by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
My Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012 is starting in just a few days and I’m getting really excited about my trip. But while I’m away, I don’t want to forget about exercising and lose all of the ground I’ve covered in the last several months. And with American Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays coming up, I’m sure many of you will be tempted to let your exercise routine lapse while you’re travelling to different cities to visit family and friends. My advice: Now is not the time to slack off; try to find a way to include regular exercise in your daily routine throughout the festive season and beyond.
And if you need a little extra motivation to get off your butt and move your body, I recently heard the average person consumes 3000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a lot of delicious food! If you workout regularly, you’ll definitely avoid gaining unnecessary weight and you won’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions come January 1.
“So, how do I stay fit while travelling,” you ask? Well, as much as I’d like to bring my yoga mat, 12-pound weights and treadmill on the road with me, that’s not practical. My personal trainer, Jeanette, however, came up with a brilliant solution: Bring an elastic/ resistance tube and use it. That’s the tip to stay fit on your trip.
She suggested I bring my tube with me on my trip because it’s lightweight and fits in nicely in my suitcase and there are countless strength training exercises I can do with it wherever I go.
Jeanette told me I’ve lost almost 24 inches since May and I’m not about to undo all of that hard work by discontinuing my regular workouts. I plan on running, doing abdominal crunches and push ups and using my resistance tube often.
Before launching into the exercises, make sure you’re wearing proper fitness clothes, have a bottle of water handy and you warm up for 5 minutes to get your heart rate up. Also, remember to cool down and stretch when you’ve finished your tube workout.
Obviously, you’ll need a tube for these exercises. Mine is purple (of course) and has medium resistance. It also has a casing over it to protect me if the tube ever wears thin and suddenly snaps during a workout. I think it cost me around $30 at a local fitness supply store but I don’t remember exactly. I definitely recommend adding one to your home gym.
Of course there are dozens of strength training exercises you can do with a tube but I’m just going to highlight seven. I’m sharing these instructions and illustrations with Jeanette’s permission.
1) Elastic Double Overhead Press: Stand on the tube and hold the elastic in both hands with your arms at each side and your elbows bent. Push your arms over your head, keeping your elbows no higher than your ears. Return to the starting position. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Maintain good posture and wrist alignment and exhale while pushing your arms up and inhale while bringing them back down.
2) Elastic Double Lateral Raise: Stand on the tube and hold the handles in both hands with your arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Lift arms to shoulder level, keeping your elbows straight, then lower and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale while lifting your arms and inhale while lowering them. Maintain good posture, abdominal contraction and wrist alignment.
3) Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row: Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Take the end of the tube that is under your left foot with your right hand and the end that is under your right foot with your left hand making a criss-cross with your wrists. (I have to think about this every time). Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward from the hips. Pull up the elastic and raise your hands toward your waistline then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when pulling the tube back and bending the elbow and inhale while straightening the elbow. Keep wrist aligned, abs contracted, and spine neutral.
4) Elastic Single Biceps Curl: Stand on the tube with feet outside hip-width apart. Grab the handle with palm facing forward, keeping your arm extended. Pull up while bending at the elbow and then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets with each arm. Exhale as you pull the elastic and inhale on the return. Maintain good posture and keep the abs engaged and watch your wrist alignment.
5) Lateral Biceps Curl with Elastic (External Rotation): Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Grasp handles. Arms are at each side and palms are facing away from the hips. Bend elbows and pull the tube until the hand reaches the shoulder. Lower the hand and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when bending and inhale while extending the elbow. Maintain a space between the elbow and the side of the trunk, keep abs contracted and wrists in neutral position.
6) Elastic Trunk Sidebend: Stand on the tube with your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Bend to the left, keeping the elbow straight. Return to start. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat, bending to the right. (I just figured out I’ve been doing this one without following the instructions and bending the wrong way… oh well). Do 12 reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale when bending the trunk and inhale when straightening the trunk. Maintain good posture and keep abs contracted.
7) Standing Hip Abduction with Tube (Outer Thigh): Stand on tube with both feet together. Place your weight on your left leg. Keep your knee straight and raise your right leg to the side. Return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat with your left leg. Do 12 more reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale as you abduct your leg and inhale as you lower it. Maintain good posture and keep your ankle aligned in neutral.
