Self-Care Day 6

Touch Base With an Old Friend

Got someone you miss talking with? Old friends that you haven’t seen much of because of the pandemic? Reach out to them! Heck, reach out to more than one!

But how?

You can do the standard text or message them. You could *cringe* call them on the phone! You could even get a little creative and send them a snail mail note or card. Sometimes I like to drop a meme on a friend that’s one of those inside jokes, just for a giggle. Or find a really old photo and share it on social media.

Just have fun!

Have some fun with it! Sometimes, it does the soul good to reminisce with an old friend, remember some laughs and good times.

Self-Care Day 5

Stretch

Stretching is one of those things that you (I) know makes you (me) feel better, but it’s so hard to remember to do! At least for me. And I should, theoretically, know better!

It’s always a good time to stretch

Of course, there’s the obvious stretch before/after a workout or physical exercise (or giving a massage), but there are some other times where stretching may benefit you physically and mentally. Stretching when you get up in the morning helps you get your blood circulating and loosens up those movable parts that have stiffened up overnight. Stretching before bed can help prevent leg cramps and other muscle spasms. It can also relieve the tension that may cause headaches, neck pain, and injuries from “sleeping wrong”.

Don’t be a cheese curl

Stretching during the workday is especially important for those who spend a lot of time at a computer. Take time to look up at the ceiling, lean back in your chair to stretch your neck and pecs to help prevent “tech neck”, tension headaches, and upper back pain. Check out something called the Pomodoro Technique – breaking your workday into 25-minute blocks with 5-minute breaks in between. After four or so, you take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. Use the short breaks to get up, walk around, and stretch your neck and shoulders. You can even find apps that do the timing for you.

“Motion is Lotion”, so get started today keeping all of your moving parts stretched and moving well to reduce pain and increase your mobility!

Self-Care Day 4

Meditate

I know, I know… who has time to sit and say ohhhm for a half-hour? I can’t shut my squirrel brain off that long! Who can get their body into that weird pretzel position for that long?!

Did you know you can just sit in a comfy chair to meditate? You don’t even have to say “ohhmmm”. Here are some tips to incorporate meditation into your life:

Guided Meditation

YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify… the interwebs are full of recorded guided meditations. I’m a long-time fan of Jason Stephenson on YouTube. He has a huge collection of meditations for practically anything you can think of, including anxiety relief, sleep, affirmations, and healing. He also has what I think is a very soothing voice. Find his YouTube Channel here.

Soul Soothers: Mini Meditations for Busy Lives

This is a book written by a friend that features one-page meditations that can be practiced all day—while doing the dishes, waiting at the doctor’s office, or even in the shower. See? No pretzel required. (Great, now I want pretzels.) You can find the book here.

Make It Up As You Go

You don’t have to really even have a recording or an intent. Sometimes there’s magic in just putting down the work, phone, or responsibilities for five minutes and sitting quietly, staring into space. If your squirrel brain wants to gather nuts, just let it. Sometimes you might even find a solution you couldn’t see before around all the distractions.

Bottom Line

There aren’t really any rules to meditating. There are different styles you might find you like, or you can totally make up your own. Like anything, it takes a little practice, so don’t give up after the first attempt. You got this!

Self-Care Day 3

Go to Bed Early

I can’t even tell you how many times I tell myself I’m going to go to bed early tonight… right after I get this “one more thing done” or my husband has to show me one more video on YouTube, or I remember that I needed to switch out the laundry, or, or…

Pick a night this week, put it on your schedule, and try going to bed half an hour to an hour early. And actually go to sleep when you get there. Try not to stare at your phone. See how you feel the next day after getting that extra hour of sleep! I’ll let you know if I manage to do it. 🙃

Pick a night this week, put it on your schedule, and try going to bed half an hour to an hour early. And actually go to sleep when you get there. Try not to stare at your phone. See how you feel the next day after getting that extra hour of sleep! I’ll let you know if I manage to do it. 🙃

Self-Care Day 2

Make a Goals List

“Resolutions” make me cringe-y. Most don’t last a month for me. So, this year, I’m thinking about some goals. Yes, fitness is among them, but other stuff, too. Like, you know, self-care. Business goals. Have more fun. Make more art.

