One of the biggest acts of self care is setting your policies and procedures and learning to enforce them in a way that supports your values. This is one of the hardest things for massage therapists to understand for some reason. Many massage therapists want to just be flexible and set their hours around clients schedules working Saturdays, Sundays, evenings and holidays. That might work if you don’t have a life or family/friends that you value spending time with. It may even get you a lot of clients but when you really take a look at those clients ask yourself if you feel energized and nourished working these hours or do you feel depleted and find it hard to go in at those times.
Some of the things that you need to carefully think about and outline in your policies and procedures are things like:
- Hours of operation
- No show and cancellations rules and fees
- Rules around being late to an appointment
While these things may seem like just simple things to do they can have a powerful impact on your business.
When you set your hours of business around what works best for you and your values it is self care. You have needs to spend time with family and friends and to live your life. When you set your hours around a clients schedule and do things like go in at the last minute or accept a client when you had plans to go to a play or something like that it is giving away your self. When you do things that violate your own values (boundaries) you will end up feeling drained or in the worst case resentful. This usually will lead to burnout in your career.
Taking the steps to enforce your policies is taking a step in building your own self esteem. It is also a process and won’t happen overnight. You may in the beginning see yourself taking clients at all hours of the day, night and weekends thinking it is what you need to get by. You may see yourself letting clients get away with not showing up for their appointments and letting things like that slide. It is OK to do that. I am not saying that it is wrong to do that in any way. It is all a part of the learning process of becoming a successful massage therapist.