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Self Care

Transcript from The Radical RMT Podcast #030 - Randi Kay

This episode features Randi Kay, a massage therapist and yoga instructor from Fargo, North Dakota, who helps her clients discover intuitive healing that leads to the best self-care for their body. She has her own podcast called simple self-care where she interviews guests and shares her own wisdom on simplifying seasonal living and intelligent body awareness. She has been featured on the minimalist podcast and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to speak with her. Please enjoy this episode with Randi Kay.

This is the radical RMT podcast where I talk to radical massage therapists chat about the unique lifestyle we have in this profession and cover topics we care about beyond the massage table. My name is Krista Dicks. I'm a registered massage therapist with over a decade of experience. If you want an inspiring career that leads to an incredible life. Stay tuned.


Krista Dicks: Randi, thank you so much for being a guest on the radical RMT podcast. I am super grateful that you've taken some time this morning to chat with me.

Randi Kay: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Krista Dicks: You are a seasoned veteran when it comes to podcasts. You have your own podcast called “Simple Self-Care”. How long have you been doing that podcast for now?

Randi Kay: Oh, gosh, it's been a couple of years now. And it kind of just started as something that sounded fun to do. Because I like producing things. And I had been blogging and growing a newsletter about self-care for a while before that. And so I'm just like, well, might as well give this a whirl. And I had no strategy. I had no like, launch. I just recorded a few episodes and then just kind of went from there. So and it's grown a ton. And it's really fun and a big part of my business now. But yeah, podcasting is an adventure for sure.

Krista Dicks: Yeah, absolutely. So you describe yourself, you're a massage therapist, you teach therapeutic yoga, you're both a massage, like a certified massage therapist, and you're a certified yoga instructor. And then you book through both of those practices you teach about, like you're in the inner wisdom that we all have, and how we can begin to heal ourselves just by listening to that inner wisdom. Can you give us your bio, like, can we learn more about you how you got interested in the work that you do and how it evolved?

Randi Kay: Sure, yeah, I think with a lot of people in the healing industry. It comes from personal experience, and a personal storyline or evolution of our own healing. And so for me, I was diagnosed as a term I use loosely, but with depression as a teenager. And so I just, I really just started experimenting with what helps me function like a normal person. And I and I didn't want to be a depressed person my whole life. And so I just was doing medication, I was doing therapy, I was doing all sorts of stuff. And I really didn't start to see progress with that until I started learning how my body actually works, what different aspects of what depression could be and where it could be coming from and experimenting with my lifestyle. And I have always been interested in massage therapy for some reason, I think it was because I grew up a theater kid, and we just gave each other back rubs all the time. Very touchy group of people.

Krista Dicks: I have heard that before.

Randi Kay: And I have two older brothers that always made me give them back massages and stuff. And so I don't know, it just I liked that aspect. And then I started learning more about my own healing and what was helpful. And so I just decided randomly to go to massage school. And once I got there, it was like everything clicked. And I just loved learning how to really heal something. And then I immediately started applying that to myself. And I started experimenting with my diet and with yoga and meditation and being out in nature and just getting away from more of the clinical traditional approaches to mental health and health in general, and trying to heal aspects of my body. And I just went down that rabbit hole, I loved learning about it. And then seeing those results with clients very quickly and helping them use their body as a way to tune into deeper things that were going on. And the great thing about being a massage therapist is that you have to take continuing education to stay licensed. I just got to do cool trainings all the time. And I've traveled all over the world, doing trainings, and then eventually became a yoga teacher. And I have a travel junkie, so I kind of use that as an excuse to go to cool places, learning adventure that's been really fulfilling.

