evidence-informed strategies and encouragement for your self-care

January 2021 Weekly Wellness Recap

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"I have spoken."

- Kuiil (Nick Nolte), The Mandalorian

* * *

For a few years now, instead of making New Year's resolutions, I've picked a few words to be a theme, an inspirational focus, for the next year.

My words for 2021 are simple and strength.

This past year was high stress, high complexity. While some will undoubtedly continue, we control how to interact and respond. I can listen, reply, and if need be, walk away. As Kuiil does. He absorbs, considers, and speaks. Then, he has spoken.

Simplifying isn't about eliminating nuance or thoughtfulness, but reducing the emotional clutter, potential time-suck, and learning letting go. Making room for more.

This past year has also been full of tests - of my resourcefulness and resilience, health and heartiness, guile and gratitude. A strange gift of insight. And motivation to be stronger. To fortify and further mental, physical, and spiritual practices.

I often advise clients: "You can't really go wrong by getting stronger." I also watched a considerable amount of the anime Dragon Ball over my break... time to power up.

To a new year,


"Our enemies want to separate us. But Mandalorians are stronger together."

- Bo-Katan (Katee Sackhofff), The Mandalorian

* * *

Recent times have been marked by separation. Geographically and physically for sure. But maybe more so - emotionally, politically, and ideologically.

Among the many things I love about my job is interacting with a wide variety of people. Pain and stress affects all demographics. My week is filled with different perspectives, opinions, and many, many stories.

Sharing, and being really heard, is a vital part of healing.

I provide massage therapy for clients; often clients provide an opportunity for me to listen and learn. I don't always agree with or understand everything that's shared. But that's the thing. We don't have to think, act, or believe the exact same to be caring, kind, and respectful. To want the best for another person. To ease their pain.

Common ground is vast and plentiful when we intentionally seek it.

Showing compassion, instead of condemning, is often confused as an endorsement. But it's a recognition of our shared humanity and fragile fallibility.

Active listening, instead of arguing, is often mislabeled as compliance. But it's an opportunity for both parties to grow understanding an imagination.

We can disagree, and yet still be listening, be compassionate. We can be so very different, yet still build bridges. We are stronger together.

To togetherness,


"It lives in an abandoned sarlacc pit." "There's no such thing as an abandoned sarlacc pit." "There is if you eat the sarlacc." - The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) & Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), The Mandalorian * * * This scene echoed Qui-Gon Jinn's line from the Phantom Menance after the marine monster chasing him was chomped by a larger baddie: "There's always a bigger fish." Sure, both evoke a lil existential dread: what worse thing lurks round each corner? But, the flip side is existential relief: what a perfect invite to enjoy each moment. To be grateful in overcoming a challenge, outrun the monsters to live another day. Humbled to have eluded the unknown, cherishing our one wild life. To what eats the sarlacc, Raechel

"When a man is convinced he's going to die tomorrow, he'll probably find a way to make it happen."

- Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Star Trek TNG

* * *

Convictions are powerful. They can prompt positive action and foster principled integrity. They can also instill thought rigidity and fuel self-righteous tenancies.

Once we are convinced of something and chart a course, it's a challenge to turn our ship in another direction. Even if we see storms on the horizon.

So I've been examining at my convictions: where they came from, when they were formed, how they hold up to new information. And using great caution when considering new ones.

It's a regular evaluation; a true new year's resolution. And unlike other popular detox cleanses, leaves your GI tract in peace.

To confronting convictions,


* * *

3min watch ✋ Being more straightforward. Continuing with the Kuiil-vibes, this video is on being straightforward in relationships. Often we think we're doing others a favor by hiding our thoughts and feelings. Nope. watch video 15min read 😡 Positively using anger. Anger is almost always seen as a negative thing. This article sheds light on how we can use anger - a powerful emotion - to help with negotiation, motivation, and to understand ourselves better. Neat. read article 5min watch 🍊🍎 The case against comparison. Ever heard someone say: "Don't compare your behind the scenes with everyone's highlight reel?" This video echoes that same "don't believe everything you hear" advice. We never know the full story of someone's relationship, just as they don't know our's. watch video 5min read 😬 I want a massage, but... my head. New blog series! This one is a literal head to toe candid exploration of the many common body concerns that make us hesitant to schedule a massage, or uneasy once on the table. First article is on the head: scalp, hair, and face. read article

5min read 😬 I Want a Massage But ... my arms. New blog series! This series is a literal head to toe candid exploration of the many common body concerns that make us hesitant to schedule, or uneasy once on the table. This second article is on the arms: from shoulder to hands. read article

5min read 😬 I Want a Massage But ... My Chest New blog series! A literal head to toe candid exploration of the many common body concerns that make us hesitant to schedule a massage, or uneasy once on the table. This third article is on the chest and abdomen. read article

5min watch 👎 Inner critics can be the worst critics. "Many of us are struggling with an intensely critical inner voice, one who relentlessly punishes us for failing to live up to an impossible standard. Taming this voice requires us to recognize where it is coming from and what may be driving its fury." watch video 45-75 treatment ❄️ Wow, it's still January? Hell of a start to the new year. January feels like it's been about a year. Need a break? Schedule a massage. If the day you need is full, ask to be put on the wait list. Reschedules happen. And if you're on the wait list, I know to contact you if something opens up. schedule a massage

3hour binge 😊 The cutest wellness course. Heard of the Headspace meditation app? They created a show and it's ulra fantastic. Topics on pain, stress, anger, and how to let it go. As much as I sickly enjoyed Tiger King, this is the documentary we really needed for 2020. watch on Netflix

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Hey there! My name's Raechel. I'm the author of The Bodies We Live In blog. I'm also a licensed massage therapist and owner of Massage Sci in Holland, Michigan.


In my free time, I enjoy writing about wellness; researching pain science; trying to grow things in my garden; being far too fond of semi-colons; and avid sci-fi nerding.