New Year, New Goals; Tools To Fight Off Anxiety-Induced Tension

Lily Brunner Massage Therapist

It’s that time of year again where we often set goals and intentions for the year- and that’s great! However, change often doesn’t happen overnight, and there can be a lot of stress around achieving those goals.

When we are stressed, it causes a variety of other issues; headache, sore back, poor sleep, to name a few.

I am here to offer 6 tips and tricks to fight off stress so you can continue to conquer your goals. These are simple, yet very effective!

  1. RELAXATION RITUAL. Find a place in or near your home where you can go to relax. Set aside at least 10 minutes of your day for this ritual, more if you have time. Preferably, have this time set aside around the same time every day. This could be anything from lighting a candle and setting an intention, to enjoying your favorite cup of tea. It has been proven that just the thought of relaxing effects the body and mind, which is why creating a DAILY ritual is key!

  2. MEDITATION. If you can sit quietly and meditate, then great! You might be able to combine the above tip with this one. Meditation is different for everyone- for me personally, I have found that I need to be hiking to meditate. I count deep breaths in and out, matching them with my steps. Or perhaps you prefer to meditate while taking a shower/bath. The important thing to remember is that it needs to be right for you- otherwise you will have a very hard time getting into habit! An easy self-reminder to practice meditation is to stick a sticky note with a short message (about meditation) and stick it somewhere you pass by often.

  3. CREATE RELAXING PLAYLISTS and radio stations on Spotify/Pandora/YouTube, whichever music source you use. Find some down time and search through your music, discover new tunes, and fill those playlists until they are overflowing! Preferably, find music that is generally less than 60bpm- that is to say, songs that do not make your heart beat quicker! This way when you are feeling out of sorts you have pre-selected music to throw on, to help calm and reset. I like to find new artists and save them for when I am feeling anxious. Focusing my mind on new information/music can help ground me. I dive into new songs, focusing intently on the words and music.

  4. RE-ASSESS YOUR BOUNDARIES. It is never a bad time to sit down with yourself and ask some important questions. What are your boundaries in relationships- family, work, personal? Are there any areas where you feel like your boundaries have been crossed? Re-affirming and strengthening your personal boundaries will protect you from lots of unnecessary stress, both physically and mentally. I prefer to draw tarot cards and reflect in journaling- of course however there are many ways to assess your own personal boundaries. Once you have reflected, check in on those boundaries every so often. When negative emotions start to rise in your life, try to reflect on where/if any boundaries were crossed. Keeping in check with personal boundaries, and over time you will see improvement in communication with both you and others!

  5. CREATE TO-DO LISTS. This is SO simple and yet so effective! The important part to remember about this tip, is that you need to add EASY check-offs to your list! That’s right! For every 3 harder/more important items on your list, throw in one fun/easy tasks. This helps so much when anxiety kicks in about not getting enough done. Another helpful thing is to think of a few easy things you have already done, add them to the list, and immediately check them off! It feels really good to get the list started and helps motivate you to continue.

  6. Lastly, my personal favorite, MONTHLY MASSAGE. Budget monthly for a massage and you won’t regret it! Massage helps reduce pain and stiffness, by resetting neurotransmitters and reducing the stress hormone cortisol through therapeutic touch. In addition, massage decreases heart rate, increases blood circulation, and improves sleep! A monthly session helps keep your body performing at its optimal- and helps you keep attuned to your body and its needs!

    My favorite part about being a Licensed Massage Therapist is that I get to offer an outside view into someone’s health and help clients reach their goals!

I hope these tips and tricks offered some inspiration! To read more content on health and wellness, visit the Zenbrio House Blog!

-Lily Brunner, LMT #24477

Blog post by Lily Brunner, Licensed Massage Therapist
Photo by Lily Brunner
More About Lily

How to Get the Best Massage of Your Life

Best Massage of Your Life

How to Get the Best Massage

Do you want the best massage of your life? Let me give you an insider’s secret. When you have a massage or therapeutic appointment, there is one thing that you can do that will guarantee you have the best experience.

It’s to be open.

Let me explain.

Helping people feel better, get out of pain, and become more self-aware is both a science and an art. There are certain things that your therapist has learned throughout his or her training that are meant to help with specific issues. Let’s call those recipes, and some practitioners really like to follow recipes, and can get good results that way. That’s the science part.

How do you get even better results? How do you have a blow your mind, awesome massage experience? How do you access the real healing potential?

It’s simple, ask for the artist within your therapist to show up.

Ask for the part of your therapist that goes rogue, that doesn’t follow recipes, is willing to connect with you on a deeper level, and to work with you from a place of creativity and intuition. That’s when the real healing work begins.

If you walk into to your massage therapist’s studio and say, “I have this back pain so I want you to work only on my back for an hour and I want really deep work.” You have essentially committed bodywork suicide.

First, you have just put your therapist in a box. You have smothered their creativity.  You have closed so many doors on your healing it’s not even funny.

Presence, creativity, nurturing, and healing are all feminine energies. You can’t access those qualities by forcing a protocol.

It’s like going to a really amazing top chef and saying, “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread but I want you to use only Skippy and strawberry Smuckers and I want it to taste like a gourmet meal. I want it to fill me up and melt in my mouth like the best meal I’ve ever had.”

Even if the chef tries to make you the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and gets the best white bread and the freshest Skippy and loads it all on there, he’s still completely limited. You are totally missing out on what that chef has to offer.

As a consumer, you have more choices than you think. You can demand exactly what you want and have the top chef make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That is, if the top chef is willing to do that. Just because the chef is a chef doesn’t mean he makes PB&J, and just because your massage therapist is a massage therapist it doesn’t mean he does deep work on backs.

If you want them to provide something they are good at, at the very least you could ask for the menu and order off of that. You could even ask for the chef’s recommendations!

But there is an even MORE exciting option. Why not ask the chef to make you whatever she wants? After all, you are seeing a top chef. This person knows how to cook a meal. You are paying good money for it, so why not get the best of the best instead of the same old peanut butter & jelly? I’m telling you, if choose the latter she’s going to create something for you that is “blow your mind” delicious.

You have that same choice when you see your massage therapist or healing arts practitioner. How you interact in the first couple of minutes is going to set the tone for what you will get. I’m not saying don’t speak up about what you love or what is important to you. I mean if you are feeling like steak today, by all means mention that steak sounds great. But there is a way you can ask for what you want and still get the best treatment.

Try this next time you see your massage therapist:

“I have this back pain, and its important to me that gets addressed, but I want you to do whatever it is that you think would help me feel better. I am wide open to whatever techniques you use.”

Guess what?  Instead of closing doors, you just opened them. You just started a conversation and a good therapist is going to ask more questions and begin creating a strategy on how best to help you. You have communicated a huge amount of respect for their area of expertise.

By honoring the inner-artist in your therapist, and asking for him/her to show up, you have stepped into the realm of healing.  Your therapist is not “stuck” in any way. They are excited to do their best work and pull from all of their experience. They get to be creative. They get to use their intuition.

You are now their favorite client because they are free to help you in the very best way they know how.

You are about to have one of the best sessions of your life.

Now, let’s clarify one more thing. You won’t get a top chef meal if you go to Taco Bell. They have a strict protocol on how they make their tacos. Don’t be fooled by the chain restaurants either, they will be pulling your meal out of the freezer, so chances are you won’t get something fresh, healthy, creative and made with love.

Make sure you go to a therapist who has the freedom to run his or her practice as he chooses. Then tap into the very best of that freedom by asking for the best of what they have to offer. You may never complain about that back pain again.

Blog post by Sara McRae, LMT
Photo by Rosie Kerr

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