8 Tips for Self-Care as a Massage Therapist
Massage therapists are known for providing stress-relieving, soothing treatments to their clients, and as such, it can be easy to forget your own self-care when you’re busy helping others feel better about themselves. Here are some important self-care tips for massage therapists that can help prevent burnout in your practice and keep you feeling great both during and after your workday.
Many massage therapists use meditation to relax, reduce stress and take time for self-care. Meditation helps you clear your mind, focus on what’s important to you, get in touch with your goals and think strategically about your business. At its most basic level, meditation is nothing more than sitting still with purpose. But it doesn’t end there: Different techniques allow you to do everything from finding inner peace to processing thoughts to training your mind and body.
2) Keep up with Continuing Education
The number one way to avoid burnout is to stay on top of continuing education. A massage therapist without continual education is like a machine without oil—eventually, you’ll break down. If you haven’t been participating in continuing education over the past year, there are several ways to get back on track. The first thing to do is sit down and make your goals clear—then create an action plan that supports those goals.
3) Drink Water
One of the easiest ways to avoid massage therapist burnout is to drink plenty of water. Our brains are roughly 80% water and our bodies are 50–70% water; that’s why it’s so important we stay hydrated. If you find yourself at work in pain or stressed out, make it a point to drink more water. It will help with your mental clarity, energy levels, and relaxation.
4) Set Boundaries
The best way to avoid burnout is by having boundaries. In addition to your work and home life, you need some space from your industry: professional associations, workshops, and continuing education classes are often great resources but don’t expect that they will fill all of your free time. Remember, if you don’t make room for yourself in your life, no one else will.
5) Take Breaks
If you work 40 hours per week, you only have 160 hours of productivity time. If you’re working a ton of overtime, that number can drop significantly, which means it’s important to take breaks and focus on self-care. Take time away from work each day to meditate or exercise—it will refresh your mind and reduce your stress levels. Plus, meditation helps manage pain and anxiety, both of which are common issues among massage therapists.
6) Don’t Skip Meals
It’s important to maintain your energy throughout your day. If you skip meals, you may be more susceptible to fatigue and burnout. If you find yourself skipping meals or snacking too much throughout your day, start packing healthy snacks that will fuel your body in between meals, such as nuts and fruit. Avoiding these empty calories will help cut down on unnecessary weight gain caused by poor eating habits. Additionally, proper nutrition is vital to improving recovery time between sessions and keeping patients happy.
If self-care is about taking care of your mind, body, and spirit, journaling is one way to enhance those aspects of self. Writing about your day is therapeutic in its own right, but specific benefits of journaling include: It keeps you organized. By recording what you did at each appointment, it’s easier to remember important details from every client visit—and schedule return appointments accordingly.
8) Create Self-Care Rituals
Since most people already have morning and evening routines, consider developing self-care rituals at other times throughout your day. For example, after every client (or when you hit 60 minutes of work) stretch, and walk around. Or maybe set an alarm on your phone to go off every 90 minutes to remind yourself to do some physical activity or take some deep breaths.
There are many different opinions on what constitutes good self-care. It’s important to have an idea of your own, and then to find ways to make that work. You need to treat yourself in order to keep being able to treat others well. There is no right answer when it comes to self-care—there are simply good strategies and not-so-great ones.
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