hand on a cup with a heart on it and an open notebook with pencil
hand on a cup with a heart on it and an open notebook with pencil

Keeping Self-Care A Top Priority

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
January 12, 2022

Keeping Self-Care A Top Priority

By Massage Today, Editorial Staff
January 12, 2022

Ann Pauley, massage therapist, certified life coach and co-founder of The Posture Project in Woodstock, Georgia, shares some tips for how massage therapists can commit to keeping self-care at the top of their priority list in 2022.

The new year is ripe for people making resolutions they don’t keep. Can you give readers one way they can set intentions for the upcoming year that takes the pressure off the process and gives them a chance of making changes in their lives they want and/or need?

To coincide with nature, I choose winter as a time for introspection and to reflect on my life and what I have learned. It is a time to listen to my heart and let go of what’s not serving me anymore and to discover what I am longing for in my next chapter.

For me, I do not make resolutions or goals during winter. Instead, I wait until spring and create a vision board to help me hold the vision of the new chapter I am wanting to bring into my life. Vision boards are powerful tools to have as a visual reminder of my heart’s desire. I tend to avoid goal setting altogether and stay with inspiration instead this helps me stay in flow and in joy as I create.

You help people find balance and reclaim their health and confidence. For someone who might be struggling with those things, what is a good first step for them to take?

I would offer that being present with what you’re thinking and feeling would be a good first step. I know when I listen to my gut or intuition, I am always happier with the choices I make.

For example, if there is a commitment that is asked of me that doesn’t feel good in my being, and if I choose to say no to that commitment, things usually work out much better for me. Making the choice to follow your gut or intuition will always feel best.

A good starting point could be with your diet. Choosing foods that support the health of your body will reflect in your mental state as well because you are creating confidence in yourself and establishing boundaries with will power.

So many massage therapists are in this profession because they care about other people and want to help them take better care of themselves. Sometimes, that means they don’t always have time to take care of themselves. How can massage therapists make sure they keep self-care a priority?

I would agree that most massage therapists are givers and sometimes to their detriment. My Swedish massage instructor instilled in me at the beginning of my career that I should have a set schedule and not to deviate from it. She also taught me to charge more for my services.

This advice has stuck with me my whole career. When you have a set schedule there is more time for you. And, when you charge more for your services, you have more income to take care of yourself. One cannot give when they are depleted.

What are some of the most common challenges you see with people who are striving for balance in their lives?

I’d say the most common challenge is that most people don’t put themselves on their own daily list. Each person has the same amount of time per day as everyone else. It is important to add YOU to your daily list.

I have learned that if I can just do one small thing per day that I love to do or that I can do to support my health, I am a much happier person. If you can carve at least 15 minutes each day for yourself to do whatever you want to do, you will start to find balance in your life.

What are some of your favorite self-care activities?

I love taking landscape photos, riding my bike in the woods, hiking with my partner and pups, or walking on a sandy beach and hearing the sound of the ocean. Nature helps me find peace and to get grounded.

I also love to do yoga, get bodywork, and take baths.

For those who generally have good habits, or are developing good habits around self-care and balance, do you have some tips for how they can stay on track and what they can do to get back on track if they notice they’re overcommitting or burning out?

For me, when I get fussy, irritable or angry, that is a sign that I haven’t put myself on my list for the day. Each day has different challenges and commitments, and the smallest “me” time can do the trick to get me back on track.

Additionally, being present with how you are feeling can help you catch yourself when getting overwhelmed or stressed. Find something that you can do for yourself to reset your energy and calm your mind.

Get More Self-Care Tips

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