Serious Self-Care for Massage Therapists on a Budget

Two women standing beside each other, putting their hands together to look like a heart

Massage therapists need to take care of themselves too! Money can be an obstacle when you’re trying to seek out self-care, but there are plenty of things you can do on a budget. You spend hours each day improving your clients’ lives. You probably spend time telling them how to take better care of themselves also. So, don’t be a hypocrite – make time for yourself too!

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line.

You really have to love yourself to get

anything done in this world.”
– Lucille Ball

Take care of your body

  1. Get massaged! (could I really not put that at the very top of the list??)
  2. Cook yourself a favorite meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I personally make tuna casserole the way my mom made it. And no one likes it but me, but…I’m not making it for anyone else.
  3. Give yoga a break & try an arial class. Challenge a whole new set of muscles.
  4. Buy Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong. Need I say more? 🙂
  5. Lay down on your bed and have a good stretch. Stretch in every direction you can come up with. Lift your arms over your head for a full body stretch. Pull one leg toward you at a time to stretch your hamstrings. Point & flex your toes. Spend as much time as you need.
  6. Go for a walk through the most beautiful area near you. Hint: bring a camera with you.Woman walking through forested area
  7. Go get your nails done – or DIY it if you are really short on cash.
  8. Start your morning with lemon water: Fill any cup with water & the juice of one entire lemon. Voila!
  9. Take a bath…with all the extras. Pull out your candles, bath bombs, a good book, beverage of choice, etc.
  10. Laugh: Whether you find a silly movie on Netflix or a great comedian at the local club, indulge in ‘the best medicine.’

Take care of your soul

  1. Start and/or end each day with a prayer or meditation that is especially meaningful to you. Set an alarm in your phone if you have trouble setting the time aside.
  2. Tell a client ‘no.’ Trust me, this one belongs in this category. If you have overdone it with accommodating your clients’ needs, choose one that you’re going to stand up to and draw a new boundary. You deserve it.
  3. Clean one of your clutter magnet spaces. Preferably the one that just popped into your head 😉
  4. Buy one really, really comfortable cozy blanket – for YOU, not your clients!
  5. Write down 3 affirmations (there’s plenty of inspiration online) and post them on your bathroom mirror, or another place you’ll be able to repeat them first thing each morningNotebook open to a blank page with a blue and grey pen in the binding
  6. Find a blog that inspires you and subscribe
  7. Let some art in! Take a trip to your local craft store and walk the aisles until something speaks to you. Take it home and get to work. Feeling ambitious? Join a local class or group that fits your interests.
  8. Find a really cute dog or cat to play with.
  9. Serve someone else. Visit a hospital, nursing home or homeless shelter.
  10. Look around Apple Music for a new album that speaks to you. Listen to it and let the words & rhythm pour over you.

Take care of your relationships

  1. Spend time with a good friend. A good friend = someone who fills your life and feeds your soul. Whiny, dramatic, complainers need not apply. See them another day. Or not at all. That’s okay too.
  2. Call a friend/family member who lives far away. Trust me, they’ll love it.
  3. Forgive someone.
  4. Write a real, live handwritten note to an elderly relative.
  5. Think of something special (“random act of kindness”-esque) to do for each person you live with. Then take action.
  6. Do the dishes even if it’s not your job to do the dishes.
  7. Do you know anyone who is sick or lives alone? Drop in on them. Bring food if appropriate.
  8. Go on a walk through town with someone you’d like to get to know better.
  9. Treat a small child to an ice cream
  10. Write your close relatives/friends “She is…” letters. Start with the header: “[First name] is…” and fill in the blank 10-20 times. These can make some serious impact. They’re the kind of letters you’ll find in the sock drawer 30 years from now.

