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By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Happy Mother’s Day!

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

    One way to better cope with stress is to rely on your social support network, aka friends and supportive community. But what if you don’t have an awesome support network to turn to? You can create one. While that is not as easy as clicking on a book on Amazon and downloading it to your Kindle,  and it will take time, it can be done!

Photo from TShirts by Victoria on https://www.etsy.com/

    1. First off, learn to support, encourage and validate yourself! And then practice self-care, support, encouragement and validation of yourself daily. People that are seeking emotionally healthy friends and peers tend to be drawn to others that have similar attitudes.Keep in mind validation is not affirmation nor cheer leading. (Affirmation and cheer leading can be helpful. However, if we do not also validate ourselves, we may not believe our affirmations and cheer leading and affirmations may actually end up making us feel more anxious if we don’t acknowledge our feelings and thoughts first.)

      Validation is the acceptance of yourself as you are, it involves self talk or recognition that what you are feeling or thinking makes sense and is understandable and logical given your experience in the world.For example, a self validation statement would be, “I am nervous about giving this speech. I haven’t given many speeches before and doing something new can be anxiety provoking.”

      An invalidating self statement might be: “I shouldn’t be nervous about giving this speech. What a loser that I can’t even give a speech without being nervous. Get it together!” Affirmation would be: “I am awesome. I can give  a great speech.” Cheer leading would be “I can do it. C’mon, self, you got this!”

2. Practice gratitude, writing gratitude lists, looking for what you have and appreciating it helps you feel better. Writing gratitude lists and practicing thinking in a grateful mindset helps train your mind to focus on what is positive and working in your life versus training your mind to look for what you do not have or focusing on fears.

Focusing on gratitude is not the same as requiring yourself to always be positive nor is it denial of pain, fear or things that are perceived as negative.

Gratitude allows us to notice that while there may be sadness or loss or fears, there are also things in your life to be grateful for. Thinking of these thinks, counting our blessings and remembering that even when we lose something we still have other things to appreciate helps keep us stable and feeling motivated. And this type of attitude will attract supportive people to you

 

3. Work with a psychotherapist/counselor to help you learn to be more validating and to connect with other people if you have trouble on your own. Psychotherapists are trained to be validating and encouraging. Telling you to be validating and encouraging of yourself sounds easy, but for many people it is not! It takes retraining, especially if what you learned from people growing up was to be self-critical, judgemental or shaming.

4. Be a joiner! If you have access to any support group, attend meetings and get to know other people in the group. For some people, this means attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or Alanon meetings or joining a support group for people with loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disorder. It can also mean checking out Meetups.com for people with simple similar interests like hiking, or reading, speaking French or folk dancing. If you belong to a church or religious group, get involved. A great way to meet positive supportive people is to volunteer with a charity that interests you.

E.K  Bernshaw has these tips as well in his post How To Attract Emotionally Healthy People.

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Now that WWM has closed our Gold Coast location, we want to remind Chicagoans that we are still open and serving chair massage clients in the Lincoln Park area in our WWM chair massage station! WWM is open daily from 12-8pm. That’s right, seven days a week (excluding holidays).

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WWM Lincoln Park Chair massage station is located inside Whole Foods Market in Lincoln Park at 1550 N Kingsbury. Find us on the main floor right ext to Express check out line and in front of the in store restaurants.

 

WWM booth inside WFM Lincoln Park near Express checkout

WWM booth inside WFM Lincoln Park near Express checkout

WWM has been inside the giant Lincoln Park Whole Foods Market since the store was first opened in 2009.   We are grateful to Store Team Leader, Rich Howley for his support and welcome to his Lincoln Park store.

WWM Massage Therapists at WWM Lincoln Park

Many of our WWM Gold Coast massage therapist are still available at the WWM Lincoln Park chair massage station. See below for our usual weekly line up. And for the next few weeks, Najat will be on vacation and back Mid March. Until then Bernardo, David M., Andrew and Patty and David K will be subbing for Najat. And once she is back, Patty and David K will not have regular shifts the Lincoln Park WWM booth, but will be subbing from time to time.

WWM Lincoln Park (Usual) Massage Therapist Weekly Schedule

Mondays, 12-4pm, David M

David M

David M

 

Mondays, 4-8pm, Najat

Najat

Najat

 

Tuesdays, 12-4pm, Jeanie (not pictured)

 

Tuesdays, 4-8pm, Starlette

Starlette

Starlette

 

Wednesdays, 12-4pm, Andrew

Andrew Petrikiv, LMT

Andrew

 

Wednesdays, 4-8pm, Najat

Najat

Najat

 

Thursdays, 12-4pm, David M

David M.

David M.

