As a massage therapist, you want to ensure that your clients receive the best care and achieve ultimate results from your services. Unfortunately, what we often see happening with our clients in the service industry is an overwhelming amount of service with an underwhelming amount of self-care and nourishment. The problem is, when the balance tilts too much in favor of service for the clients, your business will most likely suffer.
Think about this for a minute: You most likely got into this field because you are a giving person. However, you cannot give what you do not have. If your own energy stores are drained, that means you’ll have no energy for your clients. And if you suffer from burnout, you’ll start to resent your business and your clients—and they will start to feel it.
Cellular Energy Depends on Better Nutrition
Let’s talk about energy and break it down to its smallest part: cellular energy. Since our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, it stands to reason that the better these cells are working, the better we will feel overall.
When cells are at their healthiest, it is easier for nutrients to get into the cells and for waste to get out. Healthy, wholesome foods will bathe your cells with vital nutrients that enable them to work most efficiently. We believe that better cellular energy can lead to better mood, more stamina, an easier time shedding weight, a stronger immune system, improved digestion and more overall energy.
We strongly believe in the power of food and self-care as nourishment. We have seen time and time again how changes in diet and lifestyle have led to significant changes on multiple levels. That’s because when your body is well-nourished, not only will you have more energy and feel happier, but you will start vibrating on a higher energetic level. People will be drawn to you. You will be able to think of more creative ways to grow your business and you can help more people.
Take Positive Action
What can you do to stop the energy drain and get back to putting the oxygen mask on yourself first? We’ve put together seven of our favorite tips for nourishing your body and thus nourishing your business. Feeling overwhelmed? Start with just one tip, make that a habit, and move forward from there, keeping in mind that each step you take is not only good for you but for your business, as well.
1. Always get off to a good start each morning—no excuses.
We love to begin our day with warm water and lemon, which does wonders for the liver and gets digestive juices flowing for an extra energy boost.
When hunger strikes, choose a healthy breakfast that includes a source of protein, such as eggs, chia or hemp seeds, or a protein smoothie; and a source of healthy fat, such as nuts, seeds, avocado or coconut. A well-balanced breakfast provides lasting energy and balanced blood sugars through the morning so you don’t get cranky and feel drained. (Download our delicious Strawberry Coconut Chia Pudding recipe.)
2. Get in the habit of planning out meals and snacks so that you can have healthy food available at your fingertips.
Create a meal plan for the week—at least for dinner. When you plan ahead, you will have the right ingredients on hand so you can start preparing ahead of time (such as defrosting something) and you won’t stress over the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” question. Planning ahead also keeps you from relying on unhealthy takeout or fast food.
• Make a bowl of healthy trail mix—some nuts, seeds, unsweetened raisins or cherries—and portion them out for the week in little baggies so you can just grab them and bring them to the office with you.
• Pack your lunch for the following day as you are cleaning up from dinner (love those leftovers)!
• Keep some healthy snacks on hand, such as carrots and hummus, apples or celery with almond butter, or grass-fed yogurt, in the work refrigerator or a small cooler.
If you don’t already do so, make a new habit of drinking water between clients. Staying hydrated will keep your energy level up and also help flush your system of toxins.
Massage therapy requires physical exertion—and just like exercise, you want to replenish fluids so you don’t get dehydrated. Being dehydrated can not only cause fatigue, but also a false sense of hunger, which can lead to unhealthy snacking.
4. Wean yourself off sugar and processed foods.
Sugar has been linked to many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. In addition, sugar can depress your immune system, increase your chances of getting sick and lower your energy stores, which will affect your business and the quality of your work.
Where does sugar lurk? In addition to obvious forms, such as candy and cake, be wary of some of the less-obvious hiding places such as in “energy” bars or granola bars, low-calorie snack packs, chips, frozen foods and many yogurts—just to name a few. These foods have no value in your body; in fact, they can actually leave you in a sort of negative zone, meaning that although you have eaten, you have not provided your body with nutrients it needs.
These foods also contain toxins such as artificial flavors and colors, sweeteners and GMOs that build up in your body and can lead to fatigue, a slower metabolism, and again, a weakened immune system. Not only that, but sugar and processed foods wreak havoc on your digestion and often cause cravings.
5. Spice it up.
Guess what? Your kitchen can replace your medicine cabinet, because most spices have superior health and healing properties—so start including more spices in your daily menu.
For example, turmeric contains curcumin, which research has indicated has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies on ginger have found it to boost the immune system and support digestion.
Look for creative ways to bring more spices into your diet. (Download our Spicy Green Smoothie Bowl recipe.)
6. Cook with love.
If you approach cooking as a chore or just one extra thing to do that causes stress, it’s time to look at cooking through a different lens. When you cook with love, food tastes better and the people eating the food enjoy it more—whether consciously or unconsciously.
Just think about your state of being when working with a client. How effective is your treatment if you are distracted, tired or cranky? Touch clients with love and positive energy, and their cells will notice the difference. It’s the same with the food you prepare.
7. Laugh, often.
We recently went to a laughter seminar and were blown away by some of the amazing research on the benefits of laughter, including lower cortisol levels, higher vibrational frequency and less anger and overwhelm. It’s almost impossible to feel negative feelings when laughing.
Try it yourself. Think of something funny, watch a humorous movie, or join a laughter yoga group—and then notice how you feel.
A Vital Foundation
So, we want to ask you, what would having more energy and feeling great do for you and for your practice? We think you’ll notice increased concentration and creativity, more productivity, happier clients with better results, a growing practice and higher income.
Here’s the bottom line: Treat self-care as a vital foundation to your practice. We often see therapists feeling guilty for taking time for themselves. They believe they should always be working, learning new ways to support their clients, or promoting themselves to gain exposure.
These are all important actions, but not at the expense of your own health. It’s time to lose the guilt, stop the shoulds and make time to nourish yourself.
Jane Schwartz, R.D., and Stephanie Goodman, C.N.C., of The Nourishing Gurus, teach busy entrepreneurs how to boost energy and productivity through nutrition. They help their clients learn how to properly nourish themselves and make lasting changes through their three-pronged approach that includes mindset and lifestyle changes. They wrote “Are You Using Your Body Awareness Muscle?” for massagemag.com.