At some point in the workweek, it’s not uncommon to feel a bit spent, a bit low on our precious inner resources. It’s nothing to feel guilty about—although we too often punish ourselves for not being Wonder Woman 24/7. (Psst…no one, not even Beyoncé, is Wonder Woman 24/7.)
So instead of beating yourself up, why not treat yourself to a calming night of pampering? I promise it will replenish your soul juice more effectively than any harsh self-criticism.
There are no shortage of ways to pamper yourself on a weeknight, but the following suggestions focus on detoxification of the mind and body. After all, having a healthy body and a kind mind are the root of feeling jazzy, or at least, un-miserable. There’s just one rule: Put your phone in airplane mode or turn it off. Technology (besides relaxing music and the right lighting, of course) will not intrude on your night of detox pampering.
1. Take a divine bath. I’ve already detailed ways to take the best bath of your life, but the basic point is simple: create a soothing environment in your bathroom—one that is a little out of the ordinary. You can easily elevate your bathing experience with a handful of Epsom salt, fresh flower petals (rose is a good choice), and a few green tea bags. The mineral-rich bath water will nourish your skin while the fresh scent of the petals (or essential oils if you don’t have petals on hand) will soothe your nerves.
2. Drink fruit-infused water. After a hard day, it’s easy to reach for a bottle of wine, which is fine on occasion, but your body will thank you for drinking enzyme-rich fruit infused water instead. While lemon is always a good choice, try experimenting with interesting combinations, like strawberry and cucumber, or basil and mango.
3. Give yourself a scalp massage. Not only will a good scalp massage help you grow beautiful hair, it will also aid in easing any tension nested at your temples. You can massage your scalp with or without oils. The most important part is to go slowly and apply good pressure. While you’re at it, give the back of your neck a little love.
4. Practice aromatherapy. An essential oil vaporizer is an easy way to enjoy your favorite natural scents without harmful chemicals. Here’s a quick guide to essential oils. Alternatively, you can use a soy candle with a natural fragrance to uplift your spirits. The Coye Candle Co. is one of my favorite brands of toxin-free candles.
5. Cleanse your pores and relax your nerves with a DIY steam facial. If you don’t feel like going all out for a bath, a facial steam is a fairly fuss-free way of feeling the love of hot water. Adding tea to your steam facial gives skin a nice antioxidant boost. Rose tea is my current favorite for this treatment. Spearmint is also a good option, especially if you’re feeling stuffy.
6. Treat your skin to a mask. There’s nothing like noticing the healthy glow of your skin to make you feel a little better about the state of everything (this is true for me at least!). A mask is a quick way to infuse your skin with some beautifying minerals. I’m currently obsessed with The Little Alchemist Cacao & Banana Face Glow mask (pictured here). It’s made with raw cacao, banana, acai berry, green papaya, zeolite, and turmeric root. Clay is a well-known skin purifier, and I love thinking about all of the grime being lifted away–that may sound a little strange, but such thoughts are common for a skincare nut such as myself. There are several options for DIY masks, too.
7. Give yourself a non-toxic mani/pedi. Ok, so painting your nails (with any kind of polish) will not actually detoxify your body, but I am not one to deny the magical, spirit-lifting power of a manicure, so go for if! It’s pretty easy to find 3-free or 5-free nail polish brands that avoid the nastiest chemicals.
8. Detox with your dry brush. While there is some debate over the merits of dry brushing (can it really give you nicer legs? your legs are already perfect), there’s no doubt that it stimulates your circulation, and if you’ve been setting at a desk all day, you will definitely feel better, body and soul, once you get your juices going. Plus, it’s a great way to exfoliate.
9. Sip something hot. My go-to after a hard day is a cup of low-caf or non-caffeinated tea. I’m a huge fan of these beauty teas. If I’m feeling physically spent (sometimes from over-zealous office air conditioning), a cup of hot chocolate is in order. I like making my hot chocolate with almond milk, raw cacao, and stevia—guilt-free and antioxidant-rich. It’s especially lovely to share your something hot with a roommate or S.O. My husband is always citing his favorite study: Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth, or, as he explains, “Why I Brought Hot Chocolate on our First Date.” (What a schemer!)
10. Wind down with Lunar Yoga (Chandra Namaskar). One of my favorite Yoga gurus, Shiva Rea, has created a series of asanas that salute the oft-neglected moon. Rea’s version of Lunar Yoga involves slow periods of stretches, hip openers, and intuitive movement. Even if you don’t have one of Rea’s DVDs, you can get into the lunar mood by slowly moving through deep stretches as if you were doing them under water. Focus on your breath, and flow in a way that suits your body’s current needs. It may also help to practice where you can see the moon. Moon Salutation helps quiet stress and balance your energy (rather than heat you up like Sun Salutaion).
What are your favorite ways to pamper yourself and detox?
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Photos: Mary Luttrell