Love yourself enough to self-treat everyday.
As a physical therapist trained in the John F Barnes Myofascial Release Approach, I encourage my patients to self-treat everyday.
What do I mean by self-treat?
I mean taking the time out of everyday to take care of you. We’ve all heard “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. I get that you’re a busy mom and your co-workers are relying on you to get shit done day in and day out. You’re running your kids from here to there after school and there’s yet another dinner eaten in the car or while sitting on the bleachers during practice or games. You pack lunches and snacks and sign papers and manage to see that your kids get their homework done. You volunteer like you’re expected to.
I also get that you’re a busy dad. You bring home the bacon and you have the weight of caring for your family resting on your shoulders. You’re provider and nurturer and entertainer and your family means everything to you. You get up early and you stay up late, organizing and orchestrating and making sure the world doesn’t fall apart.
You’re managing to hold things together, but just barely.
Where do you come in?
What do you do for yourself day in and day out to take care of you?
Taking time to nourish yourself mind, body, and soul is important AND it’s your responsibility. There’s more to life than running around, working to pay bills and plowing through routines just to collapse in bed at night. You’re meant to enjoy your life, to feel loved, and to share your unique gifts and talents with others.
Here are some ways to take care of yourself.
These self-care tips will open you to feel fulfilled and connect with your inner wisdom. That’s where your superpower is. It’s not found in overthinking and overdoing and the busyness of life.
Take a bath.
- Use plain Epsom salts and add a few drops of therapeutic grade essential oils to soothe your muscles and invigorate your senses. Epsom salts contain magnesium which relaxes muscles and the warm water can comfort your system. Young Living essential oil blends like PanAway or Deep Relief soothes muscles and joints, and Stress Away can create a relaxing atmosphere. Add 2-3 drops of essential oil directly to 1 cup of Epsom salts and then sprinkle ½-1 cup into your bath water.
Use a small inflatable ball to release tight or sore areas of your body.
- Allow your body to drape over the ball and penetrate deep into the area so you can bring your feeling intelligence in and discover what lies within. Wait five minutes or longer for a release to occur; this leads to more permanent changes because you’re allowing the ground substance of the soft tissue to soften and re-hydrate.
Put on some soft music and unwind.
- Myofascial Unwinding is a self-correcting way of healing that involves allowing your body to move guided by the subconscious mind versus your thinking mind. It takes letting go of control to allow your mind to move your body. It’s powerful and can help you feel connected, relaxed, and pain-free.
- Gain access to a short video I put together to teach you how to perform self-myofascial unwinding here.
Schedule a date with yourself.
- Do nothing. Lie on the couch. Sit on your deck and listen to the birds. Take a walk and feel into each step. I’m sure you can think of lots of ways to just enjoy some “me-time”. Allow yourself to be unhurried and open all of your senses.
Power your body with real food.
- Take stock of what you consume on a daily basis. Are you eating processed foods? Fresh fruit and vegetables? Lots of sugar? Alcohol on the reg? Notice how your body reacts to the foods you feed it. If you have stomach aches, issues with elimination (constipation or runny stools), joint swelling or whole-body aches, consider the possibility that you’re sensitive to the foods you use to fuel your body. Maybe you’re sensitive to gluten or dairy or sugar. Consult with a dietitian who can help you find a healthier diet and test you for food sensitivities or allergies.
- Learn more about using food as medicine from Charlene Wang, MSRD, HTP, by clicking the link below.
Get in touch with your feelings.
- Our emotions drive us but many people are so out of touch with what they’re feeling that they’re operating on autopilot day in and day out. Face your fears. Feel the hurts. Discover what lies within. Forgive yourself and forgive others. A great way to get in touch with your feelings is to do some journaling, get some body work, or talk to a mental health provider.
- Check out my interview with Jamie Anderson on YouTube by clicking the picture below.
- Exercise releases endorphins which are the natural, feel-good chemicals our body makes. And guess what: you don’t have to run a marathon to boost your endorphins! Dance, do yoga, take a hike, do myofascial stretches, swim laps, practice Tai Chi, lift weights. The possibilities are endless. Pick something you enjoy and that won’t leave you feeling drained or in pain. Ideally, exercise should be something you look forward to and invigorates your mind, body, and spirit. Exercise can also be a stress-reliever. Think power-lifting, martial arts and kick-boxing for working through stress or frustrations.
- Breath work, especially with the focus on diaphragmatic breathing, can calm the central nervous system and leave you feeling refreshed and calm. Try using therapeutic grade essential oils that support the respiratory systems, like Young Living’s Raven blend applied over your chest with a carrier oil, or a few drops in a diffuser, such as Eucalyptus + Peppermint. Lavender is a wonderful choice for nervous system support. When the nervous system is revved up it can leave you feeling exhausted and drained.
I’m sure you can brainstorm a lot of other great ideas. The point is that self-care doesn’t mean self-indulgence and it’s not something you should feel guilty for doing. If you find yourself resisting the idea of self-treating or self-care, investigate why.
Do you have a belief about parenthood and taking time out for yourself that stops you in your tracks? If it’s a time factor, could you look at other areas of your life and give something else up? Is it a self-worth issue? Do you gain something by feeling like the martyr or a victim in life? Sink into your resistance and find out what the underlying belief is that stops you from giving yourself the time and space you need to care for yourself, then decide if you’re ready to add self-care to your “To-Do List”.
If you need one-on-one help to get in touch with your wise, intuitive side so you can live your best life OR if you’re suffering from pain that you haven’t found the solution for yet, visit my website to request a discovery session or schedule a phone consultation. I love helping people feel better so they can live the happy, active lives they crave.