self-care can mean the difference between fully living out your career choice or painfully getting through each day.
To jump-start your self-care journey, we’ve compiled a list of six different ways to begin, maintain and grow your selfcare regimen. It can be as easy as jotting down some ideas on a notepad to taking 30-minute walk every day or as elaborate as setting up a dedicated meditation room in your home.
Where to Begin
Reflect and Make a List — You’ve made the decision to start feeling better. In order to achieve your incremental goals, start with a list. How ever you organize best is the best way to begin. Writing by hand, using your Notes app on your iPad, or even picking up a whiteboard and placing it in your office, making a detailed list of your ideal self-care routine is vital for success. Think of it as laying down the foundation for your well-being and overall health. But in order to effectively make a list, dedicated reflection is needed on your part. Finding quiet time and being honest (and kind) to yourself can help you make a more detailed list than just writing a couple points. We have some starter questions for you to jump start this thought process.
Where are You Now? — A 2018 American Psychiatric Association (APA) public poll noted that 39 percent of adults feel “more anxious” since last year. What is your lifestyle like and what are some of your major responsibilities that may be causing you stress? Identifying these will help you better understand where you fall on a scale of stress that will then help you tailor your self-care routine.
Explore Aromatherapy — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicate that essential oils are effective for the purposes of anxiety relief, aiding in sleep and relieving nausea. Lavender, orange peppermint and sandalwood are some popular options you can find in almost all retail outlets (and maybe even in your own spa/office). Our aromatherapy specialist, Nyssa Hanger, provides a multitude of different articles on the topic of essential oils, and even shares some fool-proof recipes. Her latest article on lavender oil includes a special recipe you can create at home with simple ingredients. Visit massagetoday.com/nyssahanger to read the full piece and get inspired to create your own essential oil recipes.
Hitting Your Stride
Physical Activity — A 2017 report by Harvard Medical School indicated that physical activity in any form is one of the most beneficial ways to increase health and maintain positive self-care routines. “It doesn’t have to be at the gym” writes Monique Tello, MD, MPH, the author of the report. “It doesn’t have to be a scheduled class. And it doesn’t have to be more than a few minutes a day. All activity counts. I encourage patients to think of an activity that they enjoy. Anything.”
Get a Massage — The 2019 AMTA Massage Profession Research Report indicates that the average massage therapist works almost 27 hours per week. In the same survey, massage therapists reported working in a variety of settings, including the client’s home, spa/salon, or health club among others. You are traveling and working hard to help your clients achieve their health goals. That same passion and attention ought to be directed toward you, too.
Evolution and Modification
Edit Your Routine as Necessary — Maybe a few items on your self-care checklist are a little ambitious. Maybe you can only get to your afternoon walks every other week. Anything you’ve noticed that either is or isn’t working for you, make note of and edit your routine accordingly. Reference that list you compiled at the beginning of your journey and make a new one.
Apply Massage Therapy Techniques to Yourself — In addition to getting a massage for yourself, self-care includes several quick, daily techniques applied to yourself. Common issues found in massage therapists include issues with their wrists, fingers and joints. Our contributor Ben Benjamin offers several helpful techniques that can be applied to both your clients and yourself. His recent series focuses on proper assessment and treatment for finger joint pain. Visit massagetoday.com/benbenjamin to find a variety of articles that focus on these conditions and could help you start taking better care of your hands.
BONUS TIP! Partner Up — Think about a friend, coworker, or relative who has indicated the same worries or concerns to you. Have a casual conversation with them and ask if they are interested in joining your process. Attend a local farmers market and look for the freshest essential oils together, or attend a yoga class and bring them along. Or even schedule a once-a-week coffee date on a Saturday morning to share your progress the week prior. Even if they are not a massage therapist, the sense of gratitude and personal care will make you and your partner feel taken care of.
The Feeling is Universal — New Year, new me. Coupled with the ever growing self-care craze, more and more people are turning to techniques and products to help them achieve optimum well-being. For massage therapists it’s no different and, in many respects, imperative to maintain a solid self-care routine.
Questions for Your List:
❱ When I feel pain in my hands or wrists I would like to :
❱ I would prefer to spend my weekends focusing on myself by :
❱ What can I do to give myself a mental break every day for 30 minutes :
❱ Who is a member of the massage profession I really look up to :
❱ How can I learn more from this person and apply it to my life :
❱ I really don’t like it when I feel :
❱ What can I do to stop feeling that way :
❱ What is one big goal I can work towards achieving in the coming months :
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