It’s been a busy week, you’ve just finished fourteen paintings and turned in sketches for fourteen more which need to be completed within the next few days. You’re overworked, you’ve missed some events you would have liked to experience and you haven’t seen or talked to a person besides a store clerk in a month. That was my life for a while and it was effecting me mentally. Normally on a deadline I’d push through, try to watch or listen to something happy and end up exhausted afterward. This time I focused on self care.
Sometimes self care is answering every email in your inbox and paying your electric bill and other times it’s creating a spa environment in your home with only a few hours to spare. I had just delivered the new batch of sketches and was waiting on approval. I knew I wouldn’t have time to fully go anywhere but wanted to keep true to my promise to myself that during deadlines I would dedicate time to balance both my mind and body. I decided on a home spa.
There’s a few key factors to creating a home spa:
The Location- Bathroom and bedroom work best for the home spa. While you’ll be doing all the cleansing, bathing, steaming etc in the bathroom the bedroom offers a relaxing in between space for reading, lounging, and meditation. You can also purchase a bath bar or a simple shelf to create a bath bar. I chose a inexpensive white shelf I found at the hardware store for $9.00 but a nice bamboo bath shelf will cost anywhere between $20-40. Adding eucalyptus to the shower head allows for the plants natural oils to defuse through the air when you are showering as well.
Music - I don’t like a lot of spa music but I do enjoy this flute and rain combination. https://youtu.be/jGpWfY1saxY
Or this classical mix of Chopin.
Lighting - A few tea light candles or some scented candles should do the trick giving you a warm atmosphere. Some scents to consider: lavender, chamomile, rose, sandalwood and ylang ylang.
Engaging the Senses - In any spa experience you’ll notice that all your senses are engaged Find things that are pleasing to your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. This will give you the full experience. Infused water, teas, and fruit and nuts to snack on. Incense or oils for scent, adding greenery or fresh flowers to the bathroom for sight, a nice bathrobe or fresh towels and the textures of different scrubs and masks for touch, and relaxing sounds for hearing are all wonderful ways to enhance your experience.
I start by cleaning my bathtub with grapefruit and salt. Take a grapefruit and slice in half. Pour some ground sea salt onto the grapefruit half and scrub down the tub with it. I like to use Himalayan pink salt. This gives a nice scent and allows you to energetically cleanse the tub before getting in. Gather some towels and place them by the bath. I like to roll one for a head rest and then place the others aside. If it’s winter you can place fresh towels on the radiator so they’ll be warm when you get out of the tub. . Prepare the recipes in advance and place them on the bar in a way that is pleasing to you. If you have a diffuser you can place that in the bathroom to give you an aromatic lift. I place fresh flowers and my journal on the bar too in case I want to write. I also place flower petals nearby to add to the bath. Cucumber slices or chamomile tea bags for the eyes are a great addition. For tea I usually choose jasmine, green, mint, or chamomile. The contrast between the cool infused water and the warm tea is exceptionally nice for the senses.
Homemade Peel Mask #1
Lemon and lime juice
1 tbsp unflavored gelatin
papaya or pineapple
tiny pinch of cinnamon
In a mortar and pestle or a bowl smash up the papaya or pineapple, add in the lemon and lime juice. I like to squeeze a little of both about 2 tsp of each into the mixture and add the cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl add the gelatin and some hot water until it makes a glue like consistency. Add in the other ingredients and then quickly spread the mask onto your face. It’s okay that you do this before you get into the bath. This mask dries fairly quick so you’ll want to put it on before it sets. Allow to dry 15 mins and start from the chin pulling up as you pull off the mask.
Homemade Peel Mask #2
1 tbsp of unflavored gelatin
2 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp honey
Heat the milk until it’s hot but not burning. If you have a microwave you can do it there, if not I like to make myself some golden milk and just save 2 tbsp from that. Add the gelatin to the milk and stir until it become glue like, then add the honey. Once the honey is mixed in spread mixture over your face and allow to dry for 15 mins and pull upward from chin when removing.
Baking soda and 1 tbsp water act as a neutralizer after you make the peel masks. You can pat your face down with cotton and the neutralizer after the mask.
Oatmeal Mask (for dry skin)
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp full fat plain yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1 egg white
Mix together and allow to sit on face for 15-20 minutes
2 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Honey
Mix together and allow to dry fully on face. If you do this for three days straight acne will start to disappear.
1 tbsp honey
Mash up banana and add honey until they become a smooth paste. Smooth over face and allow to set for 15-20 mins.
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup epsom salt
1/4 cup sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup powdered milk
a few drops of lavender oil
Mix together and put into bath for silky skin.
Coffee Sugar Scrub
1 cup Brown sugar
The mornings coffee grounds
Coconut Oil (Use as much as you feel necessary to get a good consistency.)
Mix together and place in a bowl.
Lemon Sugar Scrub
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 cup of sugar white or brown
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp almond oil or vitamin E oil (optional)
Lemon essential oil (you choose how much)
Mix together and place in a bowl
Mix coconut oil, honey, and banana together for a wonderful mask for dry hair. The portions depend on how much hair you have. See what works the best for you.
Mix apple cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup) with lemon and 1 tbsp of honey for oily hair.
Slice of grapefruit
2 slices lemon
2 slices lime
1 slice of orange
Place into a jug with water and allow to sit for a few hours before drinking. You can also use cucumber water or any other concoction you may think up.
After you make the recipes and set up, fill up the tub, light the candles, and start the music. Create a ritual around your spa. I like to create a pathway on the floor leading to the bath so it feels like a sacred space that I’m stepping into. I also like to practice face massage while in the bath. While the claims are that it smooths skin and fades wrinkles it also feels really nice and relaxing. Here’s a two minute version which is a really lovely way to quickly alleviate stress. I didn’t know how much tension I stored in my face until I started facial massage.
Feel free to create your own recipes or add and subtract from the list I have given. Make sure while in the bath you give yourself the time and space to do absolutely nothing. I had to train myself to do this and now that I’ve learned it’s really nice to let go for a little bit. After the bath I like to moisturize with shea butter and then lounge in my bathrobe for a little bit. Snack on fruit, chocolate or anything else your heart desires. As you go forward try to block off specific times to do your home spa and make a habit of it. Don’t feel guilty for taking a little time for yourself. Not only is it good for the mind and body but it gives you a chance to reset and refresh for the next goal you have to conquer.