Take care of your business

  1. Schedule your day off & take it! Commit to taking one day a week to yourself.
  2. File “that stuff” – the drawer that’s been cluttered for months, the papers piling up on the corner of your desk, the mail that’s been collecting dust…getting it organized will make you feel like a million bucks.
  3. Return all pending voicemails & emails. Everyone gets behind from time to time, and it feels oh so good to catch up.Woman sitting at her laptop with a cell phone in her right hand
  4. Buy a really awesome notebook and use it to keep track of your goals. Carry it everywhere with you.
  5. Unsubscribe from 5 email lists that you never read. It’ll save you time deleting them in the future.
  6. Commit to spend 2 hours each day on marketing. And whether you spend it reading about marketing, calling potential clients, or updating your business page on Facebook is completely up to you.
  7. If you do not already have one, open a business savings account. Massage is notoriously unpredictable. Put aside something from each month, and then when a bad month happens, you’ve set yourself up for success.
  8. Right now, look at your goals and see how far you’ve come and what actions you need to take this week to move ahead. Don’t have goals? Sit down right now and write down 3 things you’d like to accomplish this month.
  9. Spend 30 minutes and organize all of your computer files so they are easy to find.
  10. Reach out to another business owner and set up a coffee date to encourage each other forward.


  1. Go see a movie – one that doesn’t require much mental energy to enjoy.
  2. Binge watch something you’ve already seen, so you can slip in & out of sleep
  3. If you can – go to the beach
  4. Spend an hour in nature (Bonus Points: spend multiple hours in nature)
  5. Buy one pint of your favorite ice cream, and savor it – without shame – using a real silver spoon if you have one
  6. Sleep with no alarmStuffed lamb laid over open book with alarm clock nearby
  7. Soak in a hot tub – the jacuzzi type – and let the jets gently massage you.
  8. Practice a breathing exercise. There are hundreds online. Find one that fits your personality.
  9. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. So easy. So effective.
  10. People watch. If you think you’re the only person that ______, find a good bench and sit back as you observe the human animal.

Learn something new

  1. Read a new business book.
  2. Try a SCORE class. Find one in your area.
  3. Put a jigsaw puzzle together. Challenge your brain.
  4. Take up something that is sooooo not you (cake decorating? wood shop? auto repair?) Find a class or a knowledgeable friend and get started. Offer them free massage in exchange for lessons!
  5. Spend a full day observing someone you find fascinating. No need to make it creepy – just tell someone that you admire them, and ask if you could shadow them for an afternoon or a day and learn from them. Like an apprentice. It could even be someone you admire for their calm, their grace or their determination, not necessarily their business acumen.
  6. Find a new recipe on Pinterest and give it a whirl. Sweet or savory 🙂
  7. Interview a fellow business owner. Make it a non-massage business owner. Maybe a printer, or a juice bar owner.
  8. Spend an afternoon with someone over 75-years-old. And open your mind to “pay attention compassionately.”The hands of an elderly woman holding a clear mug half full of tea
  9. Go to Ancestry and create a free account
  10. Subscribe to a blog about a topic that you want to know more about. Maybe this one? 😉

Have an adventure

  1. Seek out a place in your neighborhood that no one else knows about and make it your own personal getaway. Don’t give me the excuse that there isn’t one. Because no one lives in a place where every square inch is taken. There is some overlooked, unused space. At my college I found an old bench, built into a corner nook near an exit. Thousands of people passed by (within 10 feet) every single day. But no one ever stopped. It became my haven. Very few people even knew I was there.
  2. What’s the highest point in your town? See how close to it you can get. Go up in time for the sunset.
  3. Sign up for an ‘alternative’ 5K (I’ve personally done The Color Run & The Inflatable 5K). In a word: awesome.
  4. Spend a day seeking out all the things that you did as a kid. Maybe start the day with your favorite sugary cereal. See if you can still do a somersault (with assistants standing by? lol). Blow bubbles. Ride a carousel. Go to the library and read your favorite book. Reclaim your inner youth!
  5. When ordering coffee, ask the barista what his/her favorite drink is. Order that.
  6. Find your dream car on Turo and rent it for the day.
  7. A bit pricier, but: Search Airbnb for a unique listing (yurt, beach house with open roof, historic Victorian home, etc.) and plan a weekend getaway there. Depending on how many people it can accommodate, some of them can be very affordable if you split the cost.
  8. Go go cart racing with friends (might wanna make this part of #4 😉 ).
  9. Go white water rafting. Because being tossed around in water is absolutely an adventure.
  10. Visit a trampoline park. Jump your little heart out.

Have you tried any of these? Or have other ideas that didn’t make the list? Leave a comment below and inspire others with your thoughts. Because we can all care for each other.

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