health : How to Have the Best-Ever At-Home Spa Day

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:46 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Face it: you could use a day to yourself. But if you can’t swing a whole one, how about half? What about an hour? Any amount of time works for a DIY spa day: a completely customizable way to de-stress. You don’t even need to leave your house.

“The key to an at-home spa day idea is being intentional about unwinding,” says Whitney Crawford, a social worker at Thriveworks in Grand Prairie, Texas, who specializes in stress and anxiety. Doing so can release dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone that boosts mood, confidence, motivation, and energy. 

It’s also a way to prioritize yourself, something that Crawford says many of her patients, especially women, don’t always do. Too often, she says, they feel shame both about feeling stressed and taking time to relax. 

“Self-care is not a dirty word,” says Dr. Françoise Adan, a psychiatrist and chief whole health and well-being officer at University Hospitals Health System in Cleveland. “It’s actually a discipline if we want to bring the best of ourselves to the world.” 

Research suggests that engaging in self-care can improve a person’s well-being and lower their risk of illness. And doing a home spa day is a good way to kick off a regular self-care practice, Adan says. She suggests bringing “little moments” that you’ve learned from the experience into your daily life. 

An at-home spa day is an invitation to take care of yourself, she adds. How you choose to personalize yours is up to you, but experts shared some ideas for creating a relaxing experience. 

How to create a relaxing at-home spa experience

Home is a comforting space, so there’s no better place to relax, says Rachel Lozina, a licensed esthetician and founder of Blue Water Spa in Oyster Bay, New York. Doing a spa day at home is also less expensive than visiting a local spa. 

Plus, you’re in control, and there’s no one-size-fits-all prescription, Crawford says. Choose the activities that you enjoy most and that will help you relax. Here are some ideas: 

Set realistic expectations

“De-stressing can be stressful” for some, Adan notes. It’s crucial to set realistic intentions and expectations for the time and not obsess over perfection.

Don’t try to do too many activities, Crawford emphasizes. She recommends choosing one or two that you enjoy most.

Read More: You’re Vacationing All Wrong. Here’s How to Have a Truly Restful Break

You also don’t have to devote a full day to it, if you don’t have the time. An hour or two will be just as beneficial, she says. 

Create ambiance 

Start by setting your phone to “do not disturb” mode, Lozina says. If you can, she suggests sending your spouse, children, or roommates out for the duration of your session. “Dim the lights, put on some very soft relaxing music, and light candles,” Lozina adds. 

Flowers or essential oils are a nice touch, too, Adan says. Aromatherapy—lavender, citrus, and rose scents, in particular—has been shown to reduce anxiety, especially in patients awaiting medical procedures, according to a 2020 research review. 

Have a long shower or soak 

Soaking in a warm tub can help melt away stress. A small study found that “whole-body immersion bathing”—which means plunging your body up to your neck into warm water—increased blood flow and helped people feel refreshed. 

If baths aren’t your thing, take a long, hot shower, Lozina says. Make it extra exhilarating by exfoliating with a gentle scrub, using a hair mask, and dabbing some eucalyptus oil around your shower. 

Give yourself a facial 

Applying a face mask can improve circulation, boost the skin’s hydration, and provide gentle exfoliation, “all leading to softer skin that glows,” says Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, a dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin.  

But the benefits go beyond your appearance. “The skin on your face is full of neuroreceptors that take feedback from physical stimulation and send signals to your brain telling you to relax,” she says.

Read More: How to Share a Bed While Getting the Best Night’s Sleep

If you’re purchasing a mask, Geddes-Bruce suggests looking for products that target a skin issue that you hope to improve, such as moisturizing or brightening. You can also make masks and scrubs at home using avocado, honey, oatmeal, and yogurt, she says. Avoid harsh acids, like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, which could burn the skin.

Practice breathing and meditation 

Meditation can be intimidating. People often think it’s about completely quieting the mind, Adan says, but it’s really about training the mind to be less reactive to thoughts. 

Mindfulness is one way to practice meditation, and there are many YouTube videos and apps to help you get started. A review of studies found that practicing mindfulness-based therapy helped reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Breathing exercises are another way to relax by keeping your mind focused on counting, Adan says. She recommends 4-2-6 breathing, where you inhale for a count of four, hold for two counts, exhale for six, and repeat. 

Another technique is square breathing, where you inhale for four seconds, hold it for four seconds, exhale for four, hold the breath out for four, and repeat, Crawford says. 

With any meditation or breathing method, start small, maybe just 30 seconds or a minute, and then progress, she says.

Try self-massage

Gently massaging your hands, feet, head, or back of your neck can relieve pressure and help you de-stress, Adan says. Just don’t apply too much pressure. 

“It should be nice and relaxing and comfortable,” she says. “Just listen to your body.”

Read More: 4 Signs Your Body Is Telling You It’s Time to Take a Break

Use your hands or tools like a tennis ball or foam roller, Adan says. Lozina suggests trying a massage gun or other type of massager.  

Incorporate anything else that relaxes you

Your at-home spa day doesn’t necessarily require traditional spa activities. Lozina suggests doing any activity that helps you relax. 

“Read a book or start journaling—all of these will help your mind and body relax,” she says. Drawing, coloring, or even cooking are other relaxing activities to consider, Crawford adds. 

Whatever you choose, savor each step. “Relax and enjoy the whole process,” Geddes-Bruce says. “It’s all intentional, and it’s all about you.” 

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