Let’s just start out by saying that the burnout rate for massage therapists is outrageous!
We talk about self-care to our clients all the time. Yet, are we following our own advice?
All too often therapists complain that clients are not self-care compliant. And because we aren’t the energizer bunnies 24/7, how do we give our best, be present and hold space for others when we feel depleted? We know that actions speak louder than words and your clients follow what you do. So, the question becomes, how can we stay healthy and energetic for our clients consistently?
We are in the career field where we take care of everyone else, therefore it’s crucial that we do the same for ourselves. It’s time to stop “burning the candle at both ends” and remember to “stop and smell the roses”. Because your life can also directly affect your practice.
Here are some tips from a Bodyworker and business owner of almost 2 decades actively working in the field. We hope you find it beneficial and overcome burnout.
Recognize that rest and recovery is just as important than hustle and bustle. Form nurturing habits to nourish your being inside and out. Take time to receive bodywork regularly. Get out! Spend time outdoors, going for walks, reading, reflecting, feeding your body nutrient rich foods, getting a good night’s sleep, hydrating, minimize alcohol and processed foods … the list goes on and on. I find that going to a local massage therapist regularly as a client works better from me than depending on trading with other therapists and juggling schedules because I can do this regularly without interruptions. Also taking time to be creative on projects relaxes me and makes me feel good.
Remember that YOU have to make the time. No one will do it for you. Block your calendar, and don’t allow interruptions. Not everyone has the same needs. Most importantly is to find a system that works for you.
What is it that your body needs? What fills your cup?
Realize that selfcare isn’t a luxury, it is a priority. It is not selfish, its selfing.. Selfcare means being responsible for your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing so that you feel more grounded and balanced. When you take care of yourself, you show up differently in your life. From a place of abundance in energy and a more positive mood, you can give to others.
Delegate. The most successful business owners i know have no problem delegate responsibilities and different tasks. The things your not good at or dont like doing, you can help others while they help take some of the load off you! I have on multiple occasion seek out assistance from friends or family members that are responsible and will get the job done. From hiring a virtual assistant, scheduling out your social media and paying a high-schooler to do your laundry or helping out a single mom or someone who can use some side work can be your chance to serve others as well
Try this exercise: The yes and no list
Many of us say Yes to a lot of things, but struggle with saying no. Sometimes because of this we allow our boundaries to get crossed.
Take a piece of paper, fold it in half and draw a line in the middle. On one side put the word “NO” and don’t the other “YES”
Now right on the list of things that are you are going to say no to and the things that you are going to say yes to. When you struggle with boundaries this is a great thing to look back at.
Monitor how and with who you spend your time.
They say you are like the 5 people you spend your time with. This means we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. Ask yourself, “Am I spending my time with those you life me up, or bring me down?” Being around negative or problematic people can affect your thoughts and actions and take a toll on your emotional wellbeing.
On another note, with how we spend our time, we could include the trainings that we take. Are they relevant or in alignment to the demographic we serve? Are we mindlessly taking random continuing education classes or are we strategically choosing them for how they will enhance our practice?
If your practice is focused on helping moms through pre and postpartum work, infant massage etc., It might not be ideal to spend time in workshops focused on sports massage, etc. because that is a completely different audience than the one you serve. However, that can also change and as your practice grows you can monitor and adjust.
Keep a journal– Write it down: goals-daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Thoughts, ideas action plans. Getting it on paper means its not bouncing around in your mind taking up room. It helps promote mental clarity and focus. Journaling has also been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety. #
Sometimes my best ideas come while I’m giving bodywork. For this reason, I keep a little notebook in my treatment room.
Ask for help- Know that you’re not alone. There are wellness experts you can add to your circle to help yourself and your clients. Who are your local nutritionist, exercise specialist, acupuncturist, etc.?
If you don’t like something, change it. Let’s face it, some things in life are out of our control. But I believe there is a lot that is in our control. If you are not happy at your current position, move. Don’t stay at a job bitter and miserable and reflect that on your clients. For those who work for themselves, if you’re not satisfied financially, change it. If you’re not fulfilled with the type of bodywork or clients you’re serving, you can change that too. Focusing on where you want to be and how you want to practice, rather than trying to be everything for everyone to the point where you’re not taken care of. Not being happy with your work life can take an emotional toll and also lead to burnout and fatigue.
Monitor and adjust
There are constant moving parts in life and in business. Learning to adapt to change and becoming more resilient will help you stay on target with your goals and progress. Being aware that things can change at any moment, may help you be able to better manage your lifestyle choices, make self care a priority, protect your boundaries, prevent or avoid unnecessary stress, and work towards a better quality of life.
Be kind to yourself – It takes time to lose old habits and incorporate new ones. Self compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself as you would towards others when times get tough. If your feeling drained, come back to this blog when you need reminders and share it with others too!
Fernanda is the co-founder of Apex Retreat Seminars, a nationally approved continuing education school for massage therapist and is a Certified Professional Aromatherapist.
She loves to share her knowledge and passion for helping others using traditional methods of healing