The holidays are fast approaching! If you’re feeling a little run-down and like your to do list is massive, I have an idea for you – spend a day at the spa.
Not the real spa, but a home spa.
About a month after I completed my yoga teacher training at Yoga Tree, I needed a reboot. Between doing a lot of yoga and ignoring all other parts of my life for a month, my house was a mess and I could barely wrap my head around all the things I needed to catch up on. All I wanted was some relaxation, rejuvenation, and a little pampering, but I also needed to get some serious stuff done.
My thoughts kept drifting back to my birthday earlier that year. It was by far one of the best birthday’s I’ve ever had. I spent the day at the spa relaxing, reading, and pampering myself. I was craving that same feeling of serenity and indulgence (without the large spa price tag), so I created a spa day at home.
Since my home is nothing like the spa, I dedicated a day to recreating that experience:
- Cut out all distractions: limited my time in front of the computer to only accomplish tasks I wanted to cross off; no Facebook, limited email, and definitely no TV.
- Create a beautiful space: Rather than cleaning the entire house at once, as I went about my day I cleaned different areas of my home. When I made my green juice, I cleaned down the kitchen. Before taking a bath, I cleaned the bathroom. I lit candles, opened all the windows, burned sage. At every moment, I tried to make the space around me beautiful and peaceful – reducing clutter and making it sparkle.
- Eat “spa food”: I drank green and fruit juices and ate pureed veggie soups. I also made this luscious creamy vanilla cashew milk that tasted like a milkshake.
- Have little indulgences: Part of the spa experience are those little details that feel so luxurious – but are actually easy to recreate at home. Lighting candles, buying flowers, filling a pitcher of water with cucumber or lemon slices.
- Add some amenities: Since my home doesn’t have all the accoutrements of a spa, I left the house to add some amenities to my spa day. I started my morning with one of my favorite classes at Yoga Tree. I headed to my gym with a book (and no workout clothes) and sweated it out in the sauna for 20 minutes. You could also stop by a nail salon and get a quick neck and shoulder massage (or a mani/pedi). Or if you don’t want to leave the house, practice yoga at home with Yoga Vibes. Here are a few spa-like classes: Deep Hip Flow with David Moreno, Find Your Balance with Laura Burkhart, and Cleanse and Release Tension with Stacey Rosenberg.
Basically, I turned a glorified day of house cleaning and errands into a peaceful, serene day that felt like an indulgence. I got as much (if not more) done than if I’d spent the day “cleaning my house and doing errands” – but all of it felt like a guilty pleasure.
The next day, I woke up feeling physically and emotionally lighter. I loved waking up to a clean and tranquil apartment. What’s funny is that it could have just been another day where I stuck around the house and took care of chores. But by changing the purpose of it – centering it on how I want to feel versus getting things on my to do list done – made it a much more pleasurable experience. And I have to say, more productive: instead of avoiding doing chores by watching TV or playing on the internet, I enjoyed the process as part of my “cleanse” and sprinkled it with delicious little pampering activities. I might make it a goal to have a spa day once a month.
Why do you go to the spa? To feel relaxed and rejuvenated, cleansed, and pampered. All of that is incredibly important, and we shouldn’t wait for a once-a-year splurge to feel that way. At the core of everything you want is the desire to feel a certain way. Figure out how you want to feel, and if you are creative you can fulfill all your desires in small ways in addition to the big ones.
- If you want to feel relaxed and rejuvenated: take a long bath with delicious smelling salts and read a good book or a magazine you don’t normally read while sipping cucumber juice. Make it a full-body treatment by doing a scrub and a mask.
- If you want to experience a beautiful, tranquil place: make your space beautiful and tranquil. For me, part of doing a spa day at home was cleansing, inside and out. While I was drinking green juice and cucumber water, I was also cleaning the spaces that I was spending time in, lighting candles, adding flowers.
- If you want to feel luxurious: add a little luxury to your home spa day. Buy a fancy treatment you can do at home, a new scented candle, flowers, a magazine you normally don’t buy but love to read
Prepare for your home spa day the same way you prepare for a day at the spa: Make sure you have everything ready that you want to take with you, and do whatever self-care stuff you would do before going to the spa so that your time is really focused on creating the ambiance of how you want to feel, rather than taking care of business.
Creamy Vanilla Cashew Milk
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
- 5-6 dates, pitted and soaked overnight (separately) and drained (reserve water)
- 3-4 cups water (use reserved date soaking water)
- 1 vanilla bean (scraped) + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
- Dash salt
- Dash cinnamon
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Using less water makes gives it a melted milkshake consistency, and feels very decadent.
Number of servings depends on how much water is used – use 3 cups for a creamier drink.
Craving those same feelings, I decided to have another spa day today. As I’m typing this I’m sipping my green juice, and as soon as I’m done I’m powering down and focusing on what I need to feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the rest of the holiday season with a bang. I hope you can create a peaceful and luxurious space for yourself over the next few weeks so you can recharge and finish 2014 off right.
About the Author: Martine Holston