Self-care. Self-renewal. They are vague concepts we push on our clients for their ‘take-home’ after a massage treatment. It all seems so achievable at the moment – but where to begin? Axe-throwing? A grown-up bouncy castle? As massage therapists, are we taking note of our own homework?
By Jules Torti
Are we implementing our grand ideas for meditation and Epsom soaks? A quick poll among colleagues usually reveals how infrequently we follow our own advice. When did you last have a massage? Sleep-in? Exercise four times a week? Eat mindfully?
It all starts with a ‘To Don’t’ list. As a Virgo, I’m notorious for making lists. It’s my default setting. To Don’t lists are even more satisfying, though, because they give you permission to say no and be the centre of attention. Don’t turn on your phone. Don’t get sucked into another mindless Netflix series. Don’t give up your long run to take that extra last-minute shift.
Once you start To-Don’t-ing, you’ll be amazed at the time you’ve created to explore, unwind and indulge. Meditation can take many forms and self-renewal doesn’t have to involve yoga or pea sprouts or green tea (unless you like that sort of thing).
Here are six ways to start self-nourishing:
Smooth transition. Kick-start your day with a Green Sparkle Smoothie. Joy McCarthy is the Founder of Joyous Health, a certified holistic nutritionist, best-selling author and TV personality. Her latest book, Joyous Detox, was designed as a plan and cookbook for detoxing naturally every day. Her recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and emphasize specific detox-friendly foods that are simply delicious and fully nourishing.
Sensory overload. Skip Netflix, get a Nature Fix. Florence Williams’ marvelous book, The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, is the emotional equivalent of Arnica. The lesson is easy to digest: “The more nature, the better you feel.” It may sound folksy, but, after a walk in the woods, I think you’ll agree with her. The sensory appeal of wet earth, cedar, bird song and a panting dog at your side is the perfect balm for all that ails you. We all suffer from “epidemic dislocation from the outdoors” to some degree, and it’s a fun one to combat.
Sensory deprivation. Maybe you want sensory deprivation instead. The Rest Nest Float Club in Yorkville (Toronto) promises the “incredible stress-melting sensation of nothing at all.” Float pods create a sanctuary like no other. Float in 10 inches of water containing over 800 pounds of dissolved magnesium salts. No light. No sound. Here, you can “eliminate sensory inputs” and disappear for 60 seriously tranquil minutes.
Start a stress-free book club. If accumulating CEUs is stressing you out – here’s a winning combo. Start a self-care-focussed book club with a few of your favourite massage therapists. Choose books like Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. It’s all about vulnerability and imperfection. “Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly.” Brene Brown is the best cheerleader and thought leader to have in your self-care tool-kit. It’s the perfect club starter book – followed by Eat, Pray, Love Made Me Do It: Life Journeys Inspired by the Bestselling Memoir (Riverhead). Elizabeth Gilbert’s cult book and Hollywood movie inspired a ripple audience: more than 50 women who were so influenced by her book that they made radical changes to their own lives. Maybe it will change yours too!
Spin out. Try something new and fabulous like Soul Cycle in Toronto (the first in Canada). The boutique spin studio is synonymous with an amazing playlist, a dimly-lit room and instructors who speak only in soulful, inspirational messages. Instructors go through a 10-week soul-intensive training in New York, so you’re in good hands. The last 10 minutes of class pops a wheelie when it kicks on the party lights and dance music in a gym-meet-dance-club mash-up. It’s $30 for a bike and shoe rental and the price tag includes full towel service, Saje facial products, hair ties, gum and water. Deal!
Stretch and surf. Grab a gang and book a soul-selfish week in Nicaragua. In Maderas Village you can check in to a Yoga and Surf Camp. The math is simple and attractive: jungle + beach + cool cabanas + good eats. “What began as a quest to create a place for friends and family to congregate has evolved into an idyllic boutique resort just off the beaten path in the Pacific coastal hills of Nicaragua. Maderas Village has created a “home for the modern traveler, for thinkers and doers and all of their interesting associates. In fully recognizing that it’s always the individuals that make an experience, we take great pride in our ability to attract and cultivate a community of characters, of movers and shakers, creative professionals, students, travelers, business savants, entrepreneurs, and everyone else in between.”
Green Sparkle Smoothie
Makes 1 or 2 smoothies
- 1/2 banana
- 1 apple, cut in half and cored
- 1 cup (250ml) loosely packed torn fresh kale
- 3/4 cup (175ml) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
- 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp (15ml) grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml) coconut water
- Filtered water, just enough for desired consistency
Place all ingredients except water in a blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds, until smooth, adding water as needed.
This article originally appeared in our Summer 2017 issue. (2017-06-30)
Jules torti, RMT, has been in practice since 1999 and a freelance writer since age six. In between massage engagements, she travels to Africa to be with chimpanzees and writes about her zany travels for Matador Network.