Over the past twenty years, throughout which I’ve been a massage therapist, I’ve observed in both my clients and myself a common pattern: when we push ourselves past our limits to achieve a goal or help others, our bodies tend to rebel. If we don’t pay enough attention to restoring physical and mental energy, we can end up burning out, getting sick, having a pain flare-up or sabotaging our long-term health. After many years of pushing past my limits in order to achieve, I developed an auto-immune condition I still struggle with today. This has made me even more acutely aware of just how close so many of us are to burning out…
How common is it that after making it through a grueling week of final exams with barely any sleep, college students end up having to cancel their hard-earned vacation, to spend semester break sick in bed?
How common is it that, after working overtime to earn extra money, you end up getting sick or suffering a migraine that costs you time away from work, adds medical bills to the mix, increases emotional stress and sabotages your financial goals?
I know in the past when I tried packing my schedule full of more clients than I could really handle or pushing past fatigue to go to an event I felt obligated to attend, it ended up COSTING me money! When I added up the time missed from work, clients I had to reschedule, cost of emergency acupuncture or doctors’ appointments and the emotional distress caused by all the drama of chronic pain and illness, I realized the short-sightedness of saying “yes” when what I really needed to do was take time out to restore my vital energy.
Over-working and skipping needed self-care can trigger migraines, chronic pain and illness, forcing the over-achiever to call in sick or spend precious resources on medical treatment…it’s like running as fast as you can up the down escalator—simply unsustainable!
If you know you have a super busy life with lots of people who rely on you, a fast-paced, high stress job or a list of responsibilities and obligations that goes on and on, you may be one of those people who NEEDS massage on a regular basis, to stay healthy and emotionally balanced. Period! Don’t feel guilty about it, but rather be glad you realized your limits in time to protect your long-term health, and avoid the hamster wheel of over-work and chronic illness.
I recommend getting a massage (at least) once a month for average people, and for people in higher-stress jobs, twice a month or even weekly—especially as we enter cold and flu season, to boost immunity. There is NO shame in taking time for yourself, despite the messages so many of us (especially women) grew up hearing, about how “serving others is more important than taking care of yourself.”
Guess what? You can’t truly serve others if you’ve run your own health into the ground!
When you take the long-view of your life, goals and pathway to success, remember to pace yourself! There is no point creating something you can’t sustain over time. There is no point making yourself sick or burning yourself out if your big-picture vision is to role model healthy habits for your kids, or to bring more love and light into our world!
When you take a step back and re-evaluate how you spend your energy and how often you recharge it, you can choose to create a more sustainable lifestyle that keeps you healthier, more grounded, less frazzled, and more fully present.
Did you know, just one hour on the massage table receiving relaxation and soothing pain and tension patterns is as restorative as a two-hour nap? If you don’t have time to sleep away your days off, it makes sense to take a couple hours every one to four weeks, to hit the reset button for your mind, body and spirit. Therapeutic massage has so many benefits, ranging from improved immune function to better sleep, more balanced moods, less pain, less stress-eating and weight gain, better range of motion and fewer exercise related injuries. Getting regular massage can even put you more in touch with your intuition, so you can make wiser decisions and smarter daily choices, based on your inner knowing.