come as you are
start small: simple body movements, ideas and ways to help you feel better on the regular
I was interested to see yesterday’s NPR article "The Millennial Obsession With Self-Care." I’m in the health & wellness field after all. The term self-care has become a trendy term, yet there is a reason for it - it is an important piece of every day life that we often ignore until we're whipped out and exhausted. According to the article, the new generation is focusing a lot of their time and resources on self-care.
Millennials aren’t the only generation to do self-care, though this article suggests they’re making it more of a priority than past generations. In fact, most of my massage clients are Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. All the while, many of my yoga students are Millennials. Millennials approach self-care (as the article mentions) in a bit of a different way than generations past - it’s more phone and internet induced. While there are cool apps and internet self-care techniques that I know very little about, I still think I’m a bit old school in my self-care approach. It could be the Gen X’er in me but rather I think it is because of what I do. I teach yoga and give therapeutic massages for a living. Both of which are phone-free (with the exception of the music coming out of my phone during those sessions).
“In 2015, according to the Pew Research Center, more millennials reported making personal improvement commitments than any generation before them. They spend twice as much as boomers on self-care essentials such as workout regimens, diet plans, life coaching, therapy and apps to improve their personal well-being. They've even created self-care Twitter bots.”
Taking time out for yourself is super important now more than ever. Our phones, social media, the internet, the news, our President/gov’t are huge stressors these days. You don’t want to burn out from social activism, your job, relationships, or even from your friend’s constant social media updates. A break from these things can help energize and re-focus on yourself. My suggestion is to go beyond a break. Be active in your self-care. Do something specific, thoughtful and intentional for you and your wellbeing.
Self-care looks different to different people. I wrote about one of my favorite self-care techniques (under the guise of mindfulness) last year here. My favorite well-being plan is a free one too! I bike to a park, take a walk and read a book, or set up a picnic with friends. There is no wrong way to do self-care. But what I will say before you suggest to yourself 2 bottles of wine while binge watching a TV show alone for 8 hours (I've done it many a time) as your self-care technique, make sure you’ll feel good about your idea/plan in the long run.
So, how do you find out what kind of self-care idea will work for you? Ask yourself a few questions before you decide what wellbeing activity might be the best:
Will I feel:
I’m excited! After 5 years of practicing massage in Boston, I’m also (finally) official here in NY! As of a few weeks ago, I received word from the NY State Education Licensing Board that I passed my massage therapy board exam. Not only am I an Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) here in New York state , but I also now have an office!
For those who don’t know my background, I moved from Boston May 1, 2016, where I previously practiced massage and taught yoga. While it was hard to leave my life, friends and clients, I came to NY to do what I did in Massachusetts - teach yoga on the regular and build a massage practice with regular clients. I’ve been teaching yoga in and around Rochester from the get-go, and now I’m super excited I can continue to practice massage here! So what does this all mean?
It means you can schedule a massage with me! I have my own massage studio/office - starting this week/April 10th. My office is located 30 Allens Creek Road, Rochester, NY 14618 (In Brighton). You can book with me via email or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org or 585-348-7980.
My therapeutic massage sessions are tailored to each person’s individual needs. I often combine several different massage techniques into a session. See below for some of the modalities I offer my clients. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Therapeutic massage therapy works with those who have:
30min/$45 60min/$75 90min/$110
*Cupping is an additional $10/session
For further details, check out my massage page here.
"I really need a massage" is a phrase I hear at least once a week from someone. And I have definitely heard that phrase uttered even more lately as we experience a huge uptick in stress and anxiety due to this year's election. Yet many do not actively seek out a massage, unless gifted one or when desperately seeking bodywork if they can't move their neck. From my conversations with people who have or have not gotten a massage, including clients, I've found that people believe they:
Little To-No-Time for Self-Care
Self-care is a hard thing to do. Especially as Americans. We are always in a hurry and always busy. We glorify working more than 40 hours a week while shamming those who take time out for themselves. However, running on steam can't last. As the saying goes "You can't pour from an empty cup." In other words, how you can continue to work, be productive and creative, help your friends, and connect with your family, etc if you're running on low? You can't; eventually you'll burn out, walk around in pain, get sick, etc. Take time for yourself for self-care - a massage, a walk in the park, alone time with a book, no phone, etc. If you have time for an hour of TV or an hour of FB, you have time for a massage.
