“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
As I’ve begun to focus on taking a more holistic approach to my own wellness, one of my key transformations was in no longer considering massage as simply “pampering” or “extra”. As human beings, we are often asked to put the needs of others before spending quiet time with ourselves – why is that? As mentioned in a post last month, I’ve made monthly massage a “prescription” to nurture the often-ignored mind-body connection that relates directly to my overall health.
Julie Campbell is one of the people who I rely on to look after me. As owner of Written on the Body on NE 13th and Alberta, her studio offers incredibly relaxing therapeutic massage, acupuncture and Feldenkrais treatments. She is not only the best massage therapist I’ve ever been to, but she offers an environment that truly nurtures. I know I can open up about lots of “stuff” going on with me and she’ll customize her treatment to my needs. Julie, quite simply, is amazing.
So yes, as you guessed it, I convinced her to share her own story with me and some tips for self-care I thought we could all benefit from.
My first year of business was a mixture of extreme highs and lows. I started non-traditionally – no financial backing and no client base – I relied on me, my tax refund and some serious passion.
Six months in, business exploded. I was working too much and barely surviving. A year in, I no longer recognized myself. I was depleted, parched, spirit shrunken, and weak – a shell filled with dust. I hit bottom with a hard thud. And as I was in my darkened bedroom, crying to my boyfriend about how it was probably over, I was a failure, and so on and so forth, he gave me the gift of a question.
“Do you want this or not?”
A simple question that has been asked more than a trillion times in the universe, but at that moment it was a biblical revelation.
- What do I want? The question is so massive and sometimes so difficult to answer in all of the surrounding movement and noise.
- What do I need? To me those are often one and the same.
I responded. OF COURSE! To own and grow a business, to be a massage therapist and offer a place of peace and healing – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
So I started regularly asking myself that question. And then I started to answer it and to actually listen to my answers.
- I needed more time for me.
- I needed time for my health.
- I needed a space to breathe.
I began to allow myself to find peace through yoga, massage, acupuncture, Feldenkrais, baths, breaths and soooo many other self-care modalities. And because of this, I rediscovered joy in my work and happiness in my life. I now realize the importance of my own well-being.
When I’m not ensuring my own wellness, I’m incapable of offering my best face to the world (or any face when it comes right down to it).
With that, here are my personal favorites for self-care:
- Tell yourself every single day you are important enough and “worth it” enough to be well, to be happy, to have what you want and need. This is not just some “fu fu” self help thing – it works because it is true!
- Explore massage and other forms of bodywork. I partake in a mixture of acupuncture, Feldenkrais and weekly massage, combining deep tissue and relaxation. When I miss a week I can absolutely tell the difference, I am less patient with others as well as myself. I am stiff, crackly, and have less energy. Even if you can only afford one per month, it will make a gigantic difference. Try it and if I am wrong, please let me know.
- Yoga!! I don’t practice yoga regularly, rather I go through phases when I just want to do it so bad I can’t not go. And then I’m a yoga fiend! Returning to yoga always makes me feel like it’s the first time I’ve breathed in who knows how long. Amazing, Amazing, Amazing.
- Find a warming & centering atmosphere of peace and healing. Whichever way you go, I promise you will leave feeling renewed! How can that not be wonderful? A few of my favorites include Ashiyu Foot Spa for an inexpensive soak, Common Ground Wellness Center for an incredible soak & sauna experience, and trying out a float shop where I love to float, meditate and find quiet with my thoughts. And of course, I highly recommend the free stuff too – drinking tea and water, chatting with friends, and meditation.
- Get outside! I know it’s rainy forever and then some in Portland (believe me I am a sun lover so I am always struggling with that fact), but what I’ve realized is that good rain gear is worth the money! We live in one of the most beautiful states – so go outside even when it rains. Garden, hike, bike, walk, run, puddle jump, sunbathe, swim, or if you live in the area, go to Bagby Hot Springs. Whatever you do, go outside and play every single day if you can. Nature is healing.
- Exercise! Even if you can only manage 10 minutes a day of some type of movement, it will make a huge difference mentally and physically. Better yet, find some active thing that you love and do that, even if it seems outlandish! One of my clients says when she’s invited to go to happy hour or dinner with friends, she asks them to go for a run or take a fun exercise class with her instead. What a cool way to hang out!
- Decide to do what feels good from now on. When something isn’t feeling good, examine it, reevaluate why, then figure out what you can do to change or eliminate it. I have seen a marked difference watching those who follow this philosophy – they look and feel younger and more vibrant. Try it and see, then let me know what happens, I’m interested!
- Let go of that which no longer serves you. Enough said. If it is not serving you or your purpose and what you are trying to accomplish in life, leave it behind and make space for those things that do. Smile, breathe, find quiet moments in your day and enjoy yourself! Life is unpredictable and way too short to waste being stagnant and unhappy.