Do you know how to pamper yourself without spending a fortune? Have you ever spent a whole weekend nourishing yourself? Day spas and weekend retreats can help you clear away the stress of daily life, giving you a break from everyday clutter and chaos. Most beauty and health treatments can be easily replicated at home. You don’t need to travel, or spend money, or wait for someone else to give it to you. Prepare your favourite food and treatments, and spend some time nurturing your most important relationship: you. Loving yourself is healthy and worthwhile.
Silence is an essential ingredient, so if you have small children do this (or parts of it) in whatever space you have without them (during school, during naps, while they have a sleepover elsewhere) and turn all your digital devices off. No messaging or checking emails. Value your sanity and unplug. I do like to have music playing some of the time.
Sunlight and fresh air are healing and nurturing also. Which of these things could you do outside? See the outdoor bath I scored one weekend, below! Nature is restorative to our energy levels and our souls. Seek out sunny backyards, beaches, parks, botanic gardens, forests, and other wild or cultivated natural spaces, and take yourself there.
I do most of these things some of the time, but occasionally when I have a night or two free without my child I make a date to spend quality time with myself. This is how I do it:
- Clear the table. Sweep all the toys away. Blitz the house. Create some restful empty spaces. Declutter properly if you have time; tackle the things that bug you the most if you don’t. Concentrate on one room, or a corner if you’re short on time. And when you start your retreat, take a breath and let it go.
- 2. Fresh flowers. On the kitchen table, in the lounge room, brightening up a dark corner, by your bed. Prune a blossoming fruit tree, snip off lavender, float camellias in a bowl of water. If you don’t have a flower garden, knock on the door of the prettiest garden in your street and ask. These two beautiful vases of flowers were arranged from a bucket of flowers begged from my neighbour!
- Music. Something relaxing. I like piano music or beautiful vocals like Katie J White or Katie Noonan.
- Candlelight. Eat by it, bath by it. Carry a candle to bed. I put my tealights on little crystal saucers I bought from the op shop. Small china plates work well too, or even aluminium foil!
- Body treatment: scrub, body oil, body butter, turmeric masque, face steam. Equal parts sugar and oil make a slippery body scrub (add vanilla or cinnamon from the spice cupboard). Coffee grounds also make an invigorating morning scrub, and smell delicious. Plain organic coconut oil is a great body oil. This is me testing the turmeric masque on my foot, in case it stained! (It didn’t.)
- Warm bath with any of the following: book, wine, tea, chocolate, floating flowers, bath salts, essential oils, muesli, mango… I like to keep a handtowel within reach, to keep my bookreading hand dry. Calendula flowers float well, and heal and detox your skin. Geranium petals (shown here) are cheap, cheerful and good for skin. Roses are luxurious, antidepressant and suitable for all skin types; make sure they haven’t been sprayed. Rose, jasmine, palmarosa, lemon and lavender are great bath oils (3-5 drops only, swish well).
- Herbal tea and smoothies. Detox: green tea, ginger tea. Relax: licorice tea, chamomile tea. Energise: yerba mate, rosemary tea. Winter: chai tea, golden milk. Summer: kombucha, chilled mint tea. This green smoothie contains avocado, dried stevia and kale from my garden, with homemade kefir and soaked almonds.
- Favourite food: low sugar brownies. Good dark chocolate. Tropical fruit platter. Chicken soup. Lasagna. Organic green salad. What makes your body feel good? Buy yourself the ingredients and make it. If you don’t enjoy cooking, make it beforehand or ask someone to cook it for you. This is a whole batch of black bean brownies for me to eat all weekend by myself!
- Yoga. Align your body and calm your mind. Follow a DVD. Get an app. I like to do yoga on logs. 🙂
- Meditation. Try a bodyscan. Do a barefoot walking meditation, where you allow yourself to become aware of each shift of your body, the texture, moisture and warmth of the ground underfoot. Zentangle. Hug a tree.
And if you really can’t get time away from the family, just do it anyway, lego and all!
What do you do to nurture yourself?