I know what you’re thinking: ‘I’m too busy for a massage…I’ve got too much on my plate. I’ve too many things to do. My day isn’t long enough.’ If you’ve thought it, I’ve heard it. Why? Because I’ve said all those things too. But the more I massage, and the more I get my massages, the more I understand that self-care is where it starts.
1. The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
2. The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Realistically, if we aren’t up to par – if we haven’t listened to our bodies – if we haven’t taken care to decompress, then we aren’t going to be able to take care of all those people on our “list”. Taking care of ourselves first allows us to take care of others. And it doesn’t mean taking care of others necessarily. What it does mean is: if we get our massages – if we go to our yoga class – if we meditate or read a book or go for a walk, then we are able to handle daily tasks better. We’ll be better performing at our jobs. We’ll be able to think clearer, we’ll be able to handle life better and we will have a more positive outlook. There are even more physiologically cellular benefits that we will go into at another time.
The Mayo Clinic has done studies that prove massage is helpful in reducing:
Insomnia related to stress
I also read a German study that showed massage was successful in slowing down the respiratory system (think when you’re highly stressed and breathing shallow or rapidly) and steadying or calming your heart rate (think of your heart beating faster when you’re anxious or in a stressful situation).
As a massage therapist, even though I’m partial to massages, I’d venture to say you can insert your favorite activity and it will have the same positive benefits.
The moral of the story is, take it easy this holiday season. Things will get done and if they don’t? Will the world end? Will life go on? Remind yourself that it’s okay. Put things in perspective and figure out what is meaningful and important to your family and friends. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Say no without guilt. And first and foremost, get your massage and take care of yourself mentally and physically.
-Lisa Lane is a licensed massage therapist in Mint Hill and owner of Massage Sanctuary.