I walked into a house feeling stressed, late, rather annoyed with the child who had just argued with me over nonsense, the American Express bill I forgot to pay and how poorly my own body was treating me.
My lungs had been giving me trouble for weeks, making me wheeze like an elderly smoker every time I walked more than 30 feet. My normal rescue inhaler was not working, and neither were any of the natural, homeopathic or herbal concoctions I’d tried. The miniscule muscles in my legs were atrophying by the minute, and I was about to be put on steroids just so I could breathe.
Fear of the potential side effects like rapid weight gain, irritability, mood swings, insomnia and facial hair growth only added to my stress. But, since lack of oxygen had worse side effects, I was pretty trapped.
I’m fairly sure that when I walked in the door, my shoulders were somewhere near level with the bottoms of my ears. My jaw was definitely clenched, my nostrils were probably flared and my hands may possibly have been semi clenched into fists.
What happened in the next hour was like a shot of something good, with no negative side effects. No...it was more like an IV infusion.
Though I’ve had very few massages in my life, I’m fairly sure this woman had magic hands. Everything from the lavender and mint scented oils to the soft sheets to the low lights and music made me feel utterly and completely pampered~ like I must be special to deserve this~ it was something I had not felt that deeply in as long as I could remember.
Unfortunately, I’ve done very little in the way of self care at all in my life, generally using excuses about money or time, but in reality, I just never made that kind of thing a priority. I don’t know why~ maybe because it seemed selfish or snooty or maybe I just didn’t see the value.
When my kids were little and wanted to play “Mama Spa” they would coat my feet in mud and wash them and paint my toenails and give me little massages, but I never really went to a professional and paid for it. And even the kid version eventually dried up when they got bigger.
Now I wonder what the heck I was waiting for.
In fact, the only reason I had gone in for the massage that day was because I had been given a gift card for my birthday. It’s something I probably never would have done for myself, no matter how many “Put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help another passenger” self care messages I heard.
But, boy am I ever glad that I went.
The first thing I heard was a frazzled woman across the street yelling at a band of children in a way that normally would have sent my face back into lock jaw position again. But that afternoon, I only looked and sighed, sad for her and the kids. Instead of feeling angry and judgemental I felt something like empathy that she was in so far over her head that she could no longer control herself, and let’s face it. We’ve all been in over our heads at one time or another. That woman needed a massage.
The remainder of the day had several more instances that would have most likely stressed me out prior to the massage, as did the days that followed.The awesome thing was that my reactions stayed mellow~ no blood pressure spikes, no veins popping out of my forehead, no roaring like a beast at whoever offended me.
When the shizzle hit the fan, I was able to just kind of roll with it and find solutions without a precursor freak out.
It was quite a transformation, especially compared to the days prior when flames had been shooting out of my eyeballs on a semi regular basis.
So, now I know the joys of self care, and I’m singing her praises from the mountaintops. It’s not selfish, it’s smart. When I’m feeling good, I can do a better job at all the things I do, both for work and family. Being nice to myself makes it so I can much more effectively handle whatever life throws at me, and sometimes it throws some stuff.
If you’re at all wondering if you should treat yourself to something like a massage, may answer would be~ Heck Yes! You will be so stinking glad you did, and in turn so will everyone around you.
The benefits of a little sweetness for me seemed to last long enough to make well worth the money and time spent. That massage was seriously the kindest and most valuable thing I could have done for myself~ well, maybe a trip to Hawaii could’ve been kinder but it sure would have cost a lot more.
Luckily for me (and those around me) my birthday card included 3 massages so I have 2 more to go. The whole wonderful experience has me wondering what other self care rituals I can incorporate and how much more awesome things would be if I did them on a regular basis.
Do you have a favorite self care ritual? Please share in the comments below, and if you liked this post, please “like” Zesty Mom on Facebook!