I hope you get a chance to try out these tube exercises. I’m sure they’ll keep me busy and fit in the coming weeks. Let me know how things go and I’ll keep you posted on my progress during my Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. And thanks Jeanette for your great idea!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
“The Road to Wellness is up the road and around the corner” was the lead in an article I wrote in 1998 when I was a reporter for the Peninsula News Review. My assignment was to interview a Naturopathic Doctor who had just opened a wellness clinic in Saanichton. At that time, I wasn’t as concerned about health and wellness as I am today (aah… “youth is wasted on the young…” as the saying goes) so I didn’t take advantage of what the clinic had to offer. But now, looking back, (I can still remember the long, white, billowing curtains in the treatment room), I think my conversation with the Naturopath and my visit to his clinic may have had more of an influence on me than I realized because within a couple of years of that meeting, I opened Homespunspa Enterprises, and have been on the road to wellness ever since.
Now, 12 years later, after going back to school to become an esthetician and adding a mobile spa to my business, I’ve come to a new stretch of road. Dr. Oksana Sawiak, who is a friend of my mother’s from childhood and also a holistic dentist (retired), has graciously invited me to spend some time with her in her new Integrative Wellness & Detox Centre, youwell.ca, in Norval, Ontario. Dr. Sawiak is a frontrunner in the dentistry field and throughout her 30+ year career, has focused on mercury-free/biological dentistry and is now delivering lectures on holistic dentistry, non-surgical gum treatment, pain control, hypnosis, and detoxification, etc.
I can’t wait to learn everything I can from her and her colleagues so I can transfer my new knowledge about this super-big topic of wellness to my readers and customers. I’ll be calling on my writing skills from my aforementioned journalism days and will be making regular updates on my blog about what I’m learning so everybody benefits.
I’ve already purchased my plane ticket and will be leaving Victoria in mid November. I’ve decided to call my adventure to the Toronto area, the Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. If you’d like to help support me while I’m on my wellness tour, (and I’d really appreciate this ) please buy a t-shirt or knick-knack from my special collection in my Café Press store. If you ask me, I think those t-shirts and mugs and blankets are pretty-darn cute.
While I’m in Toronto, I will not be available to accept any mobile spa appointments myself until I return but can facilitate any alternate arrangements with other trusted spa practitioners, if you’d like. Just send me an email and I’ll hook you up.
In the meantime, why not buy or rent a copy of the movie or book by T.C. Boyle, “The Road to Wellville” for a laugh and to catch a glimpse of the early days of how this whole wellness movement started in the first place.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Here’s another tip on beating insomnia: wash and change the sheets on your bed, particularly if you had a fitful sleep the night before.
How often should people change their bedding and when was the last time you changed your sheets?
Housekeeping experts suggest changing your sheets once a week or once every two weeks. If doing laundry isn’t your strong suit, try sticking to a monthly schedule (whether you need to wash the sheets or not ).
What do sheets have to do with insomnia?
Clean bed sheets make sleeping easier. Sheets need to be changed often and regularly because our bodies naturally shed skin cells and secrete oils and sweat while we are asleep. These fluids get trapped in our pajamas and bed sheets and can cause bacteria to grow. This will contribute to an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
For those who have allergies to dust mites, it’s important to change bed sheets every couple of days because skin cells are food for dust mites and washing sheets keeps them to a minimum.
And if you eat or drink while in bed, you’re adding these ingredients to the mix. (Does anyone remember the quote, “I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers? ) But crumbs may make you feel itchy and can also attract insects and ants.
Of course, always wash your sheets right away after night sweats, illness, incontinence, food spillage, etc.
How to properly wash bed sheets
Wash your sheets in hot water (120-140 degrees F or 49-60 degrees C) and then dry them promptly. You don’t want the wet sheets to sit around damp in the washer for a few hours before you send them to the dryer or pin them up on the clothes line. Also, use laundry soap that is 1) compatible with your type of washing machine and 2) free of colours and fragrance (especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies). Some people like to iron their sheets and I never understood that until I bought some sheets that are way too wrinkly for my liking, so now I get it.
There’s something really inviting about a bed with crisp and clean sheets, particularly in the hot summer months. And if you’re suffering from insomnia, try to break the cycle and start off the night with a clean slate by making your bed with fresh linens. Once your head hits the pillow and the sheets cover your shoulders, I guarantee you’ll feel better and the agony from the night before will vanish into the night sky.