And as the work evolved, and as my business evolved, I started to think of like, well, what am I really helping people do like all of these different aspects of healing that I've learned? What's the point of it, you know, like, I don't want people to just come to me, and I fix their neck pain, and then send them on their way, and they become dependent on me or other practitioners like, true healing and the role of a healer is to help people heal themselves, and to really find those root causes. And so eventually, it's, that's why I started writing about self-care, before self-care was a cool thing to do. I've just like, how do you make your lifestyle healthy, because that's where it all comes from. It comes from how we're living day to day, moment to moment. And if we approach our healing, any other way, it's not really going to heal us, we have to approach our healing, day to day moment to moment if we're going to change who we are over time. And so I do bodywork, still, after all these years, because it's a great gateway, it's a tangible way for people to feel what's going on, in all these other layers on themselves. And because touch is just so important in our world today. So it's, yeah, so this is kind of a long tangent I'm going on. But it started with my own healing and trying to not have a diagnosis define me and to have a healthy relationship with it. Depression, in my circumstance, doesn't go away. It's not all of a sudden, I healed it. But I, I feel that I am healed with it. I feel like I know, myself and my depression well enough to use it as a powerful tool in my life and a powerful part of myself that makes me good at what I do and makes me sensitive and all these other positive qualities. And so that has motivated the work that I do in the education that I get, and how I tried to approach healing for other people is how can we be at peace with our pain? How can we be at peace with the things that our bodies and our lifestyles that are somewhat out of our control? And how can we really feel empowered, around the things that are in our control? And so that motivator has given me the bandwidth to be able to take it to online courses and the podcast and really trying to teach make it accessible for people to learn these other aspects of healing themselves?

Krista Dicks: That's awesome. So yeah, so many directions that I want to go with that. So you're in the states you're in Fargo, North Dakota, correct?

Randi Kay: Yep.

Krista Dicks: And so in Ontario, and then in Canada, you know, we have just some different regulations and different ways that we can operate within our scope of practice. And I have been really fascinated by trying to break down those layers from like, the touch aspects that this person keeps coming back in, like, as you said, with neck pain, then they become dependent on you. Or, or low back pain, you know, and, and we as practitioners, if we're willing to do the work, and we're willing to learn, learn more, we've done a lot of self-development, you know, you can start to understand that the certain parts of the body are connected to certain life events or certain emotions, but it's very difficult in our profession to sort of cross that barrier like that, and to just sort of introduce like that conversation while they're on the table and can you describe how you initiated it? Or was it how did you bring that into your practice? Or was it just a just right from the beginning is something that like, Did it go from body work then to that and I know you've described the mind body connection before how there really is no mind and no body it is one. But yeah, so can off my tangent can then you describe how you discovered and that was your best approach and how it was perceived?

Randi Kay: Yah that is a really good question. It happened somewhat organically just because of how I am people have kind of always opened up about random things to me whether I ask them to or not. And so then I just, I kind of always brought it back to my scope of practice, like, very clear on what I'm able to do and what I'm not. And so if people go off on something that I know that I'm not qualified to treat, I say, well how do you think this applies to your neck pain? How do you think this applies to your energy levels, like, and just making those connections and connecting the dots that what is happening in their daily life and the emotions they're feeling is directly being reflected into their bodies. So one way I've worked around that is, with the intake process, I have a very lengthy intake form that people fill out. And we cover a lot of ground, in that and I ask questions about their stress about how they feel about themselves in their body, and the goals that they have with their health. And when we start talking about that, even though I'm just filling out the intake form, they're answering a lot of their own questions, and they're making a lot of their own connections. And so it's just facilitating an opportunity for them to have the light bulbs go off. And then I have a lot of, I educate a lot about anatomy, about the pain signal about the stress response, and just let them know how their body works. And so people that don't like that don't come back to me. I’m very clear with people. And I've gotten to the point where, you know, I'll meet someone, like, at the grocery store, wherever you meet people these days, I don't know, randomly talking to someone and I tell them what I do, and I'm like, Oh, I got to come into you, my back's been killing me. And I'm, I initially want to be like, I don't know, if I'm your person, like, You don't just come to me to be fixed, you know, I tend to just attract people and hold space for people that really want to heal their lifestyles. And so I make that clear, with my intake form. And with my follow up, and on my website, and I just am very clear about what my goals are with people. And then I start to attract those people more and more that want to go there.

But, you know, like I said, you need to be careful about your scope of practice and the language that you use. And because it's all tied together, you can always bring it back, like when I do self-care, mentoring with people. I'm not a therapist, I'm not those kinds of things. And so when we go off those things, well, how do you feel like what the work actually tagged team with a lot of therapists, so we will discover something mentally, cognitively. And then I'm like, well, how do you want to treat that with a daily habit, with a daily ritual that can calm down your nervous system, and help you feel empowered in your body or help you gain confidence in XYZ. And so it's just listening and honoring them in that process. And then bringing it back to the great thing that we get to do as therapists, massage therapists, is work with that tangible stuff and work with that physical expression of these underlying things. But if as practitioners, we don't recognize that it's an underlying thing, you know, we can only go so far with our progress as well. And then you have a team of healers, and practitioners that you refer to, I have therapists, counselors, doctors that refer to me and I refer to them. So that's where we get to be in a community of healing and not be so protective of our clients, and think that it's a competition or whatever, like, and I refer clients to other massage therapists that have different specialties then me. And it's been very fulfilling to create a community around healing and around the client. And I actually have more clients because I do that. So it's just kind of switching that mindset until like, personally as a practitioner, what are you about, what is the purpose of what you're doing and what do you truly want to give to the people that you work on? And when we can focus on that, then all these opportunities come about and clarity comes about and we're able to go deeper, we can only go with people where we've gone ourselves. So that's the fun part about doing our personal healing, I guess..

