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Showing posts with label stress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stress. Show all posts

Monday, August 20, 2018

5 Ways to Relieve Anxiety in a Natural Manner


5 Ways to Relieve Anxiety in a Natural Manner

I think we can all agree that today’s fast-paced modern world is a tough place to live.

The incessant bombardment on our self esteem caused by our social media addictions, the fear generated by crisis-obsessed rolling news channels, tribal politics, global warming and overpopulation – basically the list of things that generate anxiety and stress is almost endless.

It’s enough to have you reaching for some industrial strength anxiety medication in order to calm your nerves. And many people do. Before you take that drastic step why not try instead these five ways to relieve anxiety in a natural manner first.


Do a digital detox

Smartphones and social media are two of the most important developments we’ve ever seen. Never before has the human race been so connected. The omnipresence of technology in our lives has seen a radical and profound shift in the way we interact with the world and each other.

The consequences of the technological revolution are still be fully understood but one thing is certain – we’ve become a society of tech addicts.

Our smartphones rarely leave our hands and we are hooked to the feeling likes and retweets give us, each one releases a tiny dose of dopamine into our bloodstream and it feels great. The downside of our technology addiction is like that of any other drug, we need more and more and when it’s taken away from us we get anxious.

Taking a step back from social media, and our smartphones in general, is a great way to see exactly what power they have over us. A digital detox of a week, or more, is a great way to reduce anxiety levels and to rediscover a little calm.


Laugh more

Laughter really is the best medicine.

Having a chuckle is an unbelievably potent and tragically overlooked tool when it comes to stress reduction. Whether it is sharing a great big belly laugh with your friends or putting on your favourite funny film and sniggering away for ninety minutes. The more we laugh the less anxious we are.

Researchers have even found that you can cheat the system. Simply remembering a funny memory, say that time your Aunt Mary’s hat caught on fire for instance, is enough to flood your body with a cocktail of stress reducing hormones.


Get a massage

When we are anxious it’s reflected in the health of our body. A hard week in the office will more often than not manifest itself in a sore back and tight shoulders. stretching exercises are a great way to help minimise this pent up anxiety. A relaxed hatha yoga class is the perfect combination of deep breathing and gentle stretching.

Another means to relieve this anxiety from your poor body in a natural manner is to get a massage. Have a well trained professional go to work on your problem areas and ease the stress away with their magic fingers. When it comes to stress relief a good masseuse is worth their body weight in gold. If you find a good one, treasure them.


Sleep more

We’ve always known that sleep is good for us but it’s only in the last decade that we’ve come to truly understand exactly how good for us sleep really is.

Sleep is now being referred to by many experts as not only the best natural performance enhancer available but also the best natural stress relief available. This is because when we sleep, our system is able to flush the body of cortisol, the so-called ‘stress hormone’.

Individuals who sleep badly, that’s less than seven hours a night, have been shown to have much higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Insomniacs have a far higher rate of suicide than their well-rested counterparts.

Knowing you should sleep more and actually being able to do so are two very different things entirely. For some tried and tested expert advice on how to improve your odds of a good night’s rest head on over to the Sleep Advisor blog. Thank me in the morning!


Exercise more

Alongside sleep, getting regular exercise is probably the best thing you can do to reduce anxiety levels naturally.

When we worry the body releases cortisol, this triggers a fight or flight response that was very useful in our caveman days. In today’s desk-based world fighting or fleeing are no longer usually an option, as a consequence raised cortisol levels remain in our system and cause a myriad of health problems, such as stress and anxiety – amongst many others.

When you go for a jog, shoot some hoops, dance the tango or simply run around the park with the kids, you are mimicking the fight or flight response and your body is able to burn off cortisol. That’s why you feel so relaxed after getting outside and getting a bit sweaty.

There you have it, five ways to reduce anxiety without a prescription in sight. Give them and whirl and here’s to many calmer and stress free days on the horizon.




Author:

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Are Draining Clients Holding You Back?



You know those clients that seem to suck your energy and leave you feeling drained after working with or dealing with them in any way? It may be difficult to pin down why exactly they drain your energy, or what to do about it.


I’ve found a couple of interesting articles that tackle this topic. While these aren’t specific to the massage and bodywork industry, it’s easy to see how they apply.



