2016-06-30

Admit it. We've all done it. Surfing the websites of spas like Canyon Ranch

and The Golden Door

. Wouldn't it be nice to spend a week luxuriating in self-discovery and a bit of pampering? But who has the time, money, or both? With that in mind, Beliefnet offers up a do-it-yourself day spa. Don't feel like you have to be a slave to the schedule. If you feel like getting up late, sleep to your heart's content. If you want to lounge in the tub, feel free.

The whole point of a day spa is to have time for self-reflection and relaxation, so make sure to have all supplies bought, the house clean, and recipes whipped up ahead of time. Create the right ambience by surrounding yourself with beautiful things. Here's a checklist of things to make sure you have:

Flowers Potpourri
Candles Soothing music (leave the hip-hop out of the CD player)
Comfy robe and slippers Notebook
Manicure/Pedicure supplies Bath oils or bubbles
Your favorite movie on videotape Plenty of water (it's very important to remain hydrated)



Rid yourself of distractions, including spouses, kids, high-maintenance pets. Turn off the TV, the phone, and the radio. Tell friends not to drop by--unless, of course, you are having a spa party--and get ready to relax.

You know the old saying: Breakfast is the most important part of the day. Well, it's true. Your metabolism needs to be jump-started every morning by vitamins and nutrients that your body doesn't store.

An orange and banana frappe

will give you just the right jolt of vitamin C to start the day, while whole-grain crepes with ricotta and blueberry sauce

fortify you for the day ahead.

What does exercise have to do with relaxation, you ask? Everything. Exercise increases blood flow and releases feel-good endorphins. Moreover, exercise is a stress-buster, using up nutrients that are released into the blood stream during times of stress. If those nutrients aren't used, they settle and become--that's right--fat. And no one's relaxed when thinking about fat.

Take a brisk walk in nature, pop in your favorite workout tape, or throw down that yoga mat and do some sun salutations. Check out our How to Yoga

package or our T'ai-Chi

guide for some ideas.

Take some time for a "spiritual cooldown" and meditate for a few minutes. Try Sharon Salzberg's Lovingkindness Meditation

to cultivate a deep sense of caring for yourself and for all creation. (Print out the meditation, as computers are a no-no for the day.)

Make today's lunch a "Mindful Meal." That doesn't mean minding the calories or your waistline but taking the time to pay attention to the different aromas, tastes, textures, or how many colors are captured in the menu. Try heart-healthy Mediterranean wraps and gazpacho

for some mindful munching.

Many Beliefnet members find that mindful eating

can produce spiritual benefits beyond physical well-being. Remember, food nourishes the soul as well as the body.

Journaling. Maybe you do it regularly, maybe there's a thick layer of dust on it, or maybe you haven't started on the journaling journey, so now's a great time to start!

Grab a notebook and jot down whatever comes to mind. Be thoughtful, be quirky. Be yourself. This journal is for you and you alone. A great idea is to start a gratitude journal. Answer questions such as "What am I grateful for today? What do I like about myself?" Check out our gratitude prayer circle

 for some things that other Beliefnet members are thankful for.

Take your time and stay in the lines. The key to a great manicure/pedicure is patience. Waiting for that first coat to dry can be a killer, but it's worth the wait in the end. (Hint: Make the first brush stroke in the middle of the nail and the second to the left and third to the right.)

Have fun with your color choice. For nail paint on the spiritual tip, check out Tony-n-Tina's "vibrational remedies," featuring shades such as Unconditional Love and Divine Intuition.

You may think of a massage as the ultimate in indulgence, but the health benefits of this hands-on healing have been recognized since the time of Hippocrates. While self-massage

is possible, splurge a little and call in a professional. Many massage therapists will travel with table for a reasonable price, so make sure to take advantage of this wonderful service. New York City-based massage therapist Maurice Rodriguez recommends finding a massage therapist through references of friends or local massage schools and making sure they're licensed (if the state requires a license).

Your massage therapist may have a number of massage oils for you to choose from: peppermint for sore muscles, revitalizing citrus, or soothing rose. Chamomile and lavender are excellent for relaxing massages. Learn more about aromatherapy

and discuss your options with your massage therapist.


Get ready for some quality tub time! Depending on your mood--sedate or silly--use bath oils or bubble bath. We like Thymes' Green Tea liquid foaming bath gel and Lavender bath salts. Or try your hand at making some luscious mango body scrub.

Adding a few drops of your favorite aromatic oil to sea salt provides a perfect soak for sore muscles.

Prop yourself up on a bath pillow (or roll up a clean towel instead) and dig into that book you've been meaning to get back to. For added pampering, have a plate of succulent fruit at hand and plenty of water for hydration.

Take the tub time to apply your favorite face mask or try some of our editors' favorites: Origin's Drink Up for Dry Skin or the Body Shop's Tea Tree Oil Mask for problem skin.



From the tub to the tube, end your spa day with a light dinner and your favorite flick. Grab a plate of Curried Chicken Quinoa Salad

and crash in a comfy chair. Snack on some peppered strawberries in balsamic vinegar with chocolate

while jotting down a final thought in your journal, throw on your favorite PJs, and head to slumber feeling relaxed and rejuvenated from head to soul.

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