July 2, 2010

Beyond Basic Self Care

A guest article by Carol Wiley, LMP

As a massage practitioner, you spend your days ministering to the needs of other people. Does anyone really need to tell you to eat healthy food, exercise, practice stress management, and get enough sleep as part of your self care? Let's go beyond those survival basics to look at ways to live a life of joy and purpose.

Does doing massage give you a sense of joy and purpose? If not, why are you doing massage? The greatest waste on earth is the waste of a life spent on unfulfilling work and activities.

However, it's important to remember that joy and purpose are not destinations; they are the quality of the life journey. Journeys sometimes have detours through swamps and minefields that lead to marvelous places you could not otherwise have reached. For example, in one of his books, Michael J. Fox writes about how Parkinson's Disease has been a great gift.

So, here are some self care tips that I believe are most important in creating a life of joy and purpose:

  • Know what is most important to you. Set priorities and make decisions based on your priorities. Make sure that your priorities and decisions are really yours, and that you are not doing things because someone else (mom, hubby, etc.) thinks you should. Priorities will change as your life changes, so reevaluate as needed.

  • Learn to say no. Part of setting priorities is saying no to requests that do not fit your priorities. You do not have to explain or apologize. If you want to, you can just say that you have other priorities at the moment. If someone comes back with a snide, "You need to get your priorities straight," ignore the person.

  • Surround yourself with supportive, like-minded people. People who do not respect your priorities are not supportive. As much as possible, stay away from people who are negative and try to drag you down or to keep you where you are, when you know you want to be someplace different.

If your life in this moment is not as you want it to be, accept where you are and do what you have to do. But DO NOT focus on the things you don't want. Rather focus on what you do want and tell your life story of how you want things to be. A few simple tips to get started:

  • Keep a notebook where you write about the parts of your life that you do like and how grateful you are for them.

  • Write a vision of how you want your life to be as if it's already true. If that vision includes a massage practice, write down everything that would be part of your dream massage practice.

  • When you find yourself focusing on the unwanted, ask yourself, "What do I want?" Tell yourself how much you look forward to having all the things you want.

To help you with this process, I suggest reading supportive books.You'll find the ones that resonate most with you, but two authors I suggest to get started are Wayne Dyer (particularly Excuses Begone) and Esther and Jerry Hicks (any of the Teachings of Abraham books). The Internet also has a wealth of material; just search on topics that interest you.

About the Author

Carol Wiley, LMP, has been a licensed massage practitioner since 1997 and had an active massage practice for almost 12 years. Visit Carol's Massage Therapy Information site for lots of information about massage and wellness or get information about the writing services that Carol offers.

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