Taking Care of the Caretaker

Ask almost any massage therapist why they were drawn to the profession and they will tell you...they didn't choose it, it chose them.

Most of us are natural caretakers. The helpers in the world. Many of us considered going into nursing or a similar medical field, but after paying close attention to our core beliefs, we realized we had been called to an alternative healing career instead. It is a calling. You must love what you do as a massage therapist. If you are unsure or in it for the wrong reasons, it will show in your work.

We work hard, and at times too hard. It is an industry of feast or famine. Many of us work nights and weekends to accommodate our clients who work 9-5. If you are employed in the spa & hospitality industry, you may be required to work holidays as well.

This combined with giving your time and energy can quickly lead to injury, illness or burnout. It is vital to care for yourself properly to sustain your career. Did you know that only 1 out of 10 massage therapists continues to practice for 10 years or more? This should tell you something about our profession. It certainly is not for everyone.

Some important self care practices are in order to keep you strong and able as a practitioner of massage. As I come up on my 10th year this year, I'd like to share with you some of the things I have found helpful to keep me grounded and injury free.

1. Get regular massages!
It should go without saying, but many of us get caught up with busy lives and neglect our own need for healing touch. This is helpful in a few ways such as keeping us feeling great, less work related injury and establishing a strong body/mind connection, but also it is so important to be reminded of how powerful what we do can be. Setting up a regular trade with another therapist is the best way to go about getting worked on regularly.

2. Stay hydrated!
Again, something we all know, but often forget. Try skipping the coffee at work, and substitute with herbal tea, lemon water or fresh vegetable juices instead. A well hydrated system is less likely to be injured, and can give you a bit of added energy throughout your work day.

3. Consider taking a regular yoga class.
The benefits of yoga are vast. A few pertaining to our profession are building strength, flexibility and endurance, improve body mechanics and establishing a strong mind/body/spirit connection. At the end of a long day of massaging the masses, it is a beautiful thing to hit the mat and let it all go. You will find it can change your work as well as give you something to recommend to your clients.

4. Eat well!
Along with keeping hydrated, eating well throughout your day is essential. You are giving so much to your clients, and keeping your blood sugar balanced with whole foods is super important to do your best. Eat a good breakfast with a little protein, try snacking on nuts or fruit, and load up on veggies and whole grains to sustain your energy. Seriously, a long day at the spa or office can sometimes feel like running a marathon!

5. Get the best quality sleep you can.
6-8 hours a night. Forget about FOMA! If you are scheduled to work the following day, get your rest! The amount of energy expended at work will leave you run down, exhausted and prone to illness if you are already tired heading into your day. Our clients are depending on us to be at our best, and they deserve all we've got!

If you are a massage therapist looking for ways to extend your career, stay healthy, happy and passionate about your work, let's talk!

XO
Lena

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