Valentine’s Day is here, and whether you’re coupled or single this holiday, you deserve to celebrate and love on yourself. One of my favorite ways to treat myself and the ones I care about most is by taking a trip to the spa – something I haven’t gotten to indulge in since the coronavirus pandemic began almost a year ago.
Although COVID-19 continues to cancel our plans for big events and outings, especially during holidays and major life moments, that doesn’t mean we can’t honor those days with meaningful experiences at home. So, this Valentine’s Day, why not bring the spa experience to the safety and comfort of your own home?
I, for one, will be spending this “month of love” transforming my tiny New York City bathroom and bedroom into a zen, restorative, self-care-centering oasis. Here’s how:
Draw Up an Herbal, Mineral-Rich Bath
If you have a bathtub in your home, drawing up a warm bath is one of the easiest ways to create a home spa experience. It’s pretty easy to concoct a mix of herbs to steep in your bath – like your very own tea, full of ingredients to soak your skin in, absorbing their medicinal qualities. Healthline has a great how-to for making your own “bath tea” to naturally reduce pain and inflammation. Alternatively, Foria Wellness‘s trio of wellness Epsom bath salts instantly elevate any bath with ingredients including kava, lavender, calendula, ginger, and hemp.
Even if your bathroom does not have a tub, you can still enjoy this practice by filling a bucket or bowl with warm, herbal water to soak your feet and/or hands in.
Dim the Lights & Place Scented Candles
Quarantine has made me candle-obsessed, and I’ve amassed quite a collection of candles, spread out across just about every surface of my apartment. I think what I love most about candles is that the flickering flames and aromas instantly set the tone and (mentally) transport me to another place entirely. By dimming the lights in your space and lighting a few candles in a scent that soothes you, that “spa-like” mood can be achieved in two simple steps.
Brown Girl Jane‘s perfumed candles in “Velvet Moon” and “Warm Cashmere” are vegan and formulated to encourage feelings of romance, comfort, relaxation, and sensuality. If you are sharing this home-spa experience with a partner, Maude‘s jojoba oil-based candles are designed to be poured onto the skin once melted to inspire and enhance intimacy.
Listen to a Meditation or Soothing Playlist
To make your home spa day a complete sensory experience, honor the time you’ve made for self-care and relaxation with a playlist of songs that encourage you to wind down. While there are a number of great playlists of mellow, spa-worthy music, I encourage you to take the time to create a playlist of your own that can guide you into the precise mood you are trying to set. Whether you’re trying to feel sexy, or calm, or happy, or rested, choose songs that take you to that place when you listen to them.
During or after your bath, you could also find a meditation to listen to in order to focus your breath and settle your mind. Mama Glow founder Latham Thomas’s “Beditations: Guided Meditations and Rituals for Rest” is a great option if you’re looking to get grounded and recharge your physical, cognitive, and spiritual reserves.
Treat Yourself to a Face Mask & Massage
While facial treatments are not exactly mask-friendly, it’s totally easy and enjoyable to tend to your skin at home. I keep a stack of sheet masks in my refrigerator for easy access whenever I need a quick self-care moment, right next to my jade roller and a Taïla VAYU toning mist. If you prefer a clay mask, Follain’s dual detox mask is gentle on your skin as it dries, and leaves your face soft and supple after its been washed off. After applying a mask of your choosing, be sure to take the time to gently massage the pressure points and tender spots on your face and neck, draining your lymphatic system with a roller, Gua sha stone, or even your fingers. ORA sells a great acupressure kit and has a number of resources to make facial massage simple and effective if you’re not sure how to start.
I have extremely dry skin and am admittedly bad about moisturizing. To break that bad habit, I try to make exfoliating my skin and applying lotion a whole experience. In addition to being a gorgeous spa, Milk + Honey also have an amazing line of products to bring the spa feel into your own home. Their body polish No. 5 literally smells like dessert, and once the scrub has been washed away it leaves behind an oil that can be massaged into the skin. Massage can also be deeply sensual, whether performed alone or between partners, and Rosebud Woman‘s entire suite of products cater to intimate self-care.
Another way you can recreate popular spa services in your own home is by giving yourself a manicure or pedicure. For me, the ritual of methodically painting each nail is very meditative, and I love sundays studio and Terra Beauty Bars non-toxic, vegan polishes and nail care kits.
Put the Screens Away & Devices Down
One of the most underrated parts of visiting a spa is that they make you silence your phone and lock it away until your time with their services is through. Quarantine for many, myself included, has felt less like “work from home” and more like “living at work,” and screen time is at an all-time high. There are days where my eyes are darting from my TV to my laptop to my cell phone and back again, and I can feel the strain it’s putting on me both physically and mentally.
I challenge you to make it a rule that when you are experiencing your home spa, you keep your devices out of reach and stay truly present with yourself and your senses without the potential distractions of work or outside communications. If you are sharing this experience with someone else, they will be grateful for your undivided attention, and you may be surprised what comes up once you’ve eliminated the possibility of text or email notification interruptions.