 

Thursdays, 4-8pm, Aaron

Aaron

Aaron

 

Friday’s 12-4pm, Najat

Najat

Najat

 

Fridays,  4-8pm, Trina

Trina

Trina

 

Saturdays, 12-4pm, Najat

Najat

Najat

 

Saturday, 4-8pm, Kimosha

Kimosha

Kimosha

Sundays, 12-4pm, Trina

Trina

Trina

 

Sundays, 4-8pm, Bernardo

Bernado

Bernado

 

Guest Appearances by Patty M and David K from time to time!

Patty

Patty

 

David K

David K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, I spent a few hours working with Najat, one of our long time WWM massage therapists, dismantling and cleaning up the space that has held our chair massage station for many years.

Najat cleans our space as we dismantle our WWM booth

Najat cleans our space as we dismantle our WWM booth

Since I first made the announcement that WFM Gold Coast Store Team Leader had asked us to close our booth, I’ve had many calls and emails from concerned clients that are sad and worried about our booth closing. Sadly, WWM had no control over whether we would leave the WFM Gold Coast store. If it was up to WWM, we would have stayed open at this location, but like many Chicago institutions, our time was over. WFM Gold Coast leadership wanted to bring more cafe seating into the space we occupied.  As Najat would say, C’est Le Vie.

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What took 15 years to build, we knocked down in hours!

I’ve heard wonderful stories from clients that have visited us in the Gold Coast location for many years. One client credits his newfound health and heart improvement on regular chair massage by WWM massage therapists. He said his doctors are surprised at his recovery and tell him to keep the massages up! Another client told me she has used our massage services for 11-12 years and worries she will not be able to travel to our Lincoln Park location for massages once we closed our booths.

No more WWM at WFM Gold Coast-WWM has left the building!

No more WWM at WFM Gold Coast-WWM has left the building on 1-31-17!

We apologize to customers that found our Gold Coast location convenient and are unable to travel to our Lincoln Park location. WWM would be happy to reopen in another location in the River North or Gold Coast or Streeterville area if we can find a good arrangement. We have looked at other potential locations, but thus far, have not had any promising offers for another space for our booth.  Unfortunately chair massage is not lucrative enough for us to afford the high rent of Gold Coast office space for a chair massage station. Our partnership with WFM, which has long been a company committed to whole body and wellness, has been a natural relationship. And one we happily continue with WFM Lincoln Park!

For those clients of our WWM chair massage booth in the Gold Coast, we say thank you for stopping by and getting massages, sharing your lives, your pain, your joy and your stories through the years. You have touched each and every one of us emotionally, as we have touched your muscles and helped relieve your tension and deal with stress!

WWM Gold Coast Before 2-1-17

 

WWM Previous booth space inside WFM Gold Coast after 2-1-17. Two high top tables replace previous massage oasis. C’est le vie!

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

In my role as a massage therapist, I spend a lot of time trying to help people relax their nervous systems, allowing them to “de-stress” and feel their bodies relax, thus reducing muscle and mental tension. In my role as a psychotherapist, I do something similar, helping clients learn to manage emotional and psychological stress in a more functional way, to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD, along with reducing need for relying on addictive coping skills like substance use.

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Photo from livebold&bloom.com

Working with clients that have social and communication deficits known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, or previously known as Asperger’s Disorder, requires a good understanding of the nervous system and how being in a highly activated nervous system state (known as flight or flight or Sympathetic Nervous System mode) tends to shut down Executive Functioning processes like problem solving, decision making, impulse control and working memory.ae_mainlogo_tagline-9-300x136

Asperger’s Experts, my new favorite website for learning about Asperger’s and Autistic traits, provides a wonderful video explaining how people with Asperger’s tend to process information and sensations and gives really great tips on how to work with children and adults with this disorder.

When humans are in fight or flight mode, the brain and body is trying to save the person from perceived harm. It’s not a good time to learn or listen to directions or face social anxiety fears. People with Asperger’s tend to be overwhelmed by sensory input and thus tend to be in sympathetic mode much of the time.  This makes it super difficult for them to learn social and communication skills unless they have taught how to handle the overload and self soothe or calm themselves down.

Danny Raede explains the Sensory Funnel here. My favorite quote is this, “Lack of social skills are a symptom of being too overwhelmed and in Defense Mode. And until you get somebody with Asperger’s out of defense mode, you won’t be able to teach him social skills. It’s like taking somebody in Iraq that’s involved in an active battle and saying, hey, do you want to learn how to knit? And while they may want to make sweaters, they have more important things on their mind. They’re just trying to stay alive.”

When parents work with children, when managers work with employees and when people in relationships  become emotionally overwhelmed, we can all experience a similar feeling of not being able to think clearly, control our emotions and make decisions. Learning how to manage our sensory overloads and self soothe are valuable skills for us all, and even more important for working with people with Asperger’s and Autistic traits!

Happy New Year from Working Well Massage!By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

 

colorful-new-year-pictures

Happy New Year from Working Well Massage!

With each New Year we start a fresh clean calendar. We have choices on how we want to spend our time in 2017. Balancing rest and relaxation with activity allows us to maintain optimal health and better cope with stress and difficulties of life. Be good to yourself in 2017. Schedule times for relaxation, massages, and naps to balance activities and obligations as best you can. Visit us at one of our chair massage stations or your regular massage therapist as needed.

