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Isla Hannah Knight is the founder of JustUWellness. Here, she tells us how to beat the lockdown blues by creating your very own home spa to stimulate the senses and leave you feeling wonderful
Lockdown has changed our daily lives right now and if you’re planning a wedding, the chances are you are having to be creative at the moment to get certain things in place or even having to leave some of the elements of planning until another time.
On top of that, we’re all missing things from ‘normal’ life, whether that’s after work drinks or meals out, clubs and exercise classes or just getting some pampering.
I know lots of people are struggling without being able to get certain treatments, whether that’s getting their hair or nails done or a regular massage or facial. Despite the memes on social media joking about how we are all going to emerge from lockdown looking like yetis or similar, for many, these treatments are also their way of relaxing and getting a little “me time”.
For me, the ultimate way to access luxurious treatments is to go to a spa for a day and I bet many people are looking forward to being able to do that again. But, in the meantime, why not set up your own home spa? You could put aside some time and space for yourself to relax and rejuvenate.
Close your laptop, turn off your phone and thoroughly switch off. Here is my advice for creating your very own home spa, one which will stimulate all of your senses to ensure you will feel wonderful.
1. Looking good
Making sure your sense of vision is appropriately stimulated is key to putting you in the right mood. Clear away any clutter and products that you are not using before-hand. Staring at a messy room or the toothbrush holder is going to detract from the authenticity of the home spa experience. Ideally the area you're using should be calm and muted in colour but, either way, low lighting is relaxing. Candles are a winner here, although if you're not a candle fan you could try LED or fairy lights in a clear jar (battery powered only in the bathroom, of course) or go retro with a lava lamp.
2. Sensational smells
It's no good retiring to the bathroom for your home spa experience if it smells of bleach or other cleaning products. Create the perfect ambience by airing the area well beforehand and then adding some scented candles or essential oils. Decide what you want from your home spa and select your scents accordingly. If you want to emerge calm and relaxed, try some lavender; if you're feeling anxious or stressed and need something to uplift you, bergamot is the scent for you; to invigorate you after a hard day, I'd recommend grapefruit. If you have, or can get hold of, an aromatherapy diffuser, you can combine scents for specific outcomes. For example, for a sense of happiness, you might want to combine equal measures of frankincense, bergamot and orange. You only need a few drops to create the right ambience, so be careful not to overdo it. You're looking for a serene environment, not to leave with your nose begging for mercy!
3. Sounds right
The background noise is also essential to set the right mood. Make sure you can block out intrusive noise such as next door's TV, dogs barking and the competing music choices from your own household. Again, decide on your mood and pick your home spa backing track accordingly. For example, if you have the lavender scent for relaxation, choose something gentle in the background. It may be a cliché, but whale songs really are relaxing, or you might choose meditation or healing gong music. If you are trying to lift your mood and energy, try something a bit more vibey and upbeat. If you don't want to spend ages planning a playlist, there are some great Apps on both iOS and Android, such as Musicovery and 8Tracks.
Once you have the ambience right, you can get to the most important part which is the sense of touch. Why not start with a gentle, dry body brushing session, followed by a shower, alternating between warm and cold water to stimulate and invigorate your skin and then relax in a deep, warm bath. If you're using exfoliators or face masks, use ones that cleanse gently and without leaving you feeling red-raw. When you leave the bath, make sure you have chosen your softest towels and bathrobes to relax in afterwards, plus fluffy socks or soft slippers. And make sure you apply top-quality moisturisers or oils that feel silky and luxurious against your skin.
5. Taste sensation
Whether you associate a spa day with health and healthy treats or with decadence and luxury, you can pick food and drink to accompany you in your home spa experience. Make your favourite fruit smoothie or green/chamomile tea or have a bottle of bubbles on ice. You could snack on sweet grapes, dark chocolate and mixed seeds and nuts or mock-up your favourite cream tea treats. While you’re stocking up on essentials, why not pick up a fruit you’ve never tried before, such as lychees, star fruit or papaya. If the purpose of your home spa is to pick you up and invigorate you, what could be better than a party on your taste buds to really liven you up and send you back into lockdown life stimulated and revived?
Hopefully, these tips help you to enjoy a home spa experience, which will break up the rhythm of lockdown and make the time spent that much more pleasure both during and after your home spa. However, if you’re experiencing more serious problems and, nice as a spa is, it’s not really going to help solve them, then I’d suggest getting some outside, remote help.
There's a range of implications for people’s mental wellbeing at this time. Some people are very anxious about the whole situation and worrying about the health of their loved ones, others might be concerned about their career and financial future, some are simply struggling with not being able to go out and see friends, particularly those who live alone. By the same token, as much as some families are enjoying spending more time together, there are many that will find it very stressful being with a partner, children or friends 24/7, especially if they already have a difficult relationship with a partner or household member.
A lot of counsellors are now offering their services online or on the phone. You can even get counselling over text messaging, if you feel that is a better option for you. Be sure to do your research before-hand and find a counsellor that has appropriate qualifications and experience. Also consider where you have the space and privacy to talk to a counsellor within the confines of lockdown.
As someone who has a passion for wellbeing, I do hope that this article is helpful to get you through lockdown and I’m sure we are all looking forward to the end of this time, when we can emerge safe and well and look forward to a healthier future – even if still in need of a bit of a trim!
Isla Hannah Knight is the founder of JustUWellness. JustU is a booking service, accessed online or via the JustU App, that gives you the power to book a wide range of wellness treatments with the click of a button. JustU links users with professional salons and lifestyle providers.