Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Anyone with a never-ending to-do list, a pile of unopened emails, and an overscheduled life can really benefit from a self-care staycation. (That pretty much covers all of us!) Sure, luxury, all-inclusive resorts in beachfront destinations are inspiring, but let’s face it: We can’t always jet off to a wellness spa every time our stress levels soar. Still, there’s a lot to learn from these wellness destinations. They offer a chance to zero in on aspects of your health that you might not be tending to on the regular, and they ensure you take the time to recalibrate and manage stress in a healthy way.
Despite the word “self” in self care, it’s not at all selfish to take time to recommit to your exercise routines, rebalance eating habits and sleep patterns, and even get your kinks massaged out. Taking this time is similar to putting on your oxygen mask—when you show yourself some self-loving care, you can show up for everyone else with more love and attention (and probably more patience!). And the cool thing about self care is that each time you practice it (some forms more regularly than others), it can boost your commitment to be healthier, eat better, move more, and so on. Here’s how to plan a self care staycation to boost your health in a weekend.
Try a new fitness class. Luxury wellness retreats offer a variety of fitness classes to inspire you—from aqua spin to yoga (perhaps by the beach) to HIIT. Truth be told, the type of exercise you choose is less important than the fact that you’re consistently active, and the benefit of a wellness retreat is that it allows you to try out different activities so you can discover which ones you enjoy. During your weekend self care staycation, sign up for one or two new fitness classes to see which one sparks your interest. You could try spin or pilates or hot yoga or barre—just make it something new and exciting and from there, perhaps you’ll find you’ll be interested in making it a weekly habit.
Eat more veggies. Food is definitely a focus of luxury wellness resorts, and while it’s way more relaxing to have someone else cooking and serving you (not to mention on clean-up duty), you can get the health benefits just by trying to eat more veggies during your self care weekend at home. Make a goal to eat veggies at each meal. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Here are some thought-starters:
• Start your morning with a smoothie made with 1 ½ cups fruit, 2-3 cups veggies (such as baby spinach or kale), protein (from Greek yogurt or a clean protein powder), a healthy fat (nut butters or seeds), and some health-boosting seasonings (such as ginger, cinnamon, matcha, cardamom and cocoa powder).
• Have an omelet packed with mushrooms, spinach, and grated zucchini.
• Make a batch of vegetable soup and have it for lunch over the weekend.
• Serve dinner with a salad and a hot veggie.
• Embrace vegetable swaps for starchy carbs, such as cauliflower rice in place of rice (or as a 50/50 blend), zucchini spirals instead of pasta, lettuce leaves instead of a tortilla wrap, and so on.
Plan a massage. Arguably one of the best parts of a wellness getaway is the spa, so why not make an appointment at your local spot and pamper tense muscles and overworked minds? If you don’t have a go-to spot, check places like Gilt City and Groupon to find a good deal on a salon with great ratings. If you want to take your wellness staycation to the next level, add on a facial, scrub, or cryotherapy session, a treatment that may reduce muscle soreness and accelerate recovery from certain activities.
Put your phone on do not disturb. One of the benefits of going to a wellness destination is that the spotty wi-fi helps us tune out social media and email distractions. An easy at-home hack: Put your phone on do not disturb (or better yet, airplane mode) and allow yourself this one weekend to physically and mentally shut down. The benefits of this are wide-ranging. Being more present throughout the weekend will serve you come Monday because you’ll feel more relaxed and focused. Limiting time on social media tends to do wonders for our emotional health (no more scrolling through feeds of people who are living their best lives!), and it allows us connect more deeply with those around us. And of course, limiting screen time within an hour before bedtime is a healthy habit that can boost sleep quality.
Create a relaxing bedtime ritual.Certainly, a quiet room and an ocean breeze sets the stage for restorative sleep. Sleep is intricately related to your health and wellbeing so even though you don’t have an ocean room, don’t sideline this step during your self care staycation. Make sure your phone is set to do not disturb (if you haven’t already done this) and spend the hour before you go to sleep doing something relaxing. It’s not necessary to spend the entire hour participating in one ritual, but it is a good idea to find a few ways to let your brain and body know it’s time to unwind. Here are some ideas to explore:
• Read a book
• Cuddle with your cat or dog
• Practice some light stretches
• Do some deep breathing exercises or a guided meditation
• Draw or color in an adult coloring book
• Use a foam roller and practice gentle self-massage
• Write an entry in your journal or gratitude journal
Drink more water. One advantage of a luxury wellness resort is the endless supply of deliciously-flavored waters that are always on hand. During your self care staycation, make H20 readily available and drink it often. Try to sip one to two glasses of water in each of the following day parts: when you wake up to mid-morning; mid-morning to mid-afternoon; mid-afternoon to dinner, and after dinner. If you’re not fond of regular water, spruce it up like they do at the wellness retreats. Healthful add-ins can include lemon or lime, fresh herbs (like mint or basil), cucumber, and mashed berries. Beyond just replacing less healthful beverages, water can boost your mood and productivity, improve digestion, and lead to healthier, younger looking skin.
My wellness philosophy emphasizes eating well, coping with stress healthfully, developing good sleep habits, nourishing our relationships, and staying active, but in my experience (personally and professionally), I often find that we might over-focus on one or two of these elements and overlook the rest. If you think about your own wellness routine as a stool with many legs, you can imagine that the stool might become unbalanced if a few of its legs get the short changed. A self care staycation can help you rebalance your wellness routine in just a weekend, and based on my personal and professional experience, these routines, when practiced consistently, can lead to much bigger shifts in your health and wellbeing.