Steve Maraboli, motivational speaker and author of Unapologetically You, once said, “The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.”
So, one big question to ponder is whether or not you’re looking after that relationship in a way that is helping you be your personal best. This this is where self-care comes into play.
According to the National Institute of Health, self-care is defined, in part, as “positive steps taken by individuals to either prevent disease or promote general health status through health promotion or lifestyle modification.”
Therefore, self-care is basically any action you can take that helps you feel better mentally and physically.
Admittedly, it isn’t always easy to practice regular self-care, which is why many healthcare professionals have assembled a kit that enables them to always have certain items ready and available to practice their care-based habits. What types of items are in them?
1. Foam Rollers and Massage Balls
“Self-care is super important to me and a message I am trying to spread to women,” says Tiffany Humfeld, Certified Massage Therapist and founder of Peace Love & Wine, adding that, for her, includes keeping foam rollers and massage balls in her own personal kit.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) explains that foam rollers help reduce the risk of adhesions while also reducing muscle tightness and increasing range of motion. All of these can benefit a busy massage therapist who spends his or her day working in various physical positions.
If you exercise regularly, foam rollers can also help reduce the soreness you feel after a particularly grueling workout session. It does this by increasing the blood flow and elevating the heat in the sore area.
You’ll likely feel more relaxed after using foam rollers too, thanks to the myofascial release they provide.
2. Coloring Books
Humfeld shares that she also has coloring items in her kit as “play is a big part of mental health and self-care” and she wants to help others remember how to have fun. Art therapy has been used for ages to promote total health and wellness and research has confirmed its benefits in regard to such.
For instance, one study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management found that one-hour sessions helped cancer patients reduce eight out of nine symptoms measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale.
These nine symptoms are pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, appetite, wellbeing and shortness of breath.
Medical Daily adds that, not only is coloring calming, but researchers have also found that it actually has physical effects as well.
Two of the most notable are changes in heart rate and changes in brainwaves, both of which offer positive results for the person doing the coloring.
3. A Permission Slip for Time Off
Jared Gough, MT, of St. George, Utah-based Total Balance Health & Wellness and founder of Muscle Alignment Reprogramming Therapy (M.A.R.T.), says that “the practice that I’ve found to be essential to my self-care is to take a day off, completely, from bodywork. I don’t work on anyone and I don’t allow anyone to work on me.”
Though Gough does this once a week, if that is not amount is not doable for you, what about giving yourself permission to take one day off every other week or one day a month?
Even if it’s just an afternoon or morning here or there, stepping away from work and forgetting about it for a few hours is sometimes just what you need to feel better, both now and in the long run.
4. A Scheduled Massage Appointment
Gough adds that, though taking a week off is important to self-care, so too is receiving the one gift that he gives to his clients, and that is a massage. “I’ve found that, as an MT, getting a massage will put me back into that working mindset, right back into the workplace atmosphere,” says Gough, “and I am unable to get the restoration that I need.”
If you work with other massage therapists, one option is to regularly schedule time with each other so that each of you receives a rejuvenating massage every week or two.
And if you work solo, you could network with other massage therapists who also work on their own and set up a schedule where you can supply this courtesy to each other.
5. Bottles of Water
One of the simplest items you can have in your self-care kit is water, and Sonja Collins, Massage Therapist at Four Moons Spa in Encinitas, California, says “I carry a 30-ounce water bottle everywhere I go,” adding that she aims to drink two of these per day.
Harvard Medical School stresses that water offers a variety of benefits, one of which involves making it easier to control your weight – a factor that contributes to your total health and wellness.
In fact, research has found that water drinkers tend to consume less fat, sugar, salt, and cholesterol, reducing your total intake by as many as 205 calories simply by drinking one to three more cups of water daily.
If you get bored drinking plain old water, you can always spruce it up with fruit, vegetables or herbs to give it a little flavor.
Adding orange slices or chunks of watermelon will give it a sweeter taste whereas cucumber or mint create a refreshing drink that is more savory in nature.
6. A Green Drink
Another item that Collins has on hand to promote self-care is a green drink that she consumes after hot yoga.
Though there are many different recipes for green drinks, Collins’ is a mixture of mineral water, Matcha powder, chlorella and spirulina (both of which are types of algae) and MCT oil, which stands for medium chain triglycerides.
Depending on your taste buds, you can add most any healthy ingredients to a green drink and increase your nutritional intake.
Allrecipes provides a variety of green drink recipes from which to choose, enabling you to pick one that sounds the most appealing to you.
7. Inspirational Material
A final great item to have in your self-care kit is something that inspires you. Maybe it’s a book about someone you aspire to be like, or perhaps it’s a podcast that always makes you feel like you want to become happier, healthier or more satisfied than you are today.
Material like this has a way of helping you push through hard times because it reminds you of what is important to you or what you’re working towards.
It also helps you realize that you aren’t alone if you’re struggling as many other people are fighting similar battles.
Putting these seven items in your self-care kit can help you look after yourself better, even on days that are super busy or extremely stressful. In both instances, you’ll be glad you have them.
About the Author
Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer dedicated to providing readers relevant, research-backed content related to health and wellness, personal development, safety, and small business ownership.
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