Why A Massage Can Help
Last year, the Huffington Post published an article entitled, Touch As Nutrition. The first line of the article reads: "Touch could properly be regarded as a form of nutrition." Safe, human touch and contact is a necessary part of being happy and healthy. Without it, children's brains don't develop and "solitary elderly people are almost 50 percent more likely to die early than those who have family, friends or community."
For many of us adults, human contact "soon becomes rationed out, reserved for appropriate moments with appropriate people." So often that leaves us little to no touch from another human. Depression can set in and the immune system weakens. Massage does the opposite: boosts the immune system, helps with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and relieves muscles tension, along with much more positive outcomes. I get bodywork 1-2 times/month. I have for years. If I miss a month, my body is pretty much screaming at me and my anxiety is up.
Human connection in a comfortable and safe way simply feels good. I have had clients over the years simply come to me not to just get the "knots out," but because they want physical human contact. That's more than enough reason to get some sort of bodywork.
Affording a Massage
Fact: you do not have to pay $150 to get a really good massage. Below are ways to find a really good massage therapist (LMT) for way under $100 :
Hopefully these suggestions help inspire you to find an affordable therapist that works well with your needs. Let me know if you have any other ideas.
Photo by Maria Kogan from Radically Restorative Yoga - a restorative class with 4 dedicated bodyworkers assisting the class
For the past 6 or so years, I've chosen jobs where most of my day is spent on my feet and moving around. I wouldn't want it any other way. Being on my feet all day I feel it. At the end of a long day my feet and hips are not happy.
Feet are often the forgotten souls (pun intended) of our body. The ones who do the most work, with the least amount of credit. Until...they're screaming at you.
You don't need plantar fasciitis or a broken toe as the only opportunity to start taking time to support your feet. Whether you're on your feet all day for work, or walking in heals, or long-distance running, providing self-care to your feet is just as important as any other part of you...if not more.
When do the same thing over and over again (this goes for anything), our body gets used to it. With this muscle memory, imbalances start to form from the feet all the way up the body (knees, hips, lower back, etc. - you get it.) In addition, your feet start to stiffen up after being in the same position for long periods, offering very little flexibility and becoming achy (or painful).
Do you have any feet exercises, stretching, strengthening or self massage moves you'd like to share? Post in the comments - I'd love to learn more!
I moved from Boston to Rochester only four months ago. One of the best things about Rochester is how much less people use their smartphones compared to Bostonians. I have my thoughts as to why I think Boston is staring at their phones a lot more, but my conjecture is not the point of this blog post.
This past Labor Day weekend I went to the woods of Denmark, Maine near the White Mountains. Needless to say there wasn't much cell service. I opted to put my cellphone on airplane mode (as did most folks). I only checked it once to see if there were any "emergencies" (there rarely are, let's be honest), and to send a few "I'm alive" texts. The majority of my time was spent outside in the woods hiking, swimming, canoeing, doing yoga, eating really really good food with strangers and old friends - cellphone-free. I was being mindful and present this weekend without even trying to be.
The New York Times wrote an article about the overused buzzword last year entitled, "The Muddled Meaning of 'Mindfulness,'" In it, the article quotes Jon Kabat-Zinn, a Zen Buddhist who summarizes modern day mindfulness as “'The awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.'” This weekend was the first time since I moved back to Rochester that I forgot about the busy/distracting act of missing Boston. Instead, I was being with everything around me. It was because I was in nature sans phone.
My biggest challenge here in Rochester is my lack of connection to this lovely Flower (Flour) City. I want to get to know people, places, sites, the culture, etc. But I have been trapped in a cycle of desperately trying to stay attached to Boston via social media & texting. Using my smartphone as a security blanket, I am missing relationship opportunities and experiences here in Rochester.
So, how do we savor the nature-filled/mindfulness (fill in the blank) weekend and stay detached from the phone so we can relate to one another more (in person & in real life)? Below are a few (FREE!) things I try to do when I'm feeling distracted and want to refocus on the now:
Maine. The way life should be.
[Photo from this weekend]