Massage therapists—mostly solo entrepreneurs—have to manage time and money to achieve a work-rest balance and high quality of life.
According to six studies conducted in North America, a report on which was released Jan. 6, prioritizing time over money is associated with greater happiness. The findings were published online in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
MASSAGE Magazine spoke with seven experts in the areas of lifestyle, health, community service and time management, to create a roadmap to self-care for massage therapists navigating the sometimes-overlapping paths of money and time.
While no expert we spoke with advocated ceasing to strive as a professional, each one offers a unique take on how to maximize time for greater pleasure and purpose. Here’s what they said:
Reflect on Pleasurable Time
“By both planning for pleasure in our daily and weekly schedule, we create an anticipation for something we look forward to. We give ourselves permission to allow these experiences in, thereby releasing any judgment surrounding it as we have planned for the occurrence. As we get more in sync with this pleasure creation, the mental muscle we build around it gets stronger, and along the way we even find ourselves allowing for spontaneous eruptions of fun.
“I often recommend to clients to take a short five minutes in the morning before starting their day to just sit and breathe, and to spend another five minutes in the evening before ending their day to breathe again, perhaps writing down five things that occurred during their day that brought them pleasure. This is a very simple way to begin planning for more enjoyment in our lives.”
—Faye Nulman, Coach and Practitioner of Reiki, Aromatherapy and Emotional Freedom Technique
Health May Bring More Time
“Decide health is a priceless commodity—because preserving your health is the only way to gain maximum time. The span you are given may be cut off by the fates, but you also make your own luck—and through exercise, hard work and common sense, you may be able to massively effect positive change.
“Exercise is the only way clinically shown to reverse aging. Spending your time training your mind, body and spirit, through a journey into your own personal growth, is the way to gain more time. Everyone has a flow in life. By relaxing, one is able to flow through life with less resistance, attachment and pain.”
—Sifu Richard Baron, Owner and Chief Instructor of Kung Fu Power Temple of Kung Fu
Schedule Yourself In
“The best way to maximize personal time is to schedule it—just like a dentist appointment or a business meeting. Making yourself a priority in your own life creates the time and bandwidth to connect to your inner child, to explore opportunities and to decompress from the stresses of life.
“We live in an ‘always-on’ society, so it is more important then ever before to have the ability to turn ourselves off. We recharge our cell phones and devices, and we need to be able to recharge our own batteries by doing mindful and mindless things that we love. Making ourselves a habit in our daily to-do list is the only way to ensure we are getting back the time we need to be the best we can be.
“When we balance our time with things we love, we practice self-love. It is from this happy place that we are most connected to the opportunities in our lives and the most disconnected from the obstacles. Creating personal time prioritizes us, which in turn allows us to be at our best in all other aspects of our lives.”
—Randi Levin, C.P.C., Coach
One Thing at a Time
“One of the best ways to maximize time is to stop pretending that multitasking is real. You think you are doing two things at once by watching the football game while getting some work done. In reality, you diminish the pleasure of watching the game and the work you’re doing is substandard.
“Better to concentrate on work while working and then watch the game. When you go on vacation, go on vacation. Turn off the work phone calls and emails. You will come back far more refreshed than if you feel like you worked half of your vacation.
“Turning off work lowers the blood pressure and stress level. It has often been said that no one on their deathbed ever said, ‘Gee, I wish I had spent more time at the office.’”
—Walter Meyer, Business Consultant
Choose to Say “No”
“The biggest obstacle for people to overcome is [saying] ‘I have to.’ They say they don’t have time for fun because of all the things they have to do. But really, do you? Is anyone, literally, forcing you to do those things? We say ‘I have to’ so casually, we don’t notice its effect on us. Saying ‘I have to’ renders you powerless. You set yourself up as a victim of a self-created, nebulous, overpowering force that robs you of free will.
“Try changing ‘I have to’ to ‘I choose to,’ and see how each task feels. Is it something you actually want to choose? Next, apply the three B’s to your to-do list:
- Bag it. This is for the things you absolutely don’t want to and don’t choose to do. Choose to not do them. Then don’t do them.
• Barter it. Get someone else to do a task for you by trading or paying.
• Better it. Look at how you can make a task better. Schedule it for
first thing in the morning? Do it with a friend? Listen to your favorite
music? Be creative and consider any possibility that makes the task more
pleasant. As a bonus, give yourself a reward when you finish.
“As you drop the tasks that don’t need your attention and others can do for
you, you create more space in your life for the people, places and
activities that you enjoy. Bringing more pleasure into your life is the
shortest path to happiness.”
—Pam Bauer, Certified Life Coach
Take a Long-Term View
“The best way to make the most of your time is to live on purpose. Live your life filled with intension and vision. Take time to discover what is valuable to your health and ultimate happiness and go for those things. Do not take a short-term view of things.
“Using the rocking chair test, consider what will be valuable when you look back on your life from a rocking chair. I don’t believe I will look back fondly at hours of watching television or scrolling through Facebook. What I will look back on and remember fondly is time with my kids, effective service to my community and exploring the world. If I live each day thinking of those things, in addition to fulfilling my purpose, I will have made good use of my time.”
—Rich Schaus, CEO, Gospel Rescue Mission
Time at the Table
Just by choosing a career in healthy touch, massage therapists could be on the road to balanced self-care.
“An often-overlooked way to maximize time for pleasurable pursuits is simply to find a career that you find challenging and rewarding, rather than a job that sucks the life out of you,” said résumé consultant Joni Holderman, C.P.R.W., A.C.R.W. “Not only will you enjoy work more, but you’ll be less stressed so you can enjoy your free time more.”
About the Author
Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief. She wrote “Cultural Competence: Why Getting to the Heart of Biases Matters in Health Care” for MASSAGE Magazine’s February 2016 print issue, and “Prevent the Spread of Pathogens This Winter” for massagemag.com (Dec. 9, 2015.) She has also edited and written for Imagine Magazine, the Sacramento Bee newspaper and the LIVESTRONG Foundation.