Krista Dicks: Absolutely. So what do you define as self-care? It is a buzzword. But how would you describe it?

Randi Kay: I have come up with a little definition of, it's the act of tuning into your true needs, and then acting accordingly. So it can include, had a curious bubble baths, you know, all that stuff. But as long as those are activities that allow you to check in to yourself and not check out, there's a lot of like, checking out a stigma that people say, with self-care, to escape, I just need to blah blah blah. And it's like, we want to do things that allow us to, like, what's the best gateway to our inner wisdom. And then the second half is honoring what you hear, you're acting on those nudges and the intuition that you get, and that's where it gets kind of tricky. And I work a lot with my students and clients on learning what their inner wisdom actually sounds like. But that's an aspect of self-care that we don't even think about. So we've trained ourselves to become this very external culture, where we're always looking outside of ourselves, like, Okay, I know, I need to do self-care, let me go look on Instagram, what everyone's doing for self-care. And so I have a membership, a seasonal healing membership that I just started and right now, as a group, we're working on that inner wisdom part. And it's difficult to teach, because I'm like, you’re not going to learn it from me, I can teach you what it is and how maybe you can access it. But like, when we embark on a healing journey, we have to be willing to do the work that it takes, and not just seek out these external sources. And so really, creating a safe space for you to tune into yourself. And all that is there, I think is what the essence of self-care is, how can you build a trusting relationship with yourself, so you can let your guard down, and you can calm down the nervous system, and the adrenaline that's going all the time, especially in our world today, where there's a lot of fear and a lot of unknown, even subconsciously, you know, we need to be doing these practices, we don't lose it, you know, it's okay to lose it every once in a while, this work is needed. So we can continue to show up in and evolve with how our world is evolving. So generally speaking, self-care is this really powerful way of creating an intimate relationship with ourselves so we can make our own decisions on what we need. And when our practices are going to be sustainable. They're not going to be sustainable, if we're looking at what so and so is doing and we try to do what they're doing. Because your body is not their body. Your life isn't their life, it's very unique set of circumstances. And our bodies have completely different stories. So when we start following the nudges on what we need, then that's when we can create practices that move past the fluff and buff and into practices that are actually healing us on a cellular level.

Krista Dicks: For sure, how did how do you think we got so disconnected? Like, why do we continue to seek the external to ignore or drown out that inner wisdom that we're completely guilty of it, as well. Like, how, how do you feel that like, you did mention fear as well, but how did we get to disconnect?

Randi Kay: It's been happening for generations. I've really been digging into some of the history of how we've gotten to this point, and it's very interesting and depressing. And I've had to set some boundaries around that. So we won't go down that rabbit hole right now. But maybe right from right now working backwards. We are more connected to what everyone else is doing more than ever, we can see what people are eating, and what they think of everything and what they're doing. And you know, it just and then the news has been created to invoke fear and drama and entertainment and what we watch, like everything we consume, our bodies process, everything we put on our body, and then marketing. So as a business owner, I've learned a lot about marketing. And there's something called emotional marketing, where they get into your head and your emotions, to convince you to buy something and work from that space of you don't have enough, like, our whole culture for decades, if not longer has been convincing us that we are not enough, you know, we go to school where we don't know the information we go to, you know, I don't want to diss any religious institutions, but there's a lot going on and within those that aren't the healthiest about even how to connect with your own spirituality, there's a recipe for that you have to follow. And so like, it's just ingrained in almost every aspect of what we're doing, to whether it was intentional or not, I don't think that there's just these evil people sitting around being like, how can we ruin all the humans? Like, maybe I know they're there, but I don't know how much power they actually have. But like, so that's just something I always tried to acknowledge.