Nailing down your ideal client

Marie Forleo suggests preventing draining clients by knowing who your ideal client is.
Make a top ten list of attributes your ideal client would have, and use this as a filter before you take on new clients.






Consider this list when you start any new marketing - is the advertising you’re doing going to get you more of these kinds of clients?

Here’s what I would put on my top ten list:  
  1. They respect my time as much as theirs.
    Meaning: they show up on time and expect to end on time.
  2. They schedule their appointments out in advance and don’t expect last minute appointments.
  3. They’ve made massage therapy a consistent part of their self care regimen.
  4. They do not consistently cancel and reschedule.
  5. They can afford my services.
  6. They are not deal-seekers.
  7. They don’t expect me to “fix” them.
  8. They schedule online or in person at their appointment.
  9. If they cancel with less than 24 hours notice or no show, they happily pay the cancellation fee.
  10. They do not try and direct my work or the session.



What attributes do you want most in your ideal client? Think of your favorite clients who you love working with. What qualities stand out the most to you? Now think of those draining clients… What about them gets under your skin?


At first, it seemed hard to come up with ten, but after thinking about that a little bit the ball starting rolling and I felt like I could go on!


6 types of clients who aren't worth the money

Christine Kane cuts right to the chase with some tough love: “You get what you tolerate.”


If you allow a client’s bad behavior, it’s only going to continue. Maybe until you get to your breaking point, and then it may be too late to salvage the therapeutic relationship.


I once allowed a client’s chronic lateness without putting my foot down because I liked her as a person. By the time I did something about it, I was so irritated that I didn’t want to continue to work with her even if she corrected the behavior.


Christine lists 6 types of clients who aren’t worth the money:
  1. The one who needs convincing.
  2. The one who collapses. the one who constantly collapses is committed to a pattern of helplessness.  She begins to reveal that she has no interest in turning this pattern around. She is a damsel – and she wants you to be her knight in shining armor.   Fix me, I am helpless.” Wow, I know I’ve had a few of those clients!
  3. The one who doesn’t want what you offer.
  4. The one who argues your pricing.
  5. The one who forgets you have a life. Boundary pushers, oy. Remember:  You teach people how to treat you.  It’s not their responsibility. It’s yours.” ^ So much yes, Christine!
  6. The one who doesn’t do the work.


An ounce of prevention

Coaches Getting Clients starts right out with what should now be a familiar theme here: Work with ideal clients!
But some other gems this article offers are:
2) Be clear on your boundaries
3) Improve your awareness.
4) Show up energized & healthy
5) Change Your Business Model
(are packages draining because you know you’re not getting paid at the time of service or you’re thinking about the discount they’re receiving on your awesome service? Maybe it’s time to retire those packages if they aren’t bringing you joy at every step of the way.)


Let go of clients who drain you



Thrive Academy lists these 3:
  1. Overgiving. “Charging too little or giving too much of your time, almost always leads to feelings of being drained.”
  2. Not speaking your truth.  “Those things that you wish you could say to your client (but it might be rude or disrespectful, and after all, they're paying you lots of money...) Those are the things you need to say!!! Just begin your bold statement with a large dose of acknowledgment, compassion and gentleness. It's nearly impossible to boldly speak your truth and get drained at the same time.” I think this especially applies to enforcing our policies and establishing boundaries with draining clients. We’re sometimes afraid to speak our truth because this client is giving us money! We tolerate their bad behavior because we don’t want to lose their business… but how much time, energy, joy, and space for good clients will we free up by speaking our truth, even if it means losing this draining client?
  3. Getting attached to your clients getting results. “Your clients' results do NOT determine your goodness or worthiness. You can be amazing, even if your client didn't get results. And you can be terrible and still have clients get results.”


Wow, I can definitely see a lot of us LMT’s having a tendency to these three. (Myself included.)



Sometimes it can be hard to correct course after you’ve been tolerating these behaviors from clients, but it’ll be so worth it. (More posts to come with some suggestions on how to do just that.)

