4 Ways To Heal Yourself From Career Burnout Using Thai Healing ArtsNov 08, 2018
After a long day of giving massage, I came home and crawled into bed with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and my beloved TV remote. Chocolate therapy, because if it’s got therapy in the name, it must be good for you right??? I was exhausted, no energy left. It’s not that the work itself was so difficult, it was the endless parade of people in pain, emotionally unwell, and just generally unhealthy that was taking it’s toll on me. Because I'd been in constant giving mode for months on end, I had nothing left to give, even to my own family!
This isn’t just my story, it’s probably yours too. At some point, you get physically, emotionally, and energetically drained from working as a healer. The good news is, it’s inevitable!
That means -
1. Nothing is wrong with you
2. You aren’t broken, or a jerk
3. You don’t have to quit being a massage therapist
It’s all part of choosing to be a caretaker of others. You can pick up the pieces and move forward with your recovery process.
And you NEED a recovery process!
The lack of a good self care practice is what had me on the brink of calling all my clients and telling them can’t work with them anymore. Of taking a regular job where I didn’t have to invest my heart and soul into my business and the people who walked through my doors seeking help/relaxation/pain relief/someone to give a shit about them.
So when I went to Thailand, by happenstance I was lucky enough that a trip to South East Asia was already planned, I recognized that how Thai massage practitioners managed their professional lives was WAY better than what I was doing.
How could so many elderly women practice massage all day and still have happiness, vitality, and genuine compassion coming out in every interaction?
That’s when a beautiful life lesson emerged -
Self care is a necessary part of being able to care for others.
Haven’t we heard this before in different words? You've got to love yourself before you can love anyone else. That’s one. But there’s a parade of different quotes, affirmations, and other Zen wisdom that all speak to this truth.
After learning Thai massage, self care principles became a prominent part of my daily life. What became obvious was the better I took care of myself, the happier, healthier and more successful I became. And being tired, stressed, and dissatisfied with my work went away.
If you want to increase your happiness and success in your massage practice you can easily incorporate Thai self care into your daily health regiment. Here’s what to do.
1. Meditation or Chanting
In Thai massage they practice a daily chanting that shows respect to their teachers and their lineage. But it also has the added benefit of allowing you to settle and focus your mind, something that meditation also achieves. I already have the science here to back me up, MRIs of brains that meditate regularly function at a higher level than brains that don’t. This means your in control and able to cope, handle stress, and make better choices in your life. That could mean the difference between having your ideal massage practice and not.
Adding a 10 minute meditation practice to your morning routine can make a huge difference. Try getting up just a few minutes earlier and start your day off right with meditation or right before bed, turn off the TV and devices just a couple of minutes earlier and add a meditation right before bed. Either way, you’ll see the benefits of this self care practice in your quality of life right away.
Thai people are experts at resting. I’ve seen Thai massage practitioners nap in between massages, take long lunch time snoozes, and leave work early if the want to catch up on rest. There is a lot to be learned and gained from getting enough sleep.
The average adult needs to be getting 7-9 hours of sleep every single day.
If not, then your ability to interact, make decisions, and handle stress can suffer. Long term this can take it’s toll. Take a look at how it’s affected Elon Musk, a man who prides himself on just a couple of hours of sleep a day, often at the desk he works at. He recently made a bad decision (in the form of a dishonest text) that cost him $20 million dollars!
To ensure I’m getting enough sleep, I set a bedtime timer that is right on my smartphone under the Clock App. It alerts me when it’s time to get ready for bed and wakes me up at the same time every morning. After a week or so, this routine will set in and feel very natural. Likely, you’ll also notice that you fall asleep faster and are able to sleep more deeply as a result.
3. Exercise + Self Massage
Exercise is a great way to improve your life and health, but why not do it the Thai way.
With a practice called, Luessi Dat Ton, Thai massage practitioners utilize yoga-like movements along with joint mobilization and self massage. This’s actually the self practice of Thai massage. It’s especially valuable for creating movement and flow in your own body which allows you to be a stronger Thai massage practitioner.
We don’t need to study Luessi Dat Ton to start benefiting from this, we can start simply with using Thai massage poses, joint mobilization, breath work, and compression techniques on ourselves. I do teach a brief introduction to Luessi Dat Ton in Thai Massage Training Level 2, if this's really something you’d like to learn and explore more you can find it there.
Ensuring that the fuel that goes into your body is going to support and help it heal and function well is super important. In Thailand, they use food and herbal medicine to support good health and wellness. If you’ve ever had Thai curry, you’ve probably noticed that it’s extremely pleasing to the palate. This isn’t by accident, the dish has incredible health balancing elements by incorporating all of the different medicinal tastes.
It’s easy, especially in the West, to succumb to eating lots of sugar and junk food. When we are busy, stressed, and simply don’t have the energy to make our meals - eating processed foods is often where we go. This can perpetuate the lack of energy and increase the bad food choices that we make.
When we are managing our diet, it’s important to know at the front end.
We will at some point make bad food choices, it’s pretty much inevitable. You’ll be on vacation, at a party, or have a particularly busy week at work. But sometime you’re going to eat something that you know isn’t healthy.
This’s ok, it’s natural, a part of life.
It’s what we do from there that really matters. After the vacation, bad week, or party - Do we spiral out of control and continue to eat unhealthy or do we get back to eating right.
Knowing what’s right to eat for our own constitution is not necessarily easy.
I teach a class on Thai Herbal Medicine & Herbal Massage that teaches the benefits of the medicinal tastes and how they help recover our health but of course there's a whole lot more that needs to go into planning our diet.
The best advice I have to give on this is - Plan It. Plan what you want to eat each and every day. That’ll help you to avoid making bad food choices and keep you focused on what you should be eating.
These 4 ways of taking care of yourself can make a huge impact on your health, wellness, mental & emotional state, your business, your interactions with other. In short, pretty much every corner of your life will improve with starting a good self care plan. So take a page from the Thai healing arts and the lives of wellness practitioners that've been exploring and learning about natural lifestyle medicine for centuries. Take good care of yourself so you’re better able to take care of those who put their wellness in your hands.
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