What Being a Massage Therapist Taught Me About Self Care
Over time the excessive demands on our time can lead to several detrimental effects. Self care is an excellent way to fight this cycle. It helps keep our resilience to stress up so we can perform at an optimal level in our careers, relationships and hobbies.
My Ah-Ha! Moment
I admit that before becoming a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) I was not always good at taking the best care of myself.
Once I entered full time practice as an RMT that all changed. Being an RMT is a very physically demanding job. Like any physical job it can lead to repetitive strain injuries and pain. I learned very quickly that if I wanted to perform at my peak level I needed to make the time to care for my body.
The great gift of this revelation is I began to see self care as a non-negotiable part of my job. In order to serve my patients to the very best of my ability I needed to be strong, I needed to be pain free, and I needed to be properly fueled by nutritious food. If one of these conditions were not met, I knew in my heart of hearts that I was not treating my patients to the best of my ability. My ‘self care’ truly stemmed from a deep desire to help those around me. It was one of the ways I ensured I was giving optimally to those who sought my help.
This revelation is what I try to impart upon my patients. Go take that walk in the forest. Go to that yoga class. Get regular massages. When you are feeling refreshed then go back to your family and your job and give the best version of yourself to those around you…but you can’t give optimally from an empty vessel!
Types of Self Care
There are many types of self care. Self care is anything that helps you feel refreshed, energized and refueled.
- Exercise, Yoga
- Tai Chi/Qi Gong/Meditation
- Taking a hot bath
- Making quality time for friends and family
- Ensuring you take your vacation time, even if it is for a ‘staycation’
Even Short Bits Help
One of the biggest objections I hear from patients against integrating self care into their routines is that of time. Fortunately self care does not have to take a lot of time. Ten minutes of stretching after a hard day can make all the difference in the world.
Another big tip is to find a type of self care that you truly love doing so it doesn’t feel like work. If you hate running, then don’t try to become a runner. Perhaps try a Zumba class, take up cycling or join a hiking club. If you do not like yoga do not try to become a yogi. Perhaps pilates would be a better fit for you. The whole point of self care is doing something that nourishes you.
And remember…when you take good care of yourself you are able to help everyone around you that much better!
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Last updated Feb. 29, 2016