Self-Care for the Nurturer: 6 Rules to Adopt Now

By Lisa Sykes, Universal Companies

Spa professionals are nurturers by nature. Your soothing hands deliver therapeutic massages, delicately perform facials, and carefully apply nail lacquers, among other much-needed services. The world is a hectic place, and you know that taking time-outs is important for your clients. It benefits their physical and mental well-being, and it’s good for business.

But what about you?

Nurturers often neglect self-care. For some, reserving time-outs may be perceived as “indulgent” or even “selfish.” So out of guilt, we run ourselves ragged by over committing, continuously deducting from our small allotment of “me” time. And when there’s none left, instead of being “indulgent” or “selfish,” we’re tired, irritated, and overwhelmed.

We preach the wellness benefits of self-care, but we don’t always practice it. This thought came up last week when I complained of tightness in my neck and shoulders. An acquaintance suggested I get a massage. But before she could even finish her sentence, I sighed, “I don’t have time.” As soon as the words came out, I immediately realized that I say that phrase a lot. I also knew I wasn’t the only one.

As a regulatory manager, I work with “rules” on a daily basis. Most are made for safety reasons. Think about traffic laws or OSHA regulations, for example. Obeying the speed limit or wearing safety goggles can prevent serious injury. An overabundance of stress caused by lack of self-care is dangerous, too. Stress can cause headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, ulcers, and insomnia. So shouldn’t some rules apply here, as well?

I think so. Therefore, I’ve come up with some self-care rules, and I’m sharing them with you because if you’re reading this, you probably need them, too. Here goes:

1. Stop over committing yourself. Seriously. Stop it.

“Me” time is like a savings account for mental health. It’s ok to tap into it on occasion for special events, but don’t make a habit of it.

2. Treat yo' self.

Clothes. Fragrances. Mimosas. . . .whatever. If you haven’t seen the Treat Yo’ Self episode of Parks and Recreation, watch, laugh, and learn. Just don’t spend as much money as Donna and Tom or it could defeat the purpose.

3. Visit your massage therapist.

Neck and back tight? That tightness suggests you need a massage. Book it.

4. Feeling sick? Don't share.

Stay home from work and allow your body to rest. Your co-workers and clients will appreciate it.

5. Enjoy a hobby.

It's relaxing and meditative. I often joke that I paint so I don't hurt anyone.

6. Embrace a skin care routine.

Don’t rush through it. Enjoy the feel and scent of your favorite skin care products. Schedule routine facials for relaxation and skin health.

It really comes down to this: What’s good for your clients is good for you, too.  If you follow these rules, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how much better you feel, emotionally and physically.

Lisa Sykes is a copy director for Universal Companies. She leads a variety of regulatory and sustainability activities related to proprietary brand raw materials, finished products, labeling, marketing claims, and packaging to ensure compliance with cosmetic laws and regulations. She also develops and implements company sustainability measures and serves as a liaison between the company and counsel, third party certifiers, formulators, professional affiliations, and the local community.

Lisa is co-chair of the Green Spa Network personal care product committee and serves on its advisory council.   

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