Let me know if you like this sleep tip in the comments. Thanks.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Unless a spa told you in one of their promotions, I’m pretty sure you didn’t know that August 15 is National Relaxation Day. But it is. The origins of National Relaxation Day are unclear but it’s here on the calendar to encourage people to put their feet up and take a break.
As a lover of all things spa, I’m all over this day and I think this is a day worth celebrating. I strongly suggest you rush off to the Hallmark store to buy National Relaxation Day greeting cards for your friends and family.
I’m all about relaxation and I don’t think we relax enough in this hustle and bustle world. But one person’s relaxation is another person’s torture. What would you do if you had nothing to do all day? Some people would just go nuts if they didn’t have anything scheduled into their day and other people would say, “Well, I’ve got my feet soaking in the bath… now what?” They just can’t relax or enjoy the time off.
Like most people, I’m pretty tightly wound myself. I’m almost a different person when I do finally let go and relax. Life is so much easier when you’re relaxed. I like to use the time I went Zip-lining in Alaska as my gauge. After the initial stress of going out of my comfort zone and riding over the tips of trees down a mountain, I was way more fun to be around. I was cracking jokes and enjoying the people around me and I wish that Maria would come out to play more. I have since decided to make relaxation a priority.
So, how did I celebrate National Relaxation Day? First a gave a pedicure to a lady and she really enjoyed the foot massage I gave her. Then I worked out with my personal trainer and you may think that that’s not a relaxing activity but in my mind it is. I felt great after my work out! N0w I’m enjoying a glass of white wine as I’m writing this blog post. All in all, a pretty relaxing day.
This day also marks day one of my 31 blog posts in 31 days challenge. I found out about this challenge through Eric Brown from Bodyworkbiz who was inspired by Kelly Wise. I’m not in it for the “Bad Ass Blogger Trophy” but now that I think about it, that would be kind of cool. See you tomorrow!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
As you may recall from my blog post, “Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 1,” I went on a cruise to Alaska with my mom in June of 2012. It was a wonderful experience and a dream come true for me.
Here is the much anticipated, “Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 2″ and today I’m going to blog about my visit to the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship’s, AquaSpa.
Homespunspa is a mobile spa, but a spa on a cruise ship takes “mobile” to a whole new level. Not only were we travelling at sea while I was getting my detox treatment, we had hit a major storm, with no end in sight, and things got pretty rocky for a while.
Images of the Aquaspa on the Celebrity Century Cruise Ship.
I don’t remember hearing any mention of a spa on the Love Boat in 1979 but I’m sure they must have had at least a hair salon on board. Nowadays, spas are a big part of the cruise experience and as an esthetician and lover all of all things spa, I needed to go “undercover” and do some “research.”
We were treated to a complimentary hot stone shoulder massage and tour of the spa and fitness facilities on the first day of our cruise. I didn’t realize how much tension I carried in my shoulders until I sat down for my mini hot stone massage. I wouldn’t give my free massage a 10 out of 10 because I felt like the spa therapist was spending way more time on my left shoulder than on my right and I noticed that although she started my massage after her co-worker started my mother’s massage, she finished my massage sooner. I’m just saying…
I briefly considered getting a full Aroma Stone Therapy Massage but I’m familiar with hot stones and wanted to learn something new. I was also tempted to get the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed Massage because I think seaweed is one of our planet’s most valuable treasures. Ultimately, I decided to go for the Ionithermie Treatment to firm, tone and detoxify my body.
Here is the write up on the spa menu: “An extraordinary treatment, developed by a French medical physician, proven to detoxify and visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks and guaranteed 1 to 8 inch reduction on the body after one single treatment…” One to 8 inches off my waist — I’ll take it! “Using active Red Algae and rich marine clay combined with gentle stimulation targeting the stomach, thighs, arms and abdomen.” Red Algae and marine clay? There’s my seaweed, sign me up!”
When I met with the spa therapist, I told her I was an esthetician and I wanted to learn about the Ionithermie treatment for myself and for my spa clientele. I told her I work out regularly and had lost 40 pounds a couple of years ago but have gained a lot of it back and would like to focus on my tummy. I also thought it might be a nice treatment to add to my mobile spa menu for my own customers. She said she would tell me as much as she could without revealing trade secrets.
