{Guest Column} Health & Wellness: What’s all this business about self-care?

By Margaret R. Granzella, LMT
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | You hear about it everywhere, from your friends and family, your massage therapist and your doctor. However we rarely are consistent with our designated self-care. Two of the main questions I ask clients when they come for a massage are, “when was the last time you had a massage?” and “what do you do for self-care?” I hear all reasons for not doing things, even when we know we should. Most people are aware they need to take better care of themselves.
Why don’t we find value in taking care of ourselves? I found myself asking this question after an unexpected ER visit. I offer self-care suggestions to my clients when they come in for massage, normally after seeing what they’ve got going on in their bodies after we have had a few sessions together. It’s my business to nurture and help people and I love what I do. Regardless I am still human and as guilty as anyone else of not taking the proper time for myself. It was a busy summer and I do my best to keep of with my responsibilities. That’s what it’s all about being a functioning adult, right? So why do we wait until we find ourselves in a healing crisis to make changes?
This seems to be a societal norm at this point. It is supposed to be okay for us to go to work regardless of whether we are sick, stressed or not feeling well. The term “suck it up” is the common mentality. And if you do ask for a day off you are expected to recover and be back at 100 percent of your obligations. We push to get things done, and normally can keep it up for some time before we find ourselves burnt out. This is not a sustainable practice. Whether you realize it or not stress is a hormone, known as cortisol, that affects the way our bodies and our immune system work. A suppressed immune system cause by stress with eventually falter and if this continues on a constant basis can eventually lead to chronic illness. The daily grind is different for everyone, but if you are working, have a family and trying to survive in the current economical and political climate you are part of a growing group of Americans who are stressed out all the time. Stress is the leading cause of most illness these days, so why is there so much scrutiny towards taking care of oneself? Again, why don’t we find the value in taking care of ourselves? We could save ourselves money, time and health if we would just SLOW DOWN enough to value our own health.
My goal here is, rather than try to fight the status quo, is to have you write down at least one thing are you doing on a daily basis that is just for you, in concerns to your health. Examples include: eat a wholesome breakfast, go for a run, drop in to a yoga class, take a walk up Third Street, go to the gym with a friend. Be specific such as, “I’m going to have organic oatmeal with fresh apple pieces, cinnamon with some walnuts and a dollop of plain yogurt with a cup of tea for breakfast. Then I’m going to go to the gym, run/walk a mile and do this beginners’ workout routine I found on YouTube with my friend Jenny.” This is a plan. This is what we need to do for ourselves everyday!

Margaret R. Granzella is a Licensed Massage Therapist and the owner of Vital Awareness, LLC in Meeker.