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In this Post: Getting sick as a massage therapist is a little more challenging than in other professions. It has happened to all of us, yet still sometimes we struggle with what to do.
So you are sick. Maybe it started out as a little tickle in the back of your throat. You thought you could power through it, but now you are in a bad way. You have to cancel clients, reschedule meetings, and double check your finances are all going to line up at the end of the month.
Guess what, the screeching halt being sick places on our schedules can often be avoided if we choose to simply take care of ourselves in the first place!
We can turn several weeks of drawn-out symptoms into a couple of days if we choose to take care of ourselves.
So What Does Taking Care Of Ourselves As Massage Therapists Mean?
This could mean not scheduling too many massages, making sure that you have adequate breaks where you can eat and drink healthy food. Other times this could mean limiting your social obligations! If you are feeling run down, don’t go to a concert with your friend the night before a big massage day! Find a balance. Just because your 5 am yoga class makes you feel great, doesn’t mean that you should always go. If you are starting to get sick, maybe what you need at 5 am is to be sleeping in! Or if you are a parent to a young child, it might mean asking your spouse to take over for one night so you can get a good solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep (boy doesn’t that sound nice)!
One of my favorite herbal remedies is Elderberry Tonic. When taken at the first sign of illness, elderberries help decrease the length and severity of common colds and the flu. This thick, red syrup has a pleasant taste and can be found at most health food stores.
Garlic is another natural remedy that has been proven to reduce the potential for sickness as well as reduce its duration once you do get sick. My favorite method for ingesting garlic is to grind it up with a little avocado and spirulina. Yum, yum, delicious and nutritious!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar can help break up mucous and boost your immune systems. This vinegar works as a probiotic in our body, and is a cheap, easy solution to our healthcare needs. Drink 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water with a table spoon of honey to help kick that cold in the butt!
It seems so obvious right, but we all struggle with it at times. Maybe you get sucked in the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy while trying to take it easy (I’ve been there! I’m a total sucker for the medical wonders that present themselves to Seattle’s finest.) Or maybe we are just trying to pack too much into one day! Sleep is our body’s biggest defense against illness. It is the time our body needs to repair mentally and physically from the onslaughts of the day! Do yourself a favor and make sure you are getting plenty! Naps count!
Uh huh, the lovely and luscious water made this list. Why? Because it is so vital to our body’s overall health! Our body needs water to survive and thrive, especially when we are feeling less than stellar! We should be drinking half our body weight in ounces, when we are feeling sick we should shoot to exceed this amount. For example, if you weight 150 pounds you should be drinking at least 75 ounces a day. Keep that water bottle handy, and start flushing the fluids through your system.
So now that we have an idea of some ways to tackle illness when it occurs let’s dive into some of the reasons we have such a hard time taking time off.
What Is It That Prevents Us From Taking Time Off As Massage Therapists?
We cannot really afford to take time off financially. This is such a hard position to be in! You feel like you are compromising so much of yourself, simply because you fear you won’t be able to make all of your monthly payments.
Trust me, I’ve felt this way before! The first thing to help alleviate this concern is to change your mindset around money and abundance. When we operate from a place of lack, or never quite enough, it is hard to get ahead! Whereas when we trust that we will be provided for, it is amazing how much more easily things begin to flow!
There are also often areas where we can cut costs if we choose to take a good hard look at our outgoing bills. I recently cut one of my advertising bills out because I have more work than I can handle, that’s a savings of $150/month.
Another thing to consider is trying to build up a reserve so that you don’t have to feel so strapped for cash when everyday “emergencies” occur. Because they aren’t really emergencies. There will always be times you get sick, or the dog gets sick, or the car breaks down, or the water heater goes. So instead of calling them emergencies, let’s call them what they are, everyday occurrences. If we start looking at them in this way, we can start preparing in a more realistic way!
This could mean setting aside $50 a week to start. If that is all you feel you can contribute, it is better than nothing! The main thing is to start setting aside these funds now! Don’t wait! Being prepared with a bit of savings will help you weather these occurrences without such desperation! Fear is never a good motivator.
Not Wanting To Let Our Clients Down
So maybe you have a crazy busy schedule, and some of your clients have waited weeks to get in and see you. You feel bad letting them down. You figure you can tough it out, and make it through their massage. But you know what lets them down more than rescheduling their appointment, getting them sick! DON’T GET YOUR CLIENTS SICK!
Not Wanting To Let Our Employer Down
You know that your employer is counting on you to perform the massages you have scheduled and that there is no one else to do them. Well, I’ll tell you from an employers perspective, it is a lot harder trying to figure out rescheduling clients the day of, because you have waited so long to take care of yourself and your body is refusing to cooperate. Your employer understands that illness occurs, they will respect you more for knowing your boundaries and taking care of yourself when need be. If you are having a hard time with this one check out Saying “No” As Massage Therapists.
Remember as massage therapists, when we are sick, not only does it affect us, it also affects those around us! If we choose to ignore our symptoms and work on clients, we are exposing them to illness! Illness that maybe they cannot afford to be exposed to! If we choose to work, we are exposing our co-workers to illness! Illness that maybe they cannot afford to be exposed to! Just perhaps (and there is a good chance) neither our clients nor our co-workers can afford this type of exposure.
For the love of Pete, if you are sick, please take time off! If you choose to take care of yourself at the first sign of sickness, chances are good you will be back in business before you know it. If you decide to wait, you may not be this lucky!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008