Massage therapists, acupuncturists, and other holistic health care professionals are far more effective when they maintain solid physical, mental and spiritual health. Unfortunately, because these professionals are so passionate about caring for others, they often neglect their own needs. Whether you currently work in a holistic health care field or hope to one day, you can benefit from adopting these self-care regimens, which will keep you in peak condition:
Taking time off
Massage therapists and acupuncturists have a tendency to overbook themselves. Thus, as they spend long hours easing the stress of their clients, they make themselves feel increasingly tense and ill at ease. At some point, time off is needed, and not just a couple of hours. The temptation to book up would-be vacation time with appointments can be strong, but if you haven’t given yourself a break in ages, now is the time to clear your schedule and enjoy a little me time. That time could involve a trip abroad or a staycation, complete with plenty of long and satisfying naps. Do whatever you need to recharge; you’ll return with a more positive outlook on work and life in general.
Most people fail to understand just how physically demanding massage therapy can be. A good exercise and stretching regimen can greatly improve your ability to give an exceptional massage. Experts at Massage Today recommend that massage therapists warm up their upper shoulders and thoracic area via dynamic stretching. In addition to regular stretching, aim for at least half an hour of cardiovascular activity at least four times each week. As a holistic health care professional, you may enjoy more movement on the job than the average office worker, but outside exercise remains essential for physical and mental health.
Regular physical exercise alone is not enough; your fitness regimen should also be accompanied by a well-rounded diet. Instead of cutting out dozens of types of food and stressing out about all of the things you cannot eat, aim to incorporate a wider range of food types, including several servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
Peer groups and social support
As a massage therapist or acupuncturist, you likely face unique issues that, despite the best of efforts, your loved ones cannot fully understand. When interactions with clients leave you feeling stressed, the best recourse may be unloading during a peer group meeting. The fellow professionals at this group can relate to the unique dilemmas faced by massage therapists and acupuncturists — and they can provide valuable feedback and advice.
Follow your own advice
Have you advised patients to adopt certain health care routines and then failed to follow through on your own? This is a common phenomenon in the healthcare industry, and it greatly undermines professionals’ sense of authority. If your advice includes scheduling regular massages or acupuncture sessions with a trusted professional, do not hesitate to ask a fellow massage therapist or acupuncturist for help.
Self care is important for everybody, but especially those charged with improving others’ health and wellbeing. If you’re passionate about helping others maintain a healthier, more balanced lifestyle — and adopting a healthier lifestyle for yourself — learn more about becoming a student in one of PCOM’s acupuncture, massage therapy, or holistic nursing programs.