Taking a Break from Practicing Massage, How and What to Do and Why It Is Important

Massage therapists can undergo a lot of stress during throughout their career. One of the most stressful aspects of their job is to continuously remain standing. Of course they do get some rest, but for the greater part of their day, they are on their feet.

Moreover, a typical massage therapist can perform as many as 7 to 9 massages in a day. This may seem easy, but if each massage takes an hour, it could be stressful. Notice we say it “could” be stressful. It does not have to be.

Moreover, if the therapist performs such massages seven times a day, it means seven hours of continuous stress on his/her muscles, which can be exhausting. Imagine following this routine for five to six days a week.

Since massage therapists can have such a hectic lifestyle, it is important for them to take a break. This is because the physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion can take a heavy toll on their overall health and well being. When you are not healthy, you cannot make others healthy.

Even though massage therapists are conditioned to this type of work, they are all humans after all. Even though they may have the ability to bear so much stress, each individual has a certain breaking point. One should give the body enough rest before that breaking point is reached.

There are many ways of taking a break from massage, without actually going on a vacation. This may keep you relaxed, rejuvenated and you could continue have a great career as a therapist. The issue many practitioners run into is that they don’t follow this guidance and thus find themselves burn out.

Allow Yourself to Relax

One of the worst things you can do as a massage therapist is to get too involved with the job. It is great to love your profession and it should allow you to work to your full abilities.

However, you should also take care of your own needs first. Every day, you should make sure that you are resting yourself. There are many ways in which you can encourage your body to relax.

Most people assume that relaxing oneself can only be done by getting a massage themselves. But you will be surprised to know that simple activities can help you relax a great deal. Of course, you should get massages once in a while and refresh yourself. But, certain activities may relax you quite a bit on a daily basis.

One of the ways to do this is to prepare your food for the entire week or month. Keep it frozen in containers. Once you go home, make sure you do not do any added chores. Simply warm up the food, relax and have your dinner. You can catch up with your favorite shows on TV or pop in a movie while eating your dinner.

It is a great way of relaxing and unwinding from a busy day. Of course you can indulge in any other activity following work as well such as hot yoga or cycling. The point is, minimize mundane day to day obligatory tasks and batch process as much as you can (efficiency) to clear way for life enhancing activities that you truly enjoy which also refresh and rejuvenate you.

You can do anything but more work after work. It can be anything that you like to do that relaxes you. Make it a part of your daily routine for best results. Doing this consistently over time can make or break your career and overall satisfaction and happiness level in life.

Continue Altering Your Routine – Break the Rut

A mistake many people make is to keep their routines monotonous. Sure this can be a bit effective, but over time when not mixed up can become stressful for a massage therapist.

It can in fact bring upon far greater stress than normal. This is because if a routine is monotonous, you may not realize that the body is under stress. You might feel normal and healthy until your body gets to its breaking point. We call this zombie or robot motion.

This is when most massage therapists tend to fall sick, develop chronic pains, etc. However, this can easily be avoided. The trick here is simple; maintain varying routines. Even minor changes in your routine can make a huge difference. For instance, if you normally bring food from home to eat at work, consider ordering takeout or just walk outside to the nearest eatery for a change. We all need change every now and then, even if it is just a temporary or once in a while kind of thing.

On your way home from work, you can stop by at a friend’s place or take a quick trip to the mall. Or you can squeeze in a personal phone call or two. These minor changes in your routine could keep your body stress free. Moreover, you may get to know when your body is under too much stress. Taking a break and step away from the routine helps us see the bigger picture and put things into better perspective. This is sometimes when we come to learn and understand our bodies the most.

The key is to avoid any serious illness or condition by proactively mitigating its occurrence. If your massage therapy facility is open 7 days a week, you should consider swapping off days with other therapists every now and then. Taking a break on a different day than usual can also be very beneficial for various reasons.

Go Out With Friends, Unwind, Socialize and Let Loose

Having fun is the best cure for stress and anxiety; and this is profession agnostic! Of course, the best fun you can have is when you are out with friends. It may not be possible to go out with friends every day however.

That said, small get-togethers every weekend, or something similar can easily be planned. What you do with your friends is not important. What is important is simply being with friends and talking about different things which subconsciously can relieve immense stress, physically and emotionally.

If you normally do not enjoy just talking, you can plan fun activities as well. Whatever you do, avoid talking about work. Remember this is your time and escape away from work. You should try to never talk about your work or any of your friends’ work while you are spending time together. The get-together is your time to relax, not discuss work.

If you are asked how your career is progressing, keep the answer short and do not indulge in detailed explanations. Of course, you can also politely tell your friends that you do not want to discuss your work at that time. Your focus should be strictly on relaxing, unwinding, socializing and generally having fun.

Focus On Your Diet and Fitness

One of the most common reasons why massage therapists develop chronic aches is improper diet and fitness. They are so involved in their career that they do not focus on their own health.

The massage therapy profession is physically demanding and if you are not taking care of your body, you are more likely to suffer physical issues and pains. Think of taking care of your body as an investment towards your career.

The better care you take of your body, the better massages you will be able to give to your clients. If you find it difficult to take out time for exercising, you can resort to a few other methods of staying fit.

Choose to climb stairs instead of taking the elevator. This gives your body a great cardio workout. You can even join a gym near your place of work and work on a three-day fitness regimen. Three days for an hour each day is not much to invest in your body and health.

Maintaining your diet is not as difficult. Just make a list of healthy foods you should eat and spread them out throughout the day. If necessary, carry healthy foods with you so that you can maintain your diet.

There is an exponentially greater chance of you becoming successful in this profession in the long run if you allow yourself to break away from time to time – So make it a point to take some time off every once in a while.

If you are considering more of a longer term break away from practicing massage, whether it is temporary (short term) or permanent (long term), read our article on the various other career options massage therapists can segway into. These involve activities such as research, training, teaching/education and much more. Have a read at our comprehensive article here.

You can also read about some additional things you can do parallel to your massage career to spice things up, avoid boredom and as a result prolong your massage career.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

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