Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: August 2019

An alternative look at adversity

Those of you who have read my book know that I struggled with severe health problems as a child and adolescent. I've long since recovered and became a massage therapist with a passion for teaching self-care. But I recently read a book, 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think, and it, well, got me thinking.

Author Brianna Wiest encourages her readers to embrace adversity, obstacles, and fear. She made me realize that even the darkest of times serve a purpose. If I can look at my past through a lens of curiosity and optimism, I find that my experience has made me more grateful, compassionate, and mindful. I recognize and appreciate the people in my life more than ever. I am thankful for all my emotions, good and bad, for I wouldn't be able to appreciate the good without the bad.

Challenging times offer us the resilience to better face whatever lies ahead. The worst experiences can be, and often are, eye-opening. We cannot change reality. If we fight it, we'll only become stuck in a losing battle. But we can control how we respond. If we are curious and open to learning, we can develop a new mindset, a new perspective, a new approach. We live more fully when we acknowledge what is.

Self-care is often helpful during trying times, but difficult to implement when you're anxious, depressed, or exhausted. Practicing self-care proactively, however, can be life-altering. My self-care regimen dwindled after the birth of my daughter. I was living with high anxiety, running around trying to take care of everyone else, and forgetting about myself. My parents told me again and again to take more time for myself, but the true meaning behind that advice didn't sink in until I had worn myself out. If I'm not okay, if I'm anxious and exhausted and moody, I have nothing good to offer the people I care about. I owe it to my family, my clients, and to myself, to take special care of my mind and body.

Oscar Wilde wrote, "When we are happy, we are always good, but when we are good, we are not always happy." Not that I expect us to be happy all the time, but we can work to change our mindset. We can be more positive, more open, and more willing to learn. We can show more love and kindness to those around us. We can practice mindfulness and gratitude for all the wonderful gifts in our lives. And when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, resentful, or depleted, we can reassure ourselves that these feelings are transient. We can take a step back and allow ourselves the time and care we need to get back on track.

We all have this power within us. We can all allow our darkest moments to shed some light on the way we see the world. We can all take better care of ourselves. Embrace the good stuff. Try to experience it fully without worrying about it slipping away. Learn from the bad stuff, and trust that on the other side of adversity is a richer, more fulfilling life.

A self-massage for self-love and forgiveness

Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. We feel unworthy, undeserving, afraid of the future, regretful of the past, and even self-loathing. It's time to show yourself the same love and compassion you give to others. Follow along with this easy self-massage to help you realize the wonderful person you are. If you want to do amazing things, you have to start by taking care of yourself!


What's new with me ...

Jesse and I are relieved to report that Sienna is loving her new school, and is making great progress! For example, she is becoming more open to trying new things. She even discovered she loves swimming! One day, Sienna came home from her swimming lesson so excited to tell me that she put her face in the water. "AND," she added, "I did it like it was no big deal." On weekends, she and I go to our nearby public pool and spend hours in the water.

We celebrate Jesse's birthday this week! He and I have big plans to go to one of his favorite spots - a bookstore. (His other favorite spots are also bookstores.)

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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