Has it been a while since you’ve had time to go to the spa? Does the idea of spending money on a massage or facial feel a little too indulgent with your family’s current budget? The good news is you can create your own retreat at home. Take an afternoon or even an hour and transform your home, backyard, or a room into your own private get-away. Taking time for much-needed self-care is an important part of renewing your energy so you can be the best you can be, as a woman and a mother. Here are some simple suggestions for creating your own retreat at home:
Empty the House
That’s right, tell everyone to beat it. Or, said in a nicer way, make an agreement with your family that they’ll schedule time away from home so you can have quiet time for yourself. This may sound like a crazy idea, or nearly impossible, but if you plan ahead you can make it happen. In fact, time alone might be all you need in order to feel refreshed and renewed.
Treat yourself to a luxurious soak. Only twenty minutes in a hot bath can do wonders for achy muscles or a bad mood. Water itself is very healing, and by adding your favorite bath salts, oils, or bubble bath, the benefits are multiplied. Light candles and play soft music to create a relaxing mood.
The Scent of a New Woman
Transport yourself to another world with aromatherapy. Essential oils, the pure essences of plants, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely. You can use them in a bath, massage them into your skin, or boil them in water on the stove to create a natural aromatherapy humidifier. A couple of my favorite oils are lavender and peppermint. You can easily order them online or purchase them at your local health food store.
Garden Party for One
Sometimes all we need is a little fresh air and a soft pillow. Set up a comfortable outdoor chair, pour yourself a cup of your favorite tea, grab a stack of those magazines or that book you never have time to read, and just relax. A couple of hours spent enjoying a luxurious afternoon in the shade, especially in springtime, can lift a dull spirit and rejuvenate a tired soul.
Music to Your Ears
I’m often amazed that my life can get so busy I forget to listen to my favorite music. Take some time to fill your home with the songs you love, or grab your iPod and headphones and relax in your favorite chair. If moving to the beat is your thing, blast some dance tunes and let loose in a Risky Business way. (Remember the house is yours, so feel free!) Whether you choose to relax and listen or dance your you-know-what off, music can be your therapy.
Naps Aren’t Only for Cats and Babies
Give yourself the treat of an afternoon nap. Whether you’re indoors or out, a short nap can be one of the easiest ways to feel rested and refreshed. Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provide more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning (though the last two hours of morning sleep have special benefits of their own). The body seems to be designed for napping, as most people’s bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoon, about eight hours after waking up.
Yoga at Home
Yoga is an excellent exercise that energizes and relaxes the body at the same time. Add a yoga class to your in-home retreat by popping in a yoga instruction DVD. There are many wonderful yoga classes available, tailored for student levels from beginner to advanced. You can find them online or at your local bookstore or library. Light a few candles, put on your favorite yoga pants, lay out your yoga mat, press play on your DVD player, and you have your own in-home yoga studio. Namaste.
Dive in to a Great Adventure
A pleasure for many women is having the time to get lost in a favorite book. For some of us, this can feel like a real indulgence. Go ahead. It’s your retreat. Put on your cozy pajamas, pour a cup of hot tea (or cold lemonade, depending on the weather), grab that book you’ve been longing to read, and curl up in a comfy chair. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the experience.
Explore Your Creativity
Gather art supplies – colored pencils, paints, clay, sketchpads, magazines, notepaper, music, etc. – and open yourself up to your creative muse. Research fun creative projects online, or visit your local newsstand or bookstore for a interesting craft magazines or books that inspire you. Give yourself permission to play!
Write Away Tension
Writing in a journal or on a pad of paper is a great way to let go of the busyness and noise of your mind. Your thoughts will have a place to rest and you can let them go. After writing out a few pages of thoughts, I often find myself feeling more relaxed, with a clearer mind and a more grounded body. As Norbet Platt says, “The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”
About the Author
Margalit Ward, an ICF-Certified Life and Executive Coach, co-founded Get Up Girl Coaching, which specializes in women’s empowerment programs. She had four years of formal training in Counseling Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Margalit is a contributor to HuffingtonPost.com, FindBliss.com, and a coach for life by me.