Also, remember you only have one more month to visit us in the Gold Coast. On January 31, 2017, Working Well Massage will be closing our Gold Coast location inside Whole Foods Market at 30 W. Huron at the end of January, at the request of Whole Foods management. While our staff and clients are saddened by this change, we are looking forward to continuing to serve our Chicago area clients in the Whole Foods Lincoln Park location at 1550 N Kingsbury.  And we look forward to continuing to serve our existing and future clients in your office with our on site corporate massage services.

The Working Well Massage massage team has given literally thousands of massages in the past 17 years and helped many people feel more relaxed, peaceful and cared for.

Watch this blog for more news about Working Well Massage in 2017.

 

 

By Sue Shekut, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

I am sad to say that as of January 31, 2017, Working Well Massage will be picking up our chair massage booth and leaving the Whole Foods Market-Gold Coast location at 30 W Huron. We’ve been there for over 15 years and I leave with many happy memories of working in the booth inside this store!

WWM inside WFM Gold Coast

WWM inside WFM Gold Coast

Current Whole Foods Market Store Team Leader, John Edwards has graciously given us notice to allow us to prepare our staff and clients for the closure of our chair massage booth on January 31, 2017. According to WFM leadership, the store needs more seating space in the cafe and our booth is taking up space needed for Whole Food Shoppers to dine in the store.

WFM-Gold Coast seating

WFM-Gold Coast seating

While I am sorry we are leaving, I am extremely grateful that we’ve been able to remain in the store for the past 15 years and been able to give really great massages to WFM team members, Shoppers and to our own WWM staff! Like our clients, I have personally benefited from the convenience and affordability of being able to stop by and get a short 15-20 minute chair massage and pick up a few groceries or a nice lunch or dinner from WFM.

Working Well Massage has been a fixture at the Gold Coast WFM location since 2001, when current WFM Midwest Regional President Michael Bashaw was the Gold Coast Store Team Leader. Since then, Michael has opened numerous new Whole Food Market stores around the country (and in Canada) and WWM has given thousands of relaxing chair massages at the Gold Coast location. We’ve worked with about 7 different Store Team Leaders that have rotated through the store. It has been a very generous and wonderful partnership!

In 15 years, we have seen WFM expand into nearby Streeterville, West Loop and DePaul locations.  And WWM has also expanded, moving into the WFM in Lincoln Park. At one point, we had booths in the WFMs in South Loop, Evanston and River Forest. Once we close the WFM-Gold Coast store, however, WWM will only be in the WFM in Lincoln Park. (Unless other Chicago WFM’s decide to take us on!)

WWM inside WFM Lincoln Park

WWM inside WFM-Lincoln Park

While we are leaving WFM-Gold Coast, we are grateful to Rich Howley, for inviting into the WFM-Lincoln Park store when it relocated in 2009. Rich has been a urstwhile supporter of WWM and has gone out of his way to make us feel welcome and help us meet the needs of Lincoln Park WFM Shoppers! We are hopeful that some of our long time happy WWM clients from our Gold Coast location will make the trek in February to WFM-Lincoln Park to visit us there!

As the manager of Working Well Massage, I’ve had a number of really talented massage therapists work in our Gold Coast location. Some of them have moved on, like Heidi O’Hair to a nursing career; Ann-Marie Provost, to an entrepreneur of natural body care products, Lulu’s Conscious Skincare, in Florida; Ingrid Reyna, now an acupuncturist in AZ; and Rania Baxter who has relocated to Omaha, Nebraska to give her special smile and energy with her relaxing massages!

Luckily, many others have stayed, including Andrew Petrikiv, who will be working at the WFM-Gold Coast location until we close!

Andrew Petrikiv, LMT

Andrew Petrikiv, LMT

Andrew, our most senior massage therapist, has been with WWM for over 14 years. Andrew is seemingly ageless, and continues to provide quality, stress relieving massages, and will continue to do in at our Lincoln Park Location at 1550 N. Kingsbury inside WFM-Lincoln Park.

Najat, David McClinton, and Kimosha will remain with WWM at our Lincoln Park location. And we this past year, we added some new massage therapists with great massage skills to Lincoln Park, including Trina Sanford, Jake Frey, Starlette Ousley and Jeannie Blair. Aaron Hanna, a truly talented massage therapist and Corrective Exercise Specialist and personal trainer will continue to be working a tour Lincoln Park location as well!  David Karall, Patty Marks and Bernard Mangilin (now a massage therapist for the Chicago Bulls), will be in the booth from time to time filling in for our other regular Lincoln Park WWM massage therapists.

Please do stop by and see us before we vacate the WFM-Gold Coast store. And if anything changes or we find another location where we can reopen our Gold Coast booth, we will let you know in this blog!

 

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