Late January. Enough said. A matter-of-fact friend says of every situation, ‘love it, leave it, or do something about it’. So I did. I booked in for the Shiodara Treatment at my local Gina Conway Aveda Spa. Not only was it utter bliss, it was also the source of a more general ‘aha moment’ about how to de-blah.
The spa always ticks the feel-good box, partly because it’s so atmospheric. Every effort is made to evoke feelings of tranquility and well-being with candles, soft music and aromatherapy oils. People speak in hushed tones. The lighting is dim and welcoming. You come mentally prepared to shed thoughts and habits that deplete your energy. By booking an appointment, you’ve consciously created space and time to transport yourself to a place of nurturing. Ahhh, that feels better already.
So what was this epiphany as I lay in a state of total relaxation, having warm oil dripped onto my forehead and scalp in a steady, blissful stream?
Surroundings. We could all benefit from being more mindful of our surroundings. How could you improve your space to bring more feelings of calm and well-being into your life? Tranquility can flow when you surround yourself with people and things that inspire comfort and positive emotions.
This doesn’t mean refurbishing your space to become an at-home spa. It can be simple things, like de-junking your living space, beautifying it with flowers and objects you love, or burning scented candles to add ambience, if that’s your thing. My friend Christine Livingston gave me a gift of DIY zen in a Diptyque candle. PS: I don’t save it for best. In fact, I always feel more inspired and in tune when I make the effort to light it. Note to self: the simple things really do make a difference.
Mirroring. What inspired me to book the Shiodara Treatment was reading Horst Rechelbacher’s book, Aveda Rituals: A Daily Guide to Natural Health and Beauty. The whole Aveda philosophy resonates with me. But one concept that really stood out this January was ‘Mirroring’, or self-reflection, to become more present in the present. Perhaps a conscious daily ritual could – like going to the spa – put us into a frame of mind to better connect with ourselves (without the spa price tag!).
Without sounding too ‘out there’ for some of your tastes, mirroring consists of reflecting on what has happened so far that day, and adjusting yourself accordingly for what’s remaining. It’s a regular check-in. So say you have a latte after lunch every day. That might be a good opportunity to mentally scan today’s achievements vis-à-vis your objectives. Am I working and living as I’d like to be today? Am I mindful of the energy I’m giving others – does it nourish or deplete those around me? What could I change to get back on track? Simply being aware of where you’re at right now can help you adjust where you want to be this afternoon, and indeed in the bigger picture. You’re stepping outside of just responding to everything by choosing how you want to handle and grow with each challenge.
Part of the January blahs are weather-induced. Some are caused by holiday excess, both physical and financial, and feeling discouraged as our new diets, exercise regimes or alcohol bans fall by the wayside. Spa wisdom might be to surround yourself with beauty and nurturing on a regular basis because, as the old chestnut goes, you’re worth it! So you ate a donut, maybe several, and swigged back a few martinis. You were too knackered for the gym last week. Instead of abandoning your new habits altogether, how would it be to practice daily reflection, to be still for a moment, and find your way back to where you need to be?
Light a scented candle and let me know your thoughts.