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Is Self-Care a Habit that you Embrace?

I has been awhile since I have taken the time to write a short piece for this blog. I am reflecting this month on the 25th anniversary of starting my career as a massage therapist and how grateful I am for finding this path. It has been very rewarding and enjoyable. I started working in the Town of Vienna back in the fall of 1997. It was not until the year 2000 that a massage therapist could work in their own business in Fairfax County. Thankfully, things have changed and we now find shopping centers with massage businesses and spa vacations are common place.

I made a career shift and chose massage as my new profession because I wanted to help people reduce their stress and to be able to assist in their recovery from pain, injury and sports training.

As I look back, I wonder if we are successfully combatting stress with the prevalence of massage, yoga, meditation and other ways to decrease stress or is there more stress in 2022 to combat?  I don’t know if I have the answer to that question but it is a good one to consider. Maybe there is an achievable balance in today’s hectic lifestyle through the act of unplugging from devices and taking more time for ourselves?

Since 1997 when I started in this profession, I wonder if the management of pain has improved? There are certainly more tools, apps, wearable devices and videos that instruct us how to decrease pain and stress. I suppose we are more educated and have more options to choose from. I don’t know if people are in less pain – there still seems to be a lot of people in pain. One could attribute some of this to the many conveniences that we have in 2022. Sadly, we do not need to move our bodies as much and that lack of movement is not ideal for our overall health and wellbeing.

Today the concept of self-care is in the forefront of the health and wellness field. This is the habit of taking care of ourselves – mentally, physically, emotionally. Are you taking time to get out and exercise or be in nature, to do some focused breathing or schedule an appointment and show up for that massage? There are so many ways to take a break from the things that constantly grab our attention and to reconnect with our authentic selves.

What are you doing today to address stress and manage pain? What have you put into your daily routine to promote a lifestyle of feeling well and happy? I am re-committing myself to this old habit and I hope to make another 25 year anniversary (at least on a part-time basis)! Let’s make self-care a priority. We all need a break to recharge ourselves.

Positive Steps toward Healthy Habits!

Take some positive steps toward a practice of healthy habits to keep your immune system working for you!  During this slower time of isolation and reflection, here are ten (10) healthy habits to incorporate in your daily routine.

1. “Let food be they medicine” as Hippocrates said in the 5th century BC and choose to eat food that is more colorful and rich in vitamins and minerals – like real fruit and vegetables – organic when possible not manufactured.

2. And, don’t forget to Hydrate, too!

3. Avoid processed foods, processed sugar, sugary drinks (even alcohol) and any foods that cause your body to inflame.

4. Get outside and soak in some Vitamin D from the sunshine. Get out in the morning when the rays are less apt to burn your skin.

5. While you are outside, Move more! Sweat a bit! Go for a walk, find a new place to hike, go for a bike ride or find a nice spot to relax near a lake or river afterward!

6. Get good sleep and rest. Unplug at least an hour before going to bed and don’t take your devices to bed with you!

7. Focus on your breathe! Take nice cleansing deep breathes in and out – use your diaphragm!

8. Quiet your mind – focus on your breathe and allow your body to relax. Meditate 15-20 minutes a day.

9. Find more things to appreciate in your life right now. Write them down!

10. Encourage yourself with positive talk and repeat each of these healthy habits daily. Keep a journal of your progress!