Self-care is not a luxury.
Yesterday, a client told me what they needed from the session we were about to begin. "I just need to let go. I try to control everything. I just need to let go of everything for a couple of hours, and feel okay with that."
Later, another client talked to me about how he looked forward to returning to jiu jitsu training once he rehabilitate from his recent surgery. Running drills, being in a choke hold, trying to figure out how to get out of it, or deciding whether you need to tap out, he said, gets you out of your head for a while, and makes the high stress of his job matter much less for a short time.
Last week, a personal trainer shared with me she has had only one massage in her life, and while it was a perfectly good session, she couldn't relax. All she could think about was the more worthwhile things she could be doing instead of getting a massage.
I know yet another person who feels that way - someone who becomes an odd mix of anxious-bored about halfway though an hour massage, dwelling on what else he could and should be doing, and his eagerness to get to that once the massage is over.
That guy would be, the guy writing this post, a massage therapist.
Being able to let go and unwind is hard. Even for bodywork and wellness practitioners who should know better than anyone the importance of it. Sometime recently I read something to the effect of, "If you think you don't have 10 minutes to meditate, you actually probably need 20 minutes."
Meditation, massage, exercise, whatever type of self-care helps you let go of the rest of the world for a while - when you feel like you simply don't have the time for it, that's probably when you need it most.
There are articles and blog posts ad nauseum giving tips and tricks and quotes about finding the time for yourself, and I won't assume here to add anything more of note to the echo chamber, other than a simple reminder that taking time for yourself to recharge, to unwind, to let go is important.
Self-care is not a luxury. Without regular self-care, no one does their best, and they eventually burn out. I would even argue that a lack of self-care is, in a way, an act of selfishness and maybe even a little narcissistic - how important do you think you or your work is that the world can't spare you for a half-hour to an hour every day, a few hours every week, while you tend to your own mental and physical state? By taking care of yourself, you set yourself up to give your best self to the important people in your life.
Keep this in mind as the new year begins, and remember if nothing else these two things: Self-care is not a luxury, and when you feel like you don't have the time for it, that's probably when you need it most.