And I'm glad you asked that question it’s because we think it's all our fault. We think that we're flawed because we feel anxiety. And because we can't relax. And because it looks like so and so knows how to relax, but I can't relax, like what's wrong with me, you know, and I'm guilty of that, too. Like, of just feeling like, I should be like this, or I should be like that person. You know, even thoughts I had this morning about, I'm pregnant for the first time, thinking like, I'm a holistic healer, I need to have this perfect pregnancy, or I'm never cranky, and I don't get any zits. And I like my, you know, like, there's all these stories that we tell ourselves that just come to us. And that's, I think, the other important part of clearing the clutter of what we're consuming, and taking a moment to really check in with ourselves and tune into this really beautiful part of who we are. And I think of it as like, as you would look at your own child, like, can you look at yourself that way? And tune into that really wonderful part of you and be like, what do you need? And sorry, I have been listening, and function from that space as frequently as possible. Because if we don't, then all those other people win, you know, all that negative garbage out there, wins. And I think that's why we have so many issues in our culture is because we don't have the resources or even the encouragement or the education to be healthy, and to truly be healthy, on like a core level. And so I bring this all back to my scope of practice, which is self-care, how can we make our lifestyle? And what we choose to do for healing, powerful, effective, and empowering, and a way a physical, tangible way for us to counter all of the negative stuff that's happening in the world, and to make space for the positive stuff that's happening to allow ourselves to feel joy. If you're stressed all the time, and your neck hurts all the time, and you're not eating well. How are you supposed to enjoy your life, you know? So it's really this, you know, I just keep coming back to what I know. And what I've used. There are all these complex issues that we're just starting to tackle and as a culture right now, which is very exciting, but it's going to be very messy, very uncomfortable, and very painful. And that is out of my scope of practice. In a lot of ways, so we just keep coming back to we just forget, or we don't think that these ways of caring for ourselves is how we change the world, but it kind of is. So that's what I believe at least.

Krista Dicks: That's awesome. Do you have a different definition for self-love, then is that another buzzword?

Randi Kay: I guess I haven't created a definition for that. But I feel like self-care is an expression of self-love. So self-love is a, I have a little guide on my website right now, cultivating self-love. So I guess I have a definition. But um, it's more of showing up for yourself. And why I'd call it cultivating self-love is because we already have it. A lot of people think like, well, how do I love myself? And I don't know, and that's so weird. But it's already within us, or else we wouldn't brush our teeth, eat food, you know, we wouldn't be doing anything. And so it's there. Because at our core level without thinking about it, we love ourselves, we care for ourselves. And so it's a matter of, how do you tune into that, and amplify that. And that's where I think self-care falls into it, is, it's a tangible way of showing up for yourself and being like, you deserve it. And there's lots of fun ways to cultivate that. But I think it's tuning into the love that's already there. And one thing that I do is I just look at myself in the mirror, like, I stare into my eyes. I try to like without any filters, and I look at my body, and I approach all those negative thoughts that initially come. And then I look at the parts of my body that I love, and I look at the parts, I think of all my bodies done for me now. And look at how I've still been able to function and do all that I do, regardless of how I treat it and I'm really into body oiling. So taking herb infused body oils, and rubbing them all over my body, and just appreciating so. So it can look a bunch of different ways. And I guess I'm now I'm just thinking about how I like show self-love and thinking about that my brain. But like it's a practice, all of these ideas are actual practices you need to be doing in your life. That's how it looks for me. But it really Yeah, it's a choice. Even if you don't believe it, you're still going to choose to cultivate the practice. Like, I want to feel more self-love. So I'm going to choose a couple of things that feel like an expression of that, and, experiment with it and get curious with it. And let those practices evolve, and practicing gratitude. And I think all those things are just really important. And then it just starts to creep in over time. Especially when you feel healthier in your body. You're able to access the like I said the positive things and make space for those things. But yeah, it's tricky. It's tricky to sift through all the gunk, but I promise that you already have it. It's just exposing it and not overthinking it.

Krista Dicks: Right. And then having that practice obviously helps you show up for your clients better as well and your family, your friends, your entire your entire life as well. Just being just having those practices and just building that habit. Of course it's going to start to show up another ways that will benefit everybody.

