If there’s ever been a year for self-care, 2020 is it. Just like on an airplane where you’re directed to put your mask on first before helping others, taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing is critical to being able to support your loved ones. And with a pandemic, a civil rights movement, and a potential economic collapse looming, self-care is more important than ever.
The concept and execution of self-care vary from person to person, but should ultimately focus on making you feel good. This Tuesday, Oct. 13, is National Treat Yourself Day – a holiday created by Parks & Rec characters Donna and Tom to inspire viewers to take one day a year to do whatever makes them happy.
Self-care carries its own benefits, including improved physical and emotional health, reduced stress levels, better productivity, and more. There are also different types of self-care: sensory, emotional, spiritual, physical, and social – all of which are relatively easy to accomplish on your own.
Whether it’s going all out in a replica Batman costume like Ben Wyatt, taking 5 minutes for meditation, or booking yourself a massage, make sure you take time for yourself this week. Here are a few things to keep in mind when focusing on your wellbeing:
Self-care isn’t selfish.
One of the biggest stigmas surrounding self-care is that it’s selfish to put yourself first, but haven’t you heard you can’t pour from an empty cup? To do your best, you have to be your best, and you can only do that if you’re putting yourself first.
Fifty-one percent of people in the U.S. report feeling burnt out, but only 30% actually take the time for self-care. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global mental health crisis and defined burnout as both an occupational risk and a workplace condition. Instead of looking at it like a luxury or an occasional treat, think of it as a time to reset and restore yourself so you can focus on supporting others – both at home and in the workplace.
A Birchbox study also found that 1 in 3 Americans feel guilty taking time for themselves, and two-thirds report caring for others over themselves. We need to work together to erase the stigma around taking time for yourself and make it a priority instead of an option.
Practice deep breathing.
One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to practice mindful self-care is deep breathing exercises. A quick Google search will provide you with a plethora of options, and there are tons of benefits to this practice. Oxygen helps cleanse and soothe different parts of your body, increase energy, lower blood pressure, and improve digestion.
One of the most common exercises – 4-7-8 breathing – involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding in the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling slowly for 8 seconds. This practice will help to reduce anxiety, manage cravings, and improve sleep, to name a few.
Remember to be intentional with your breathing and focus on filling your abdomen instead of just your chest. You can incorporate this practice into your daily routine while watching TV, driving to work, or right before bed.
Build it into your routine.
Adding something like simple breathing exercises to your daily checklist is a comfortable place to start, but don’t stop there. Finding ways to care for yourself daily, weekly, or monthly will help make it a priority.
At Massage Heights, we’re dedicated to helping you live happier and healthier through regular massage and skin therapy. Our retreat is not meant to be an occasional treat, but rather a part of your routine that restores balance to your daily life. This routine helps our members feel good about feeling good with monthly visits and dedicating time to caring for themselves.
By developing a new mindset and working self-care into your routine, it will become second nature, and before you know it, you’ll be leading the way for others to do the same.
Try something new.
Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone is precisely what you need to get out of a funk. Consider visiting a new place, trying a new restaurant, or checking something off your bucket list.
You can even consider adding something new to an old favorite. We’ve introduced different elevations, each with its own set of unique benefits that help further enhance your relaxation experience. In addition to regular massage therapy, adding one of these services to your visit can help to build excitement and relieve additional stress. Below are some of our most requested services.
Our most popular elevation – Hot Stone Therapy – intensifies the restorative properties of your massage while relieving stress and tension from your muscles. The heat from the stones releases muscular tension and makes your massage even more effective. It can also help increase circulation through the blood vessels and the lymphatic system, ridding your body of toxins and helping it mend.
Our newest elevation – Dry Brushing – uses a combination of exfoliation and massage to exfoliate your skin for a smoother and brighter appearance while providing several additional health benefits. The firm bristles and slow movements of this service aids in eliminating toxins from your body and leaves you feeling revitalized with a natural boost of energy.
One of our most unique services – Hemp-Infused Massage – is often used for pain management, inflammation, and anxiety. The CBD-infused massage oil is applied directly to the skin and helps the therapist work deeper into the muscle for a deeper and more relaxing session.
No matter what you decide to do, as long as you’re taking the time to focus on yourself, you’re on the right track!
This guest post was written by Cristina Goebel, owner and operator of Massage Heights Indianapolis.