So, do you have some things in mind for your top ten ideal client qualities? Comment your list here or hop on over to the Bodywork Buddies Facebook Group and join the discussion! *Not in our group yet? You can join after you’ve registered for the free trial within Bodywork Buddy. Paying subscription not required, just as long as you’ve registered for the trial.*



Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Biggest Vacation Mistake You Don't Want to Make



Last week, I listened to a podcast about the importance of entrepreneurs taking vacation. (Which was pretty aptly timed since I was planning a quick camping trip for the weekend.)

It's hard to take time away from your business to take a vacation when you're a small business owner or especially a one-person show. My sister always used to say I was so lucky because I could take a vacation whenever I wanted being a self-employed massage therapist. Yes, so lucky! I could take time off, unpaid, and not only that - but my landlord would still let me pay my rent while my massage studio sat there unused! 😂


Michelle Doetsch, LMT and owner of New Yew Healing in Grand Rapids, Michigan says "It's super important to take time off from your business from time to time, even if it's just a day, or even a couple of hours. When I do that consciously and conscientiously I often have insights into my business or myself that I wouldn't have if I were busy seeing clients and doing all of the administrative and operational stuff I have to do as a business owner. Those insights almost always correlate into streamlined processes, new ways to do things, or some other thing that improves some part of my personal or work life. We have to remember that personal insights and/or growth are as important as figuring out how to streamline you intake process. They affect our massage businesses as much as they affect our private life outside the office."

The Fizzle podcast breaks down time off into a few different types of vacations:


  • the staycation or “digital detox”
  • the shorter "do no work" vacation
  • the longer "do some work" vacation
  • sabbatical
  • living abroad
  • paternity/maternity/family leave
It helps to think about planning short trips or staycations if you can't quite take a long trip far away at this time. What it boils down to is that it's SO IMPORTANT for your mental health to take a break from your business.





While these graphs are from an article that is specifically talking about employees taking time off from a company they work for, I still think they are relevant to independent massage therapists who work for themselves.



Kristy Poux, a licensed massage therapist who owns The Silk Mill Retreat in Fredericksburg, Virginia says: "For me personally, I feel like you can't pour from an empty glass. Taking time for myself isn't selfish, it's self care. I can't take care of everyone else if I'm not taking care of myself first and foremost."




I like to go camping because 1) It's quality time with my family. 2) It's the only way to truly unplug. (I still have my phone and iPad so I'm able to check in and make sure things are running smoothly. But if I go somewhere with full electricity and a place to setup my laptop, I'll end up working more than not.) Camping prevents me from doing this. Just sitting around the campfire listening to coyotes and wondering if there are bears that are going to kill me in my sleep ... I need this. It's also really hard for me to not make a little camping trip happen when it's so frugal - doesn't involve a flight or hotel costs, etc.  

Of course, don't get me wrong.... I'd love a long vacation at a spa or an exotic trip to another country. I just know that I can always swing a camping trip even when I think I don't have time or finances to get away.


"Vacation makes you feel refreshed and energized. Simply changing up your everyday routine and getting several nights of truly restful sleep can give you a new sense of vigor to look at your challenges with a fresh perspective and return to the office ready to make big strides toward your goals." AllBusiness.com


So it's time to ask yourself:
How often do you take time off throughout the year? What kinds of ways do you feel re-inspired about your work after a vacation?
Because the biggest vacation mistake you don't want to make it to not take one.

You work hard taking care of your clients. The Bodywork Buddy massage software dashboard shows you just how hard you work!






Take care of yourself and schedule some time off this Summer. You deserve it!






Cindy Iwlew is a licensed massage therapist who has had a private practice since 1999 and cofounder of Bodywork Buddy massage software.
www.bodyworkbuddy.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Better You, Better Massages- Good Self-Care Practices for Massage Therapists {Guest Post by M. Simpson, LMT}



Better You, Better Massages- Good Self-Care Practices for Massage Therapists
By M. Simpson, LMT



I didn’t understand it at the time, but I started massage training right when my undiagnosed, chronic inflammatory disorder was worsening. Learning self-care was a trial by fire. Poor mechanics that my instructors warned would hurt after a few years would be hurting me within hours. I was a human crystal ball, reflecting the eventual reality of what repetitive strain would do to a body. This guide will help you build a self-care plan to avoid that fate, instead staying relaxed, strong and pain-free for yourself and your clients through years of practice.