She drew a diagram of a cell with arrows and told me how we are exposed to 40,000 toxins a day and these toxins interfere with maintaining a healthy body weight on a cellular level if they’re not dealt with efficiently. She recommended Ionithermie as a detox program but emphasized that people only need to detox once every 5 years to stay healthy.
My Ionithermie Appointment:
So there I was standing in the middle of the spa treatment room wearing a pair of disposable undies and a towel while a storm was brewing outside on the open sea. I was feeling uncomfortable because I’m a modest person, to put it mildly. My esthetician started by measuring my midriff, upper waist, natural waist, lower waist and upper hip. Then the spa therapist applied a cleanser to my tummy. Then she whipped up a big bowl of blue clay that was made with Algae, Ivy, Kelp and Guarana extract and that’s when things started to get interesting. She placed a tray on the bed and then poured the clay into the pan and spread it around as if she was icing a birthday cake. Then she strategically placed some electrodes in the clay and covered everything with something like a cheesecloth.
She told me to lie down with my back on the clay tray and then she placed the other ends of the electrodes near my belly button. She turned on the machine to see how strong a signal I could take. It felt like two centipedes were running across my stomach and then it felt like two thumbs were pressing on my tummy. So that’s what they meant by “gentle stimulation.” After a few minutes, it also felt like hands were pulling the skin on my abdomen to my left as if kneading dough. These odd sensations would repeat every 30 seconds for 30 minutes with an increase in intensity as the minutes clicked by and as more waves crashed against the side of the ship.
Once I was fully committed and couldn’t go anywhere in a quick hurry, I thought to myself, THIS IS SO WEIRD. Here I am on a cruise on my birthday, in my birthday suit, covered in clay and agreeing to have an electrical current zip through my body in the middle of a raging storm in the north Pacific Ocean. How did I get here?
After my treatment, I was re-measured and all in all I lost 2 and 3/4 inches off my waist in one session and this made me happy. Also, when I got home and was weighed by my personal trainer, I only managed to gain 1 pound during my cruise which also made me happy.
My Recommendations on a Scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high):
- Would I recommend the AquaSpa on the Celebrity Century? — Yes (8)
- Would I recommend the Ionithermie Treatment? — Yes (7)
- Would I recommend the esthetician who administered the Ionithermie Treatment on the Celebrity Century? — Yes (8)
A little note on price:
It says on the spa menu that one session of Ionithermie is $159 US. However, when I received the printed statement in my cabin later that day, they added another $30 as some sort of a spa service charge to the total. There was no mention of any extra charges on spa treatments anywhere (not in the fine print, not when I booked my appointment). I was not impressed when I got the final bill and for that, the spa got dinged a point on my recommendations scale.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
“Have you ever been to sea, Billy?”
“No, Captain, Highliner.”
“Well, sometimes the waves get so high, you can’t eat your dinner…”
Does anyone remember that commercial for Highliner Fish and Chips from the late 1970’s? (Go ahead and YouTube it, it still holds up). Somehow and for some odd reason, I committed that little conversation to my memory. Maybe I liked it because my father was an officer in the navy and he spent a lot of time on the high seas during those years and the sailor reminded me of him. The ad campaign was also launched around the same time as “the Love Boat,” (my favourite tv show at that time), was on the air.
Anyway, because of these three little memories, let’s just say, going on a cruise has been a dream of mine for over 30 years. Well, that dream finally came true last month in June when I went on a cruise to Alaska with my mom.
We went on the Celebrity Century as part of a modern-day pilgrimage with our church (yeah, I know, you’re asking yourself, what kind of church do you belong to, Maria, and can I sign up? and throughout the cruise, I experienced a lot of inspiring moments that made me feel more happy and alive. I went zip-lining on the longest ziprider in the world at Icy Strait Point (Hoonah, Alaska), I saw the AWESOME Hubbard Glacier, and I danced with an officer, wearing my favourite silver disco shoes, in the “Dancing with the Stripes” contest.
Hubbard Glacier on June 13, 2012
I also ate a lot of delicious food. Yes, when you go on a cruise, expect to eat a lot because every dish looks so good and you feel like you have to try everything. One night during his show, the comedian even joked, “I won’t keep you folks much longer because I know you have to go to the dining room again and eat soon…” We all laughed because it was true.
