Y U STRESS???

I’m gonna throw out a definition of relaxation. To relax is to manage our stressors, and to manage our reactions to stress. Stress is a positive thing when our relaxation skill set is up to scratch! When I’m stressed about my fat ass, that stressor can make me either go out for a good run or make me pity myself with Taco Bell. It really depends on the day, but for the most part the gym wins out :). At least I know what I’m stressing about!

Some people suck at relaxing, while others are excellent at it, which implies that there is either a learning curve, or that some have natural talent for managing their stress. Probably both. As my man Gary Vaynerchuk is fond of saying, the variable is Self-Awareness (please check out Chapter 17 of his audiobook here for free, it offers really wonderful and practical insight on Self-Awareness).

To start managing stress first we need to 1) acknowledging our stressors, and  2) be honest with how we react to stress.

1) Acknowledging our stressors

That is who, what, when, where, and why we stress. Everyday things like shitty traffic, lack of sleep, all the way to the Deep Down stuff like illness in the family or lack of money. Those things that make us stress are many and their intensity varies, but each one needs to be called out, listed, and admitted to. 

2) Admitting our stress reactions

If number 1) was the “5 Ws”then number 2) is the How. How does stress change us in a negative sense? Left unmanaged stress is known to make us hot-tempered, make us push loved ones away, add wrinkles, make our hair fall out, or worry so much that we don’t enjoy things here and now. We all need to do the work of Self-Awareness so that stress remains something useful, and not something to cringe at or hide from.

3.17.2016

   

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 🙂 After a long day of reception work I took the time to stroll through Balboa Park. My original plan was to finish up my shift and go for a run, but this new 9-5 schedule is new to me and soon as 5 PM hit and I went into my treatment room to tidy up and knocked out! I estimate about 20 minutes went by. That micro nap left me somewhat groggy so I decided a walk would be better than a run. Part of me felt as though I should get my scheduled workout in, but stepping out on the trail I suddenly felt like a kid again. Back in the day going to the park was about fun, and when I go now I am there to workout, so as good as a run feels I realized I had been neglecting the joy of just playing and taking in the scenery.
 

I’ll be sure to slow down more often, so as not to lose this feeling :).

3.16.2016

Sometimes clients will answer their phones mid-massage, and while I prefer phones be off, I know that sometimes you can’t make yourself unavailable. The other day a client answered her phone after choosing to ignore the call once. She figures it must be from home, picks up the call and says, “What’s going on, I’m with Eddie right now.” 

What she did not say was, “I’m getting a massage right now” because they both know what being “with Eddie” means. I am grateful when a client makes me part of their week, and honored when they put their family & friends in my care.

3.14.2016

Happy Pi Day :).

I’ve just received the best massage I’ve had, and it was equal parts invigorating and soothing. Johnny Ray at Cariño Massage in West Hollywood has been in this business about 26 years, and it shows from the time you book through the rest of the day after your session. 

Right off Melrose is a small cluster of seemingly unremarkable offices. At the end of this hallway at 3850 Melrose is Suite 9, a world away from rush hour traffic, a welcoming space through which my lady Lina and I were greeted by the man himself. We were able to secure a couple of spots on our day off, and let me tell you, the care we each received in that hour set the tone for a delightful day of rest.

My main take away as a practitioner is remembering to guide my own clients through the process. Johnny Ray was meticulous in his pre-massage directions; he invited me to separate myself from my life outside the treatment room, to focus only on my breathing, undress to my comfort level, though less is best, said after he stepped out I could disrobe, he would hear me get on the table under the sheet, and about 60 seconds later would enter the room and begin. That sort of precise, well-rehearsed set of directions was enough to make me feel at ease, that this man has done this many times before and that I would be in fine hands.   

That’s me a few minutes after my massage. If you’re near the Grove and looking for a comforting, compassionate massage experience, please check out carinomassage.com for more info. 

3.7.2016

I’m putting my thumbs to good use outside the treatment room a few days a week managing the front desk at Yates & Co., and loving it!  
I have a couple of days off each week and had been looking for a part time gig to fill those times when Jim asked me to help keep our place in order. Thought about it maybe ten seconds before taking the gig. What a wonderful way to make extra cash, sharpen my management skills, and create more exposure for my massage practice! 

So I’ve completed my first week of 9-5 reception duties (minus a few hours of massage) and there are tons of little details I’ll be mastering these next few months. But the big picture of this work is clear: I’m here to keep everyone looking and feeling good. I set the mood for the day with chill tunes and the smell of coffee, and do whatever is needed to let my staff focus on keeping their clients happy. And if that means offering a little hand massage with your tea, everyone’s a winner 😉

2.29.2016

It’s been five weeks since my last post, and it honestly feels quite a lot longer than that. One of my pecadillos is a tendency to beat myself up over things I hold myself to, but that no one else minds one bit. You should see me in the morning getting ready for work. Lina and I drive together more often than not. If it were up to me I would arrive at the salon at least thirty minutes before our first service, but my lady is cool as can be so long as we arrive a few minutes ahead of time. So I tell myself we should hit our commute at 9AM, and by the time 9:03 rolls around and we’re almost ready to leave, I’m fighting this internal struggle to chill out. Lina knows perfectly well we will get there with enough time to do everything we need to, and in fact so do I. But as soon as I put that 9AM deadline on myself I am doomed to remind my stubborn head that we will be there on time, and that even if traffic happens and we are five minutes late to start our services, our clients will be totally fine!

 Point is, no one expects me to post daily here except me. Consistency is key to building an audience, but losing my chill over it is kills my consistency.  

1.22.2016

Following up on yesterday’s spiel, applying massage techniques is the practical part of this job, but we have to do a lot of work off the table. Providing massage is to provide a feeling of trust and safety. We can leave no room for our work to be misinterpreted – our work involves touching clients’ bodies, and the difference between a professional touch and unprofessional touch comes down our intent. 

I think every therapist needs to audit themselves at some point and ask, “Is there anything about the way I present myself that could make people doubt I am anything but a talented, caring professional?”. That answer needs to be a firm No, or else we risk losing trust and credibility. 

1.21.2016

I believe Massage is something a client and therapist do together. One can apply techniques, but unless the other person is ready to receive that sweet relief, techniques mean nothing. Relaxing is work – the work of turning off our muscles, the act of trusting this professional to take care of us, and the work of figuring out and asking for what we want.