Self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s a necessity. As human tools, our bodies are the single most valuable asset to our practices. We need as much or more care than we give our clients. Even in the short-term, aching hands and a scattered mind will deprive your clients of the deep, attentive massages they need for
quality care. Whether you’re fresh out of school or experienced and already aching, it’s never too late to do right by your body.




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Self-care isn’t an indulgence. It’s a necessity. 







What Counts As Poor Self-Care
To start fixing your routine, you first have to know what's broken. Poor self-care is anything that needlessly strains or neglects your physical or mental wellbeing. Make a list of any aspect of your routine that you think could use work. Scrutinize and be brutally honest. Most MTs I meet are loathe to admit their self-care pitfalls, but remember that imperfections are just opportunities to be greater than you are now.

A few common issues include:
  • Poor body mechanics
  • Brushing off acute and chronic pain
  • Never stretching or addressing your own stiff muscles
  • Neglecting supportive equipment
  • Dismissing overworking and stress

Building a Self-Care Routine
Go down your list of concerns and ask yourself why each issue exists, what you're going to do about it and what you can do to keep it from becoming a problem again. From little things like replacing your work shoes regularly to big goals like going on vacation, start developing a
regular routine.

If you’re motivated by specific goals, ask yourself what the goal of your self-care plan is. Make it simple and achievable. If it’s something you feel like you’ve achieved every time you complete your routine, you’re more likely to make a habit of it.

Key Elements of a Self-Care Routine
  • Correcting and Adapting Body Mechanics
  • Self-Care Exercises
  • Addressing Pain and Injury
  • Stress Management
  • Self-Assessment and Reminders

Correcting and Adapting Body Mechanics All massage therapists know the basics of solid body mechanics, though a
refresher course never hurts. The trick is to regularly assess your mechanics and see if you could be doing anything differently.

This is especially important if you’re noticing strain on certain areas of your body. If you suffer chronic pain in your thumbs, for instance, it might be time to explore more forearm and elbow techniques or invest in tools to help your hands. Think outside the box if you’re having trouble finding solutions. When chronic pain battered my hips, I started following strain reduction tips for pregnant MTs.




Self-Care Exercises Stretching, yoga, strengthening exercises, continuing education classes, self-massage, getting a massage… The list of self-care exercise options goes on. Trying different methods is a blast, so make it your goal to experiment.

Online resources like YouTube and Pinterest can be exceptionally useful as long as you're smart about checking the source. Just punch "massage self-care" into the search bar and go. Self-care tools can be invaluable as well. Tools like foam rollers help stretch and relax broad areas while focused tools like
massage balls are great for deep tissue work.



Addressing Pain and Injury Over the years, most MTs will end up with some sort of
tendinosis or repetitive strain injury. When you start feeling chronic pain in a specific area, do something about it now, not later. Fix your body mechanics, adapt your techniques, work in new tools and see a specialist you know you can trust. Repeated injury can lead lasting damage, and lasting damage can end careers.

Stress Management
Like it or not, mental stress is just as damaging as physical stress. It's
physically damaging in and of itself and can slow healing if you're already injured. Burnout is a very real threat as well, but it's avoidable if you admit that you're not invincible. Make an uncompromising commitment to put time for yourself in your schedule. It's not selfish. It's what you need to stay healthy.

Ask yourself if your work load is reasonable, both physically and mentally. MTs that feel swallowed by financial or business matters can find plenty of help from continuing education courses, local small business resources and online communities. Think about trying stress management techniques. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most well-researched and easy to learn, but just going for a walk in an area with trees every day has been shown to reduce stress.







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Like it or not, mental stress is just as damaging as physical stress. 




Self-Assessment and Reminders Unless you take the time to stop and assess how you’re doing on a regular basis, the effects of physical and mental stress can sneak up on you. As MTs, we’re experts at meticulously addressing our client’s stresses and pains, but many of us equally good at ignoring our own concerns.

Put breaks and self-assessments on your schedule. Put them in your calendar and appointment books if you have to. Use that time to breathe, focus on your body to see how you're doing physically and see if you're feeling overwhelmed. Use tools to help keep you on-track in other areas. Download apps to track how much water you’re drinking or that monitor your sleep at night. Set a reminder to check your shoes to see if they need to be replaced. All of these little details will add up to a healthier, happier and more productive you.