Last year I posted a blog, on how to Restore and renew your creative spirit. In this blog, I talked about the importance of self-care to prevent burnout and suggested several ways to achieve this including a Spa day at home – given the restrictions of lockdown.
The right time
This weekend the opportunity for me to enjoy a D.I.Y. spa day presented itself at the perfect time. The perfect time because I was at a low ebb:
- A recent bereavement
- A heavy workload
- Recovering from a migraine and vertigo.
My thoughtful daughter sent me a package of destress goodies for Mother’s Day because she knew that arranging my father’s funeral and other associated matters was taking its toll. This wonderful gift included: Soft fluffy socks, destress bath oil, scented candles, a moisturising face mask, a bottle of Prosecco, and some luxury chocolates. The chocolates did not last long and the Prosecco is waiting until we can invite guests back into our home, but the other goodies were perfect for my spa day.
My yoga teacher was offering a two-hour restorative yoga session live on Zoom Spring Radiance Retreat on Saturday 10th April – so that had to be the day of my D.I.Y. Spa.
An honest account of the day
I dedicated the whole of my day to self-care and relaxation. It was exactly what I needed. This was yesterday and I am still in the zone. So, in the spirit of continuing to be kind to me, I am writing this week’s blog on my experience, rather than attempting to create something new. This will be an honest account, complete with unflattering photographs.
The night before, I had a dream about my spa day – I was that excited! In my dream, a couple of dear friends and my daughter turned up to share the day with me and although I was pleased to see them, I was a little disappointed that I did not have the day entirely to myself.
7.30 am – I sat at the computer in my nightclothes with a cup of tea and wrote for a couple of hours. Always a great start to the day.
9.30 am – My husband got out of bed – my signal to stop writing and join him for breakfast. We prepared smoked salmon with scrambled eggs and I made a cappuccino. We often enjoy a special breakfast at the weekend. I knew that it would keep me going until late afternoon and I would have time to digest it before restorative yoga at 3 pm.
11.00 am – I went for a walk by the sea, as it is walking distance from my door. Tempting as it is to share a photo of the beach as it was this morning, tide out – an expanse of sand and bright sunshine, it would not be an accurate record. That morning the sky was overcast, there was a bitter wind, and the tide was in. I walked along the Greensward rather than risk coming into close contact with other walkers on the promenade and cut my walk short.
Back home. I gathered together all of the things that I might need for my spa day. I felt as though I was a child again setting up an imaginary game. We are fortunate that we have two reception rooms and so I have taken over the front room for yoga, meditation, and Zoom. This is what I thought I might need:
- A couple of rolled-up towels and fleeces to use as bolsters in yoga
- Aromatic oils to roll onto my skin
- Scented candles
- Eye mask
- Yoga blocks
- Cleanser and moisturiser to prepare for head and face massage
- Moisturising face mask
- Nail manicure and polish things
- Laptop – for Zoom classes
- Journal and pen
I used everything except the nail manicure and polish things. In addition, I set up scented candles around the bath, bath destress oil, and matches to light candles.
That all took some time to gather together. I gave strict instructions to MOH not to disturb me and that if anyone phoned, I was not available. I found some Spa music on YouTube and used my phone to play it through the TV.
After a mug of camomile tea – not my usual choice but I thought it would be more calming than a caffeinated drink, I was ready to go.
1.00 pm – Head and face massage.
I had a recording of a class on yoga facial acupuncture led by my yoga teacher Jocelyne Leach. You can join her virtual classes and sign up for the next virtual restorative yoga retreat here: https://www.facebook.com/corevitalityyoga
However, there are free facial acupuncture demonstrations on YouTube. I found this one:
The head and face massage took an hour and was incredible. I had experienced it once before and remembered that it made me very relaxed and sleepy. It was a great way to start the spa part of my day and did wonders for the last traces of a migraine.
2.00 pm – My daughter had sent me a moisturising face mask by Simple as I have dry and sensitive skin. I had not used this before and didn’t know what to expect. It was a folded, heavily moisturised mask in a sachet. I unfolded it as instructed and placed it over my face. Set my phone for a 15 min alarm and then I lay back and relaxed. The spa music was playing through the TV and by then I truly felt as though I was at a spa.
2.15 pm – Originally, I had planned to have a relaxing bath before restorative yoga but I was so relaxed I didn’t want to rush around. Instead, I reclined my seat and relaxed with a book. I am reading Jo Thomas My lemon Grove Summer perfect escapism.
2.50 pm – I prepared for the restorative yoga class which started at 3 pm. Jocelyne’s Spring Radiance Retreat was excellent. It didn’t finish until 5.15 pm but I have no idea where the two hours went. All of that time was spent in relaxing poses, just being. Unless you experience this yourself, it is hard to imagine just how uplifting and restorative it can be. I had a journal with me but was too relaxed to record anything. I recommend Jocelyne’s restorative yoga classes and retreats but you can also find some shorter classes on YouTube and add a Yoga Nidra class.
5.30 pm – I was starving. I had intended to prepare a healthy salad but with my bones turned to jelly and not having the inclination to stand I just grabbed some carbohydrates – a sandwich and a bar of chocolate. Next time I will prepare a meal in advance that I just have to microwave. MOH had fended for himself so I didn’t have to concern myself with preparing a family meal.
6.15 pm – I ran a bath, poured in the destress oil, and lit candles. I don’t know how long I lay there but by the time I got out, dried, and put on my snuggly pyjamas I was totally relaxed.
My evening finished with a Romcom – Notting Hill.
Anyone can create a D.I.Y. Spa day. What you include will be personal to you. Make sure you protect your time and space by:
- Turning off phones and removing batteries from the doorbell, and/or asking others in your home not to disturb you.
- Avoid all social media – however tempting it is to share a record of what you are doing.
- Wear cosy, comfy clothes that do not restrict.
- Make the space relaxing with candles, music, lighting.
It was the next day – this morning when I went for a run by the sea that I realised some of the benefits. Before my spa day, I was feeling anxious about work and overstretched. Running by the sea I had absolute clarity about my work, ideas for new projects, inspiration for my creative writing, and a feeling of peace and tranquillity.
I won’t wait so long before booking my next D.I.Y. stay-at-home spa day.
And as promised a very unflattering image. I may use it for this year’s Halloween card.