Business & Motivation

Taking Care of Your Most Important Tool - YOU!

by Laura West | December 16 2019 | 4 min read
Most of us in this industry are givers by nature. We give of ourselves every day at work. When our clients walk out the door it shows - they feel energized from being with us and that’s a good thing! But, how do we fill ourselves back up? How are we implementing self-care? It’s important that we take care of ourselves, so we stay healthy and able to sustain our career over time.

I’m often asked how I have achieved longevity in the skin care industry for so many years. In our line of work, I believe it is vital that we practice what we preach! We take care of our clients, but we also must take care of ourselves. Otherwise, there is the possibility of burn out. I’d like to share with you some changes you can make that I believe can make a huge positive impact on your health and your career.

We rely on our bodies to do our jobs well. Our bodies are an amazing masterpiece of bones, muscles, organs and a nervous system all connected by connective tissue called fascia. It is an intricate web made of collagen, elastin and other fibers in a cellular fluid that surrounds each cell of our body. When “hydrated” and healthy, fascia allows for proper muscle contraction to occur and for clear communication between our mind and body. Our sensory nerves rely on healthy fascia to keep us balanced, flexible and able to respond to changes in our environment. When fascia is dehydrated, as we often see in older people, it leads to stiffness, shuffling when walking and a slower reaction time. Just like well hydrated skin, well-hydrated fascia is smooth, supple and flexible. When it is dehydrated, fascia is tight, stiff and forms clumps which cause inflammation and pain.
So, how do you hydrate your connective tissue? It’s not just about drinking fluids, although that plays a big role. There are several things you can do that make a difference. Let’s start with our hands since they are our primary tool. If your hands could talk, what would they be saying? Look at your hands. Are your fingers straight? Are your joints inflamed or swollen? Do you have pain in your wrists or ever suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome? These are all fascia related issues

For Your Hands: Self-Care tips- Easy to do in between clients
• Shake out your hands and rinse your hands with cool water between clients.
• Rotate your wrists in a circle from left to right (3x)
• Massage your palms with your thumbs
• Press your palms together (in a prayer like position), elbows out- keep your palms together bring your hands down the front of your body- (you will feel a lengthening at your wrist area) -(3x).

For the Neck: Self Care Tips- Performing treatment after treatment in the same position on clients can often result in neck issues. Stiffness, muscle knots and fused vertebrate are all occupational hazards we can prevent with daily changes of habit.

Self-Care tips:

• Turn your head to the left and right slowly (3x)
• Tilt your chin to your chest, bring back to neutral, tilt your head back (3x)
• Tilt your left ear to your left shoulder, back to center, tilt your right ear to your right shoulder-back to center (2x)
• Shrug your shoulders up and down (3-6x)
• Rotate your shoulders in a circular motion to the front, and circle to the back (3x)

Finally, consider the layout of your treatment room. Proper ergonomics can make a big difference in how you feel at the end of the day. How is your room organized? Does it allow you to flow and move easily as you treat your client? Think about what changes you could make to bring about a healthy work area. Is the height of the treatment bed right for you? Are you able to reach your trolley without overextending?

Does your stool have a back support? Can you adjust the stool height, so you are comfortably treating your client without hunching? Are you sitting in the center of your chair or on the edge? If you are standing are you distributing your weight evenly on both legs? Keeping the weight primarily on one leg can throw your hips out of whack. Are your knees locked or nice and loose? Locking them can cause pain in your hamstrings and lower back. How about your shoes? Are they supportive enough? Have enough cushion if you have a hard floor surface? Adjusting all these things can keep your fascia hydrated and happy and in turn contribute to your overall wellbeing.

Incorporating these small steps and creating everyday new habits you will enhance your longevity. Take good care of your amazing body and it will serve you well for years to come. Check out the images and easy to follow steps to improve your neck, upper back and arms.



Self-Care – Neck Release
A lengthening technique to bring hydration to the neck and trapezius area
This lengthening technique is perfect for:
• Neck stress
• Headaches
• Upper back stress

This technique can be done standing or sitting at a desk, airplane, or even in the car (if you’re stuck in traffic!).
Routine:
1. Start with a neck assessment:
Gently turn your head from one side to the next - noticing your range of motion on each side.
2. Gently turn your head to the left
3. Tilt your left ear to your left shoulder (While your head is tilted)
4. Reach your fingers of your opposite hand (right fingers) to the floor (you will feel a lengthening along your neck area (sternocleidomastoid muscle) Hold Take a focus breath-inhale through you nose, exhale through your mouth Repeat (3x)
To release bring your ear away from the shoulder and turn your head all the way to the opposite side and then back to center.
Repeat the above routine on the right side
5. Reassess
Check your range of motion again turning your head gently to the left and right and notice the changes. You should have more range of motion!
Self-Care - Arm Lengthening
A lengthening technique to bring hydration to the shoulders, elbows and wrists. This technique can be done standing or sitting
This lengthening movement is perfect for:
• Neck stress
• Shoulder issues
• Wrist issues
Routine:
1. Start with your arms out to the side – with your palms facing up (be sure to keep your shoulders down-do not shrug)
2. Flex (at your wrist) one hand up as the other hand extends down
3. Take a focused breath
4. Switch hands –the previous hand that was flexed now extends etc.
5. Take a focused breath
6. Make a fist and repeat the same movement directions with each wrist (you will notice a stronger sensation when you make the fists)
Repeat a few times on each side and notice any changes in your shoulders, wrists, elbows You might even feel some tingling in our fingers-this is good-your connective tissue is getting hydrated!

Self-Care – Upper Back Hydration
A lengthening technique to bring hydration to the upper back area
This lengthening technique is perfect for:
• Upper back stress
• Shoulder stress
This technique can be done standing or sitting and perfect to do at a desk, in your car, on an airplane.
Routine:
1. Bring your arms out in front of you (be sure to keep your shoulders down away from your ears – do not shrug)
2. Take a focused inhale breath as you squeeze your shoulder blades back together – hold
3. Release on the exhale and reach your arms in front of you as far as you can without shrugging
Repeat 3-6x and notice if your back feels better. (maybe you are even standing a little bit taller!)