What’s better than a long weekend at a world-class spa? At the moment, nothing comes to mind.
I recently returned from such a weekend with my girlfriend – our annual reboot at the Miraval Resort in Tucson. It was three days of walks, workouts, yoga classes, skin treatments, massages, and facials. We stayed in a villa that was just slightly larger than my 3 bedroom home, with a private pool and Jacuzzi and a chef who prepared a five-course dinner for us, complete with wine parings.
Sounds like a dream, right? I swear it happened.
The weekend was magicaly indulgent, but being the ever-so-practical French woman that I am, I kept wondering to myself … what would it take to be truly transformative? The average stay at Miraval is between 2 to 4 days (I asked the chef), and while that’s an incredible treat and a relaxing respite, it’s not really long enough to get in shape/change your life/become a Zen master. And so I thought to myself… Wow, if you could spend three solid weeks like this, with exercise, pampering, and a clean, organic diet, you could truly make a change. After all, “they” say (those people who say things) that it takes 21 days to make a habit.
And so, before you hate me entirely, let me tell you a few things I learned, and how I brought a little bit of “spa life” home with me.
Time for yourself is legit
I’m normally like that damn bunny – when I’m not doing something, I’m thinking about what I should be doing. And while, sure, spinning plates and juggling balls while playing cymbals between your knees and a bass drum on your back is cool and all, it can sometimes get to be a bit much.
What winds up happening is a sort of constant state of high alert with the off/on switch stuck in the “on” position. Sound familiar?
Taking a little time for myself did not bring about pestilence – not even a single locust. My worries sat patiently parked in the corner like a fat, smiling little troll, waving every now and then but not making any real demands. I didn’t even wave back.
I always have a lot going on – I like it that way and I rarely say “no” to that which I can do. But I don’t think that taking the last 10 or 15 minutes of the day when I can barely keep my eyes open, to play a little solitaire or crush some candy, really qualifies as “me” time.
In my very full and fairly regimented life, I’ve discovered that I can schedule a few hours for myself. But I have to schedule it and treat it like an appointment.
Since my return from paradise, I’ve started blocking out some time for myself, to include myself in my schedule and do what I want. It may only be a couple of hours, but it’s my couple of hours. And that can be done anywhere.
Superior products are worth every penny
The French woman’s budget for skin care (and underthings) may exceed that of outer clothing and other necessities. That may be partly because she buys only quality pieces of clothing that last and don’t have to be purchased frequently (except maybe for that cute little T-shirt she picked up at Monoprix – the French equivalent to Target), but also because she knows it’s what’s wrapped inside that counts.
Skin care products can be outrageously expensive. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s great, but a lot of great products are quite expensive and, as I have found, are well worth it. But which ones?
Getting a professional facial or skin treatment is an excellent way to try new, high-end products before committing. Or taking a recommendation from a friend, such as from me to you.
For the Face
My aesthetician used a product line called Epicuren. These products are all natural and work deeply to restore your skin. I am fairly religious about my skin care in general, but I could honestly see and feel the difference immediately.
There were 3 products in particular that I truly loved and purchased, and am using them regularly. The difference has been dramatic.
(This post contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you use my link, but it will not affect your price.)
Apricot Facial Scrub: Dead skin cells sit on top of your skin, causing it to look dry and dull. And when you apply makeup, it sits atop these cells causing it to look cake-y and sort of “balled up” – yuk. This scrub has just the right amount of “grit” to strip away the dead skin, leaving your skin feel clean and letting your makeup glide on smoothly. Use this 2 or 3 times a week.
Colostrum Luminous Glow Cream: This creeps some people out. Colostrum is the stuff that is secreted from the mammary glands immediately after giving birth, and it is extremely rich in antibodies (antibodies are proteins that attack invaders – viruses and bacteria and germs, oh my). It is made from cow colostrum, not people colostrum, so unless you’re vegan you should be good with that. It takes just the teeniest amount (about half a pump), used morning and night.
Eye Alive Serum: This one is probably the biggest game changer. I’ve never been a huge fan of any eye cream – to me they just seemed like over-thick, over-priced moisturizers. This one is worth it. I apply the tiniest dab of this that I can pump out, morning and night. The darkness under my eyes is gone, and my skin is smooth as a baby’s be-hind.
For the Body
I had finally come to accept that, ok, at a certain point my skin would just no longer be plump and juicy. But it’s a lie I tell you, a lie! Well, at least so far.
With the right excellent, yummy, oily products to remove the dead skin; followed by excellent, yummy, oily products to fatten it up again, you can take 10 years off your skin – and you don’t have to go to a spa to do it.
ESPA Detoxifying Salt Scrub: I would use this for the smell alone, but it doesn’t stop there. This salty, oily concoction gets rubbed into the skin once or twice a week to remove dead skin. Apply it in the shower (because it gets really messy), then follow with a nice, warm shower. Afterward, lightly blot dry with a towel to let the oils and fragrance linger as long as possible.
ESPA Detoxifying Body Oil: The results are shocking – the texture of your skin will improve before your eyes and stay soft and juicy all day.
Getting my daily moves on
Getting a little exercise in the morning is an important part of my day. It doesn’t take a lot of time, usually only around 30 minutes or so, but sadly it’s often the first thing to go when other demands start closing in. I promise myself I’ll do it later in the day. I know I’m lying.
Can you relate?
The morning walk, the few minutes of shoving weights around, or the occasional yoga class, bike ride, or whatever you like doing, clears the mind, sets the tone for the day, and is one of the best things you can do to stay fit and youthful. On top remedying of a whole host of ails including heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity, recent research even indicates it’s one of the best things you can do to combat Alzheimer’s.
You don’t have to be at a spa or even a gym to get some daily exercise. You just have to value your own health and well-being enough to make it a priority.
Miraval’s mantra is “Life in Balance,” and I did indeed achieve a greater balance, incorporating healthy habits for mind, body and spirit. I hope I’ve been able to share a little of that with you, my friend, even if I couldn’t share the villa, so that you can start making your own healthy habits.
And may all your wrinkles be laugh lines.