All of this delicious food meant I had to have a game plan. I didn’t want to go home heavier. I decided to take the stairs whenever possible and going up 7 decks at a time made a difference. Also, my personal trainer said, “Take advantage of all of their state-of-the-art fitness equipment” and I’m proud to say that I did, but I must say, running on a treadmill on a choppy ocean is way more challenging than you might expect and you get a double workout with all of that extra balancing and compensating you have to do. Don’t believe me? Try running on sea legs for yourself and let me know what you think.
And, of course, as an esthetician, I had to sign up for at least one spa treatment while I was cruising. As we boarded the ship, we were handed a flute of champagne and were told the spa was offering free hot stone massages all afternoon and a tour of the spa facilities and after eating our first lunch, we headed straight to the Aqua Spa.
If you’d like to hear my review of the Century’s Aqua Spa and the spa treatment I signed up for, please read the blog post, “Have you ever Spa’d at Sea? Part 2″.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
In 2012, Mother’s Day will be celebrated in Canada on Sunday, May 13. I know what I’m going to give my mother this year but shh, it’s a surprise.
There’s still time for you to plan something special for your mom and all of the mother figures in your life. On top of giving your mom a nice card, some flowers and maybe breakfast in bed, I recommend giving your mom the gift of spa to thank her for all the kind things she does for you, for your family and for the community.
Getting a spa service like a facial, massage, manicure or pedicure feels really good and people are often surprised at how much more relaxed they feel during their appointment and for hours afterward.
If the idea of a spa appointment appeals to you and your mother, have you thought about inviting a mobile spa to come to your mother’s door instead of taking her out to a busy day spa in town? A mobile spa will save you and your mother time, energy and maybe even some stress — just ask Grampa Earl in the cartoon below.
If only Grampa Earl knew about Homespunspa Mobile Spa. He would still be able to take his afternoon nap and wouldn’t have to worry about Gramma’s comings and goings. Meanwhile, Gramma would feel pampered and beautiful and wouldn’t feel the need to swear at her husband for being late in picking her up and therefore undoing all of the relaxing goodness of the spa. It’s win-win. What’s that old expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure?” — Sounds like something a wise mother would say.
Here’s some good news. Homespunspa Mobile Spa is offering a Mother’s Day Special. If you book your appointment for your mother before May 12, 2012 for anyday of the week between Sunday, May 13 and Sunday, May 20, 2012, we will take 15% off your service. Choose from any of our fine services on our menu. (Note: the offer does not include the mini menu for the spa parties, however). Be “Early” and call or email soon to reserve your appointment.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers of the world!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Are you planning a spa party? Would you like to add some sparkle to your spa night? Why not add a few spa games to the menu alongside your facials, massages, mani’s and pedi’s?
Homespunspa Mobile Spa is quickly becoming a popular provider of spa services at spa parties all over Victoria, BC and I have lots of ideas on how to make your next spa party extra special and memorable. For more information on our pajama parties, please click here.
Here are some ideas for fun and relaxing spa games to keep your guests entertained and engaged throughout your party.
1) Top of Mind
I found this picture below from my archives. This photo was taken at one of the very first Homespunspa parties many years ago and I can’t for the life of me remember what I had the girls write on their heads. They’re obviously concentrating really hard — maybe they were drawing a map or the house they grew up in or both. The game was designed to help with memory (ironically) and motor skills but all I remember is, they should not have chosen such heavy textbooks to place on their heads.
2) Two Truths and a Lie
Have each guest write 3 facts about themselves on an index card but one of the 3 “facts” will be a lie. Place all of the cards in a basket and as each card is drawn, everybody else has to figure out a) who wrote the card and b) which statement is a lie.
When I first played this game on my second day of esthetics school, I wrote that I lived in Hawaii, I’ve sung live with Michael Buble and am distantly related to Pamela Anderson. Which do you think is false? I fooled most people and it was a great way to get to know my new classmates.
3) What I hate most about housecleaning
Obviously, this game is not appropriate for the tweens and teens, but it’s perfect for a bachelorette party. Have everyone write down their most hated housecleaning chore on an index card and explain the reason why. Everyone should write: “What I hate most about housecleaning is ______________ because _____________________________. Then substitute the question, “What I hate most about sex is…” and then take turns saying your answers out loud.
