Taking Time to Take Time

This past weekend, I put the $50 credit I earned from the 30 Day Challenge in December towards a massage at LVAC. I tend to reserve massages for when I feel I’ve done something to earn them — like finishing a marathon — but the credit would expire in April. So I got this one just because.

I’m not really a massage “person.” I know all the benefits of massages, especially for someone like me who spends most of her day hunched over her computer desk and bike handlebars. But it’s hard for me to rationalize doing nothing for an hour when there’s work to do, recipes to try, laundry to finish, and books to read. I have a compulsion to fill every minute of my day with activity. Which is exactly why I should be getting more massages, not fewer of them!

I know that running all over the place is not always good for me. There are weeks I toe the line of burnout, but I always tend to power through (I rarely sacrifice sleep and I’m pretty active, which keep my energy levels high). What’s ironic is that I excel at mentally and physically challenging tasks, but I often fail at giving my brain or body time to rest to keep up with myself. It’s just so hard for me to be still. I hate hate hate stretching. I struggle to give myself time to recover after a tough workout. I don’t like being unproductive. Is it really that hard for me to rest? Yes!

But I know I need to scale things back. And so, I got the massage. Jeff, my massage therapist, was super great. He identified some problem areas and gave me useful tips and exercises to strengthen weak muscles. And guess what! An hour of my time was not that much to sacrifice. The world didn’t even notice I was gone. Leaving my to-do list alone for a short time was perfectly fine.

I won’t go so far as to say that this one massage was a giant wake-up call as to how I should be spending time to better take care of myself and slow down. It was more like a wake-up nudge — a reinforcement of something I already know. I have come to this realization before. Last year I even went so far as to block out “nothing” weeknights on my calendar. On those nights, I wasn’t allowed to make any after work plans and had to go straight home with no agenda. I may need to reinstate that forced relaxation time. And perhaps I’ll schedule more massages, too!


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Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com