If you kick @$$ at resolutions, you go, you rockstar! If they freak you out, maybe just take this beginning of a new year to set a few goals for yourself. Make small ones, like setting your alarm a little earlier, or big ones, like a trip (pandemic willing). Give yourself something to look forward to, rather than something you HAVE to do.

Self-Care Day 1

Take a Nap

While napping may not be for everyone, I think many of us agree that the thing that we fought against as children is now something magical.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that you keep naps to 10-20 minutes in length. Much longer and you’ll just feel groggy afterward and potentially disrupt your evening sleep. A short nap can be a great way to reset when you’re feeling unproductive, tired, and/or cranky.

While a bed is ideal, I have been known to nap in my car during lunch breaks in the past. If I have time at the office, I have occasionally napped on my massage table or in my comfy chair. I also have a giant beanbag chair that is awesome for naps. Maybe you have a comfy couch or a nice recliner.

Pick a day, set an alarm (I recommend setting it out of reach to prevent hitting ‘snooze’), and see how a short nap makes you feel!

30 Days of Self-Care

A Self-Care Reset for the New Year

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you all, but I’m a bit of a mess from the last couple of years, and I was inspired to create a way for myself and any of you who want to do a self-care reset to get started.

There are a lot of self-care checklists out there, but a lot of them are geared towards just moms or include more “pampering” stuff than actual self-care. So, I scoured the interwebs and found the parts I liked the most, threw in a few of my own, and ideas from friends.

Now, I’m pleased to present “30 Days of Self-Care” – a self-care reset from Birch Tree Wellness. I will share one a day through January. They will be on Facebook, Instagram, and my website. At the end of the month, I’ll also create a checklist of all 30 so you can use it as a reference throughout the year.

An important tip: Don’t stress yourself out trying to self-care yourself. You don’t have to do them on the exact day I post them. It’s okay to skip a day. It’s okay to skip the ones you don’t like. Just do what you can and what speaks to you. That’s part of the process.

Notably, you won’t see “get a massage” on this list. That’s kind of a given, but also I tried to keep this list mostly free or minimal expense. I know you’ll get a massage if that’s what you need.

Let the self-care begin!

Face Masks & Massage Update

Okay. So.

I’ve been trying for like a month to put together a full newsletter for you, but then stuff keeps changing and mask mandates are confusing, the State’s rules are confusing, and life is generally confusing. So, I spent the last couple of days doing some research and here is where we’re at:

Town of Orono:

The Town of Orono’s emergency mask mandate is still *technically* in effect. They are meeting on June 3 to discuss repealing it

State of Maine:

The State of Maine has “retired” the page with the reopening checklist for massage facilities. It now refers you to a page on general guidance and say they will be following CDC recommendations.

US CDC:

The CDC has absolutely no massage industry-specific guidelines that I can find, though many pages hadn’t been updated in months. In an American Hospital Associate article, I read that the CDC still requires masks in healthcare settings.

A recently updated page, Key Things To Know, states that they are still working to understand how well the vaccine prevents you from spreading the virus, though early data show that vaccines help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19. They are still learning, including how effective the vaccines are against variants.

Massage Industry Experts:

I got probably the most useful, but still sort of nebulous information from Ruth Werner, a massage pathology expert in a blog post she wrote, What the CDC’s New Mask Recommendations Mean for Massage Therapists. It aligns with what I have been thinking the last couple of weeks.

What Does It All Mean?

For right now, I’m going to go with please keep wearing masks for your massage appointment. At the moment, you technically still need to wear masks in the building, based on Orono’s rules. Once that is repealed, it is okay for vaccinated clients to come into the office without a mask. You will still need to wear one at least when laying face up on the table.

