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SAVVY SELF-CARE best practices 28 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k n o v e m b e r / d e c e m b e r 2 0 1 5 Seven years ago, I opened my massage practice, Blossom Massage for Women in Portland, Maine. In that time, with a combination of sheer determination and a healthy dose of miracles, I have grown my practice to exactly where I always wanted it to be. I do the amount of massage work I feel I can healthfully sustain, with clients I like working with, in a way I feel I can be effective. I also have the huge privilege of writing and sharing my thoughts and ideas with others. I would definitely be happy making more money, mind you, but more on that later. Running my own practice means a lot more than just the hands-on, paid work. In the last seven years, I have also gone to countless networking meetings; spent days working on websites; somehow kept my finger on the daily business of phone calls, scheduling, and insurance billing; made sure the accounting was done; attended continuing education classes; and maintained the self-care required to show up for people in a physically and emotionally demanding way every day. WHAT IS A RETREAT? A retreat is a time for an individual to take a step back from daily life and refresh one's perspective. The time away is meant to deeply nourish and illuminate the rest of life through rest, rejuvenation, and the time and freedom to explore big ideas. It is hard to gain clarity on life while right in the middle of it. It is difficult to make good decisions and hold a bigger vision when you are so close to everything in your life. I think of going on retreat as unplugging from daily life for a period of time, becoming very quiet, and listening. Sometimes we are not even conscious of the ways we add unnecessary tension to our lives. It takes being still and stepping off the hamster wheel to understand what that is. Taking Retreat By Jennie Hastings Stancu The reason I tell you all this is because after seven years, I am tired. It's been a lot. I have to admit I am feeling the strain of working so closely with people and their bodies for so many years, along with dealing with the stresses of daily life, money, and relationships. When I caught myself searching online about getting an occupational therapy degree and moving to a foreign country, I realized I was dangerously close to burnout. I kept thinking about what the next step would be to grow Blossom Massage but continued to stay paralyzed by the amount of uncertainty it brought up for me. I finally realized that clarity would not be forthcoming in my present state. So, I decided to take a retreat.

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