Spa Day

Taking care of yourself should always be a high priority, but all too often we let me-time slide in favor of other obligations that seem more important. However, your health – including your mental health – is by far the most important factor in your quality of life and that of your relationships. Plan a D-I-Y summer spa day and pamper yourself for a few hours to renew your body, refresh your spirit and reinvigorate your mind. The key is to make the day work for you, choosing treatments, tastes and entertainment options that suit your personal desires.

Set aside a time and place for pampering. Decide on a day that fits your schedule and write it down on your calendar in big, bold letters so that you won’t be tempted to skip it. You don’t have to spend all day long at your personal spa; some people prefer an afternoon pampering session in anticipation of a big night out, while others like to get everything done and settle in for the evening first. Don’t force it – whichever day and whatever time sounds most relaxing is the schedule you should choose.

Arrange to be alone. Plan for a sitter to take the kids to the movies, or buy your partner an afternoon out with friends at the ballpark. This is your time to focus on taking care of yourself, not other people.

Prepare your spa tools. No one wants to run to the store for supplies in the middle of a spa day. Decide what treatments, lotions, potions, candles, magazines, books or music you need, and procure all your supplies well before your spa day begins.

Plan for a healthy meal that is easy to make. Chop your salad ahead of time, have a sandwich ready to go or pick a dish from your favorite take-out menu – just make it fresh and healthy.

Hydrate. Ice down a pitcher of fresh, filtered water and float several slices of cucumber, lemon, lime or other fruit on top. Drink as much as you can all day long! You can also drink decaf green tea, a beverage with no calories that fights inflammation. Skip sodas, caffeine and alcohol – unless a glass of wine is part of your relaxation ritual.

Unplug. No really, unplug. Shut down your computer, turn off your phone and resolve not to check the web for the entire time you’re at the “spa.” If the very thought of being disconnected for a few hours gives you anxiety, then connect the old-fashioned way: invite a friend to share your spa day experience. The world will not end if you don’t check your phone for a few hours.

Start with a warm shower and exfoliate well. You can use a pricey scrub or an old washcloth, just be sure to scrub your skin down well, paying special attention to your feet, elbows and knees. Don’t rush – linger as long as you would like, and apply a deep conditioner or hair mask while you let the warm water rush over your skin.

Light a candle in your favorite aromatherapy scent. Good aromas for relaxing include lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang or sandalwood.

Moisturize deeply right after drying off. Spread a natural lotion with shea or cocoa butter all over your body and let it soak in. Now do it again.

Choose one, two or more of the following treatments, depending on which ones float your boat:

  • Apply a cooling facial mask with all-natural ingredients
  • Try the same mask on your décolletage for smooth summer cleavage
  • Soak your feet in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts
  • Give yourself a manicure and hand massage
  • Paint your toenails a perky summer color
  • Turn on some upbeat music and dance
  • Rub a thick lotion on your feet and massage those sore tootsies
  • Shave or wax your legs
  • Enjoy a steam facial – Boil water, then remove from heat and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Put your head and the water underneath a towel for 5 minutes, and the steam will open your pores.

Meditate and stretch. Let yourself sit quietly for as long as you can, and then move into a few slow stretches and get back in touch with your body. Is there anything that your body is trying to tell you?

Indulge in your favorite entertainment. While you wait for your nails to dry or facial mask to soak in, dive into that new novel you downloaded, thumb through this week’s fashion magazines, watch a classic romance movie, comedy flick or even reality TV – we won’t judge you. Whatever “guilty” pleasures you usually don’t allow yourself, let yourself.

Say thank you. At the end of your summer spa day, before the rest of the household shows back up or you head out for the night, stop and say thank you to your strong body, smart mind and powerful spirit. You are amazing, and you deserve to make a D-I-Y summer spa day a recurring ritual.

Image: Dennis Wong