I played this game at a bridal shower once and my answer was, “cleaning the tub because of all the stretching and reaching.” There were a lot of laughs during that game.
4) Budding Journalist
Choose a bunch of funny photos such as this one below with the 2 cats and then have everyone at the party write witty captions to go along with them.
Write a caption for this goofy pic at your next spa party.
5) The Ha Ha Game
I haven’t played this game since the 80’s at summer camp although I don’t know why because it’s surprisingly ticklish from the inside out. Have all of your guests lie down on the floor. Each person will rest their head on another person’s belly. The first person will say, “Ha.” The second person will say, “Ha, Ha.” The third person will say, “Ha, Ha, Ha” and so on. You won’t get very far down the line because pretty soon everybody will be laughing hysterically for no reason. It’s a gas — laughing gas, that is!
Well, here’s my list of 5 spa party games to get you going. Please write a comment and let me know if you have any other ideas for spa games. I’ll make sure to add them to the list. The possibilities are endless. Cheers, Maria
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
For my first blog post of 2012, I thought I’d take Homespunspa to the streets, as they say, and see how my friends would respond to this question: “How do you relax and manage stress?”
I was looking for some wholesome ideas that anybody can do on a regular basis and my friends did not disappoint. I think folding these tips into the day will keep the stress at bay.
Here are 17 cheap and cheerful and easy ways to relax and manage stress:
"Help, I'm stressed." Illustration by Lindsey Henderson www.intown-creative.com.
1) Managing stress is a biggie for me as I have Crohn’s Disease, a chronic illness that can be aggravated by stress. The first step was recognizing my reactions to stress: why am I reaching for that cookie/candy/ additional glass of wine or heading out for some “retail therapy”? I’ve become wiser with age and those are no longer how I react. These days when stressed, I get physical by going for a long, brisk walk outside. Walking, plus the sunshine, fresh air and being out in the natural environment, all contribute to de-stressing for me. I hope this helps and Happy New Year! — Leslie
2) “I draw.” — Lindsey Henderson www.intown-creative.com. (Lindsey drew the charming illustration for this blog post and I’m so impressed! Thank you, so much, Lindsey!)
3) “Yoga. And laughter ” — Katie
4) “Playing with my cats after a hard day reduces the stress levels.” — Kelvin
5) “Hey friend, I am a huge bath person, I love to have a lovely smelling bath, sometimes bubbles, candles, music, maybe wine or a book..it is my favourite.” — Rebecca
6) “Put the kids to bed and do the laundry, watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee in hand (hoping the kids don’t get up before I am done).” — Lilia
7) “oooh, tough one! I do like putting my feet up and doing something mindless like knitting and watching a silly movie. I also think a brisk walk outdoors with a walking partner is very cleansing. Going to the gym and doing aqua zumba is great, too. Oh, and I forgot to mention the best destressing strategy…tea with a friend!” — anonymous
“My new year’s resolution is to go through my closets and boxes and discard or organize everything I own. Must say even getting through one drawer lessens my stress.” — anonymous
9) “Putting some seeds in the yellow bird feeder on my back deck. The birds are such a joy! I can just watch them all day!” — Motria
10) “Watering the garden on a summer evening.” — Yaro (posthumously)
11) “When all else fails, I water the house plants. At least I’m doing something positive instead of just stewing in my own juices.” — Alex
12) “My favorite way to relax is reading. I love a good book or any book. I read every night. I manage stress by staying calm and trying not to let my mind control my body. If I stay calm, I can be more objective and see things clearly and find less stressful solutions to situations. I’d rather be a problem solver than be stressed out!” — Liz
13) “My daughter wasn’t much of a talker when she was growing up and one day when she was going through a rough time at school, she came home and started baking bread. There she was in the kitchen, mixing the dough and kneading it and baking it in the oven. I think there was something therapeutic about that for her and after a while, she opened up to me and told me what was going on. From then on, I knew baking bread was her way of dealing with stress and also telling me she needs to talk.” — Elsie
14) “A nice long walk, pet your pet, a hot bath, bang on my drum set, yoga breathing, watch nature and take pictures of it.” — Diana
15) “Am I the only one that watches TV to relax??? I just need something mindless so that’s what I do. I think Jazzercise is a great stress-buster!!” — Debbie
16) “I love to ride my bike, