When is the last time you really truly took time for yourself to relax? In today’s society, we live in a world of non-stop tasks, responsibilities and activities. But does it ever occur to us that if we don’t take time to slow down now and again, we may at some point be unable to live life to our full potential? I’m here to tell you that burnout is a very real syndrome, and it taught me some valuable lessons. Not least the fact that whole-body (holistic) health involves not just a balanced body, but also a balanced mind.
The New Year tends to be a popular time to give your body a reboot. As someone who has been through her own healing journey – as both a sick person and a healer – I can honestly say that what truly stuck in my mind is how much conventional medicine neglects our emotional and mental wellbeing. What strikes me with certain massage clients is that some of them seem to think of massage as a “guilty pleasure” where they need to “sneak away” to get one. Many of them live busy lives with their high-powered jobs and children who keep them on their toes, and so massage is not always their first priority. Indeed, we often put others before ourselves, whilst foolishly forgetting the analogy of “putting your own life vest on before you help your neighbor”. After all, if you burn yourself out, you won’t be able to help anyone, least of all yourself.
However, we tend to forget that if we take time to calm our mind, we are able to perform our daily jobs more effectively and with less stress. The fact is that thanks to today’s “go-go-go” mentality, many of us are stuck in “fight or flight mode”, where our body’s gear shift is permanently switched to high and our sympathetic nervous system is running in overdrive. What this means is that we are constantly on edge and ready to go, but the flipside is that our parasympathetic nervous system is insufficiently activated, and this is vital for us to enjoy proper rest and digestion. Long-term overstressing of the sympathetic nervous system can cause elevated cortisol levels, leading to weight gain and inflammation, among other things, and ultimately to conditions such as adrenal fatigue.
One strategy to solve this problem is to treat our bodies to sufficient rest and recuperation, and this is where massage comes in. As a Licensed Massage Therapist, I am dedicated to giving you an unforgettable bodywork experience. It’s also important to know that one of the side effects of massage is that it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, allowing your body to rest and digest, as described above. That’s also why oftentimes your tummy will rumble during a massage.
One thing that being sick taught me is that true health and wellness are about the right balance of components. However, I have found that conventional doctors fail to get this, and are all too keen to prescribe pharmaceutical after pharmaceutical. I can honestly say that the turning point for me was when I found my passion and my vocation, and I moved to a place that truly felt like home. Before then, things had improved, but they improved in leaps and bounds once this occurred. The best practitioners I saw were the holistic ones who helped me recognize this. And one concept that I find particularly pertinent is Dr. Lissa Rankin’s Whole Health Cairn, which you can read more about here – in a nutshell, it talks about how vital it is to have the right balance of components in your life in order to experience true wellness.
Whilst massage might not be a miracle cure, bear in mind that it may be an important part of your own “Whole Health Cairn”, so consider making it a part of your New Year’s resolution to better look after yourself and your body.
Sarah Downing is a Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Lime Green Lotus. Get in touch to learn more.