It’s getting cold, and I find the fall to be an extremely stressful season. I feel great loss with the passing of the sun, the leaves, and plants. It takes a lot of care and mindfulness to stay on an even keel during the darkness.

Pampering in any form helps. It really helps.  And taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be stressful.  Having a “spa day” can happen at home, at a local gym or Y, or, indeed, at a spa.

Spa Day Part 1
Being at home can be luxurious. I spent a moment at Duane Reade on my way home from work and I picked up my at-home-spa essentials:

Mud mask for my face
Packet of bath salts
A couple of vanilla-scented candles.

I spent less than $10 and made my way home, where I assembled my new spa gear in the bathroom and located my favorite champagne massage oil (from Sabon–lasts forever) and eye pillow. Candles lit in bathroom, bath drawn and HOT, bath salts dissolved, mud on face. It’s really silly and that’s enough to make me feel good.

At Home Spa Bath

Soaking with my eyes closed, the scent of vanilla, and nothing to do for the next hour–total luxury. Even when I open my eyes all that I see are the flickering candle flames. The bath salts have made the water super soft. I don’t know if I’ve soaked for 3 minutes or an hour and it doesn’t matter. Time totally changes–the construct of it dissolves. So does my body. In the mineralized hot water all of my muscles just let go. In reality, I later learn, I’ve soaked for 15 minutes. That’s all that it took to relax and refresh.

A brisk cold-water splash to dissolve my mud mask and I step out for a vigorous toweling off. I mean vigorous. I want to get the blood flowing for spa day part two: champagne oil massage!

Spa Day Part 2
I am a massage therapist, but self-massage is something that we can all do. It’s instinctive. Here’s what I do. Just a little oil will do (or lotion). I lightly apply the tiniest amount from ankles to knees, working in light sweeping motions upwards, stimulating circulation of blood and lymph. I continue in the same way for my thighs, arms, and torso, always working towards the heart. Hands and feet are special. They work so hard all the time and we don’t even notice. I squeeze and gently pull fingers and toes, and spread my palms and feet, opening them up.

Spa Day Part 3
I have 20 minutes left to my spa day and I choose to spend it with an eye pillow covering my eyes, bolster under my knees, and a small hand towel supporting my neck. My whole body is supported and resting, while my thoughts further drift away. Believe it or not, I feel energized and refreshed after this treatment–which is great because I have to go out and teach a couple of classes.

Spa day doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t even have to leave the house.  Enjoy!

Coming next: I spa-day in Turkish steam bath and Russian saunas!

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