As an Advanced Reiki Practitioner, I often promote a Reiki session as a mode of self-care. Reiki is a light, hands-on technique that works with to restore the body’s energy to balance by reducing stuck, negative energy and promoting free-flowing positive energy.
While many of us tend to our physical body through exercise or eating right, what do we actually do for our mind and spirit? If we want to live a life of wholeness, I believe we need to take care of ourselves body, mind and spirit. Reiki works on all these levels, and I like to think of it a great complement to our physical body work. If your body is sore from physical exertion, whether it be from tough workout at the gym or long day of yard work, Reiki can facilitate a healing environment to help the body recover. But the benefits extend beyond the physical, as a session can help to quiet the mind and bring about relief from stress.
An overactive mind can be a result of stress, or it can be the stressor. In either case it is important to our overall well-being to have structured time to let the brain relax, and allow ourselves to just be. People feel so good after a Reiki session because it is sometimes the first time their brain has turned off in a long time! The spirit is restored through the relaxation of body and mind, and the re-emergence of the free-flowing energy.
But when does self-care cross the line into self-indulgence? Do we feel we are spoiling ourselves if we schedule a Reiki session? If you are unsure of how to answer this, continue reading to discover the difference.
What self-care is
While an enhanced regimen of self-care may sound like a good idea, most people are fuzzy on what self-care is and how to practice it. Medical and mental health professionals pioneered the concept of self-care by prescribing healthy lifestyle changes and stress management behaviors. Unfortunately, these prescriptions are often ignored because they require hard work and perseverance.
During the 1980s, the term self-care became popularized. It is now common to hear talk (especially among women) about needing to take better care of oneself. Consequently, it became irresistibly profitable for advertisers to perpetuate the fantasy that self-care can be easy. As a result of the self-care marketing blitz, many of us think that getting pedicures, choosing hand-dipped dark chocolates, and buying 10,000-thread count bed linens equal self-care.
What self-care is not
Self-care is not self-pampering – not that there’s anything wrong with self-pampering – pedicures, dark chocolates, and other luxuries. That is, as long as you can afford luxuries. Spending money that you don’t have is self-indulgence.
Self-care is not self-indulgence. Popularly, the terms self-care and self-indulgence are used interchangeably, as in “Oh, go ahead, indulge. You deserve it.” We tell ourselves that we are practicing self-care when, in fact, we are engaging in self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is characterized by avoidance of the effortful and substitution of quick and easy antidotes. (underline added). We tell ourselves that the stresses of the day have drained our energy and that vegging on the sofa with a quart of ice cream or a six-pack of beer is all we can expect of ourselves. Rather than shouldering the hard work of self-care, we settle for temporary and largely symbolic fixes – some of which actually stress our systems further.
How to practice self-care
Self-care means choosing behaviors that balance the effects of emotional and physical stressors: exercising, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, practicing yoga or meditation or relaxation techniques, abstaining from substance abuse, pursuing creative outlets, engaging in psychotherapy…
I think it is clear from this definition that Reiki is firmly in the self-care camp. So while a session may feel like a treat, it is ultimately contributing to living a life of wholeness. And I believe that when you have a healthy body, a quiet mind, and a restored spirit, you have the drive and energy to spend on your life goals and how to achieve them. Goals that when achieved could have positive, enduring impact far beyond you to the world around you. I think that makes a Reiki session, or any other mode of self-care, completely worth the time and money.
How about you?