When Ally Love was nine years old, she was hit by a car. “I broke my hip and almost died,” she remembers. Because she was a young child, doctors didn’t have a pin small enough to do the surgery Love needed, so she spent five days in traction.
Looking back, Love remembers the lessons she learned about herself, the first being discipline and the second being the physical and mental resilience needed to recover. “I learned that recovering isn’t easy. It isn’t easy on your body and it hurts, physically,” Love says. “It is taxing, draining, and it doesn’t happen as fast as you would like in your mind in most situations.”
The mental resilience she learned came from the hit her confidence took when she didn’t see progress as quickly as she wanted. “I had to be mentally strong, steadfast and focused on the end goal no matter how long it took me to get there,” she remembers. “It continuously shapes my life now because it’s a very strong reminder of who I want to be and I want to be a person that works hard. I want to be a person that is grateful for living every day fully because I, unfortunately, know what it feels like to almost lose that ability.”
Love, the CEO/Founder of Love Squad, in-arena host for the Brooklyn Nets, Peloton instructor, model and Adidas global ambassador, will be the keynote speaker at AMTA’s 2023 National Convention, August 24–26 in Phoenix, Arizona. Massage Therapy Journal sat down with Love recently to talk about vulnerability, confidence and self-care, and the role massage therapy plays in her well-being.
How important are honesty and vulnerability for people looking to grow as people, and live meaningful, fulfilling lives?
When we talk about that kind of commitment to honesty and vulnerability, and when we are all looking to grow and live meaningful lives, I think it’s identifying what our current metric for success is. And that changes.
For this year, your metric for success might be just making the same amount of money or doing similar things to what you did last year. Or, maybe it’s scaling back and saying no more. Maybe it’s going and running a full-out sprint marathon or your fastest paced marathon this year knowing that next year is when you are going to scale back and start planting again.
I think it’s identifying what your individual metric for success is, and it doesn’t have to just be in your professional area. Ask yourself what is your overall metric—both professionally and personally. That establishes where there’s room for growth, and provides growth at home and allows you to live thankfully because you’ve established a purpose. It’s fulfilling because you can start to look at the breakdown of next steps of the process in fulfilling or meeting that metric for success.
Do you use massage therapy? If so, how does massage benefit you?
Yes! I have my own massage therapist that I go to every two weeks. She does Rolfing and physical therapy/massage therapy. It has been very beneficial in that, as an athlete and someone who works out and teaches, it helps me take care of my physical self.
Ultimately our physical, spiritual and mental selves are tied to one another, so making sure that each one of those areas is supported is a priority for me. I make sure that I have a routine.
Massage therapy is preventive care for me in that I use my body as my instrument, so it is a part of my routine and benefits me. It allows me to mentally and physically show up and provide millions of people not only access to a physical kind of outlet by working out but also a space for them to mentally show up and do their best and be themselves on the bike or on the mat.
Self-care is so important. What are your three top go-to self-care tips for people who need to remember to take time for themselves?
- When you get up, be active. That doesn’t always mean as soon as you wake up you need to work out. What it means is you want to be in an active position. Getting on social media is passive—you’re letting someone feed you something that you didn’t sign up for. When you scroll, you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. That is passive and reactionary. What we want to be is in a position to control the narrative, so when we get up, we want to literally be active.
For me, sometimes that is putting on a sermon, putting on an audiobook that I can listen to, or putting on music that I know feeds my soul. I think we want to actively engage with things or people if we can.
- Before I get active, I hydrate. I call it hydration station. I have this big, kind of 90s water bottle that I fill with water and I literally hydrate as soon as I get up. I get my system going. I hydrate my body and then I get active.
- I ask myself this question mostly every day “how or what do I want to feel today” and then I answer it. What do I want to feel today? I want to feel at peace, I want to feel slow, I want to feel fast, I want to feel productive, I want to feel like my best self, I want to feel like I’m my most kind self, I want to be my most patient self today.
Establish what or how you want to feel and let that set the tone. So, again, you’re not reacting to your day. These three things have really helped me with my daily self-care.