The first step to successful self-care should be to develop awareness of how you feel. Pause for a minute right now to close your eyes and take three long, slow, deep breaths and concentrate on how your body is feeling.
It's important to become aware of how your body currently feels so you can begin to identify if there are things that don't feel good. Your movement habits, sitting habits, sleeping habits, eating and drinking habits and a barrage of emotional stresses can begin to wear away at your body each day and night without you realizing it.
When you experience pain, discomfort or fatigue at any given moment; how are you moving, how are you sitting or standing, is your body not being kept in good postural alignment, have you eaten or drank anything recently, were you awake at all through the night?
By identifying and sensing the difference between a supportive or non-supportive behavior you'll start to change how you go through each day and you'll hopefully begin to feel better. Halting your unwanted behaviors will happen with greater ease as your new behaviors become your everyday habits.
While attending school for massage therapy I was receiving massage from my classmates on a very regular schedule. Through the work they were doing on my body I was able to discover that I always keep my muscles very tense in my shoulders, neck and upper back (which I knew already just by how achy those areas often were) but I also found that many muscles in my legs were very sensitive to pressure and full of tensed-up tissues. Most surprising to me was how it felt to get my feet massaged. SO GOOD!!
Massage helped me to become very aware of those muscles in my legs so I was able to notice when those muscles were being used throughout my days.
Turns out I sit funny :) Left leg turned away from my body and shoved behind and under my chair so that it rests on the pad of the big toe with the big toe cranked backwards. All the while I'm slouched toward my computer screen with my shoulders bunched around my head up to my ears and my head extended forward on my neck. This creates very poor posture!! I still find myself in that position at times (but I notice now!) and I've come to realize I favor that position when I'm tired.
Massage is a very effective and enjoyable option for self-care that supports your body in many of its normal functions, and adding-in regular massage as part of your self-care can often help you discover where some of your physical discomfort stems from. You'll quickly learn that developing body awareness leads to an opportunity for a choice in how you feel by changing your habits.
If you'd like to learn more about your body and current level of self-awareness follow this link to a short quiz; https://aaroncubbagetherapeuticmassage.wufoo.com/forms/z1ixrmtq0ermjy3/
Consider regular massage as part of your own self-care and as a way to become more familiar with your own body.
Thank you for reading and feel free to post comments.
Aaron Cubbage; Licensed Massage Therapist