Randi Kay: I look at self-care also as part of my job description. Especially as a body worker, like I think all of us I don't know, hopefully you haven't, but I know I have experienced going to a very going to massage therapists that is not taking care of themselves and they get all of their energy, all their stress on me and I left those sessions feeling like crap and a little violated. But I'm also extra sensitive to energy. But yeah. But like, we are very important space holders. And how we are, and how we approach somebody's body is just so important. And so if I don't do what I do before sessions, to ground myself, and to set the right intentions, it's just not good for anybody. So it's a part of my like, opening the studio, opening my practice rituals. And I do speak to a lot of different businesses and how to incorporate self-care into the workplace. And I invite them to make it part of their job description too, because especially a lot of people in leadership positions. It's like, how you are affects how everyone is. And if you show up leading with your stress and pain, then that's, like, think of the people that you look up to, you know, like, are they leading with that? It's just not, it just doesn't make any sense. So that's a big motivator for me. And it's, it's a big motivator for managing my depression and staying in the arena, as they say, because it serves my own health, but it makes me better at what I do. And if I didn't do any of that, I probably wouldn't have any returning clients. I don't think.

Krista Dicks: Yeah, it'd be different, a different clientele altogether. But why is there so much, I mean, we kind of did touch on it, but why is there so much guilt around self-care?

Randi Kay: This comes up a lot. I think also, it's been happening for generations and generations. And, but I think our current generation is finally moving away from self-care is selfish kind of a thing and like glorifying busyness. I think we're finally starting to wise up a little bit more but this way of operating has been going on for a very long time. And thinking that we have to sacrifice all of who we are to be successful, or to be a good parent, to be a good anything, you have to forget who you are. And we're finding with those generations, all of their health issues now. And all of the wishes they have as they are moving away from this earth. The regrets that they had, is caring so much about that stuff, and not caring about their health enough. And especially, you know, going through our current world situation, where we're down to the bare necessity, or learning a lot of the stuff we were doing was unnecessary, and it wasn't making us happy. And we were missing out on a lot of the stuff that really matters. And so when guilt comes up, I think it's an opportunity to get curious with it. That's like how I mentioned like approaching my depression, like when it shows up. Why are you here? What do you have to say? So when guilt shows up a lot of the time, it's either old programming of something we get to say thank you for sharing, I'm choosing something else. Or it is actually our inner wisdom that's getting kind of manipulated into a guilt type feeling. So it's like I feel guilty I didn’t exercise today. Well why? is it because you have an unrealistic expectation of what your exercise looks like right now. And it's not right for you? Or is it something your body just really wants to do and you're not doing it? And so, all of these negative emotions, feeling selfish, feeling guilty, all of this stuff not worthy. We get to just be like, why is this here? why am I feeling this way? And is it justified? And if it is justified, how can I switch that wording or phrase and turn it into something that serves me? So with all the “shoulds” in our lives, like I should do this, I should do that. Instead ask why should I? And when you answer those questions, you're going to get a lot of clarity. So a lot of this stuff is kind of sticking it, sticking it to the man so to speak, or whomever engrain these ways of thinking into you. But it's, it's breaking those thought patterns and using it as something powerful. And that will actually get us to do something. And I always say to with my students, like, if you create a self-care practice or something you want to do, and it's laden with feelings of guilt or anxiety, then it's not the right plan for you. And you get to modify and modify until it's something that's accessible and easy and joyful. Because if your self-care practice has any of those negative aspects, how much is really self-care, it's not. And so that's the other a powerful thing about being able to tune into yourself, and not have expectations of what it has to look like. And just start with where you're actually at.

Krista Dicks: You also teach on this seasons, and seasonal healing and the way that we can approach our own inner wisdom during each season, I find this really fascinating. And I, you know, I purposely didn't go, I didn't want to learn too much about it, because I did want to I mean, when I learned that you teach it, then I wanted to learn more from you about it. So how do you like, how do you teach on that? And how do you bring that into your life? I just think it's really, really interesting. Because there are obvious seasons to our year, and there must be ways that we can approach each season differently, and what does each season mean? And maybe creatively, you know, emotionally, spiritually. But yeah, I would love to learn more about how you approach the seasons in your own practice, and maybe how listeners can potentially approach either the current season or the next season?

Randi Kay: Yeah it’s a really fun aspect to start to teach. But it kind of came into my life again, very naturally, and not really on purpose. So I live, like you mentioned in Fargo, North Dakota, where winter is very dominant, and extreme and challenging. And I didn't, I grew up in Fargo, but I moved away for a long time. And when I moved back, I moved back in October. And it was right as winter was approaching. And I first of all was like what am I doing, but also, if I can