Plan to wear a mask for at least part of your massage appointment through June, even if you are vaccinated. I will reassess at the end of the month. This could change if we have a surge or a dramatic drop in COVID cases.

Watch for updates of the various COVID-related policies on the website, bear with me as I sort all that out.

Stay tuned for a more exciting newsletter with information about new add-ons and other information!

Stay Well,
Tricia

Massage After COVID-19

This is a serious topic, friends. If you want to schedule a massage after you have had COVID-19, you absolutely HAVE to let your massage therapist know that you have had the virus. It could literally mean life or death.

Ideally, you need to let them know well before your appointment date. You need time to connect to discuss how serious your case was. It may also be necessary for you to reach out to your healthcare team for feedback. The best plan is to talk to them before you make an appointment.

Why Worry About Massage After COVID-19?

The biggest concern is the risk of blood clots associated with COVID-19. While blood clots have primarily been seen in patients hospitalized with severe cases, there are still a lot of unknowns. Autopsies of patients who have died from COVID often show severe clotting, which contributed to multiple organ failure and death. You can read an interview about COVID-19 and clotting issues written by a massage pathology eductator here.

Massage Gets the Blood Moving

One of the benefits of massage is that it improves the flow of blood through your muscles and organs. A massage stroke presses down on your muscles, stretching and warming them. Those muscles have blood vessels supplying them, and that same motion pushes the blood in the direction of the stroke.

Maybe you noticed that these strokes are often deliberately pushing blood towards your heart. Once there, it travels to the lungs for fresh oxygen, and then back through your organs and muscles again. Because of this, it is possible to dislodge a clot and send it traveling through you body to create big problems.

What Does My Massage Therapist Need to Know?

Your massage therapist will want to discuss the severity of your COVID symptoms, how long you were ill, and whether or not you were hospitalized. Even if we’re not talking about massage after COVID-19, it’s important to know if you’ve had a history of clotting issues. People with a serious history of clots will need to discuss the risks of circulatory massage with their doctor.

You may have noticed they keep asking you about your ability to exercise and increase your heart rate/respiratory rate. They’ll want to know if you’ve had any new or unusual muscle aches or pain. It’s also important to know if you have seen any unexplained marks, rashes, bumps, or other lesions on your skin. These are all screening questions to help rule out blood clots.

So please, don’t be embarrassed, don’t brush it off. Let your massage therapist know and answer their questions honestly. They are trying to keep you safe!

COVID Exposure: How Close Is Too Close?

COVID exposure: How close is too close when it comes to massage risk?

COVID-19 is creeping in around the edges, friends, I’ve had to discuss with a few clients what is “too close” when it comes to COVID exposure.

How few people between you and a positive COVID test is too few? Our faces are pretty close to each other when I work on your neck and shoulders, even with a face mask and shield. 

What if your spouse has a coworker test positive? Is spending time with a person outside who was exposed via their child’s school too close? These situations have presented themselves recently, and the clients and I agreed to err on the side of caution. 

COVID exposure: how close is too close when it comes to massage risk?

At this time, if someone who lives with you is exposed at work or elsewhere, or if you are notified of a risk of exposure, please cancel your appointment. Within a few days, you’ll know if the people between you and the positive individual have tested negative, or shown signs of illness, or you can get yourself tested (find a testing site near you). Then, we can discuss getting you rescheduled. 

If you aren’t sure about what you should do, please feel free to contact me to discuss. As I’m often in with clients during the day, the best way to reach me is via email or text. I can quickly respond to you between appointments and disinfecting.

As always, if you’re not feeling well, definitely reschedule. You can review symptoms and my COVID-19 policies here. Unsure if getting a massage is safe for you? Read more about my High-Risk Client Policy here.

Many of you worry about my losing income/business, and you are awesome. However, I would rather reschedule one appointment than risk making a dozen clients sick and closing for weeks. Thank you for continuing to be understanding and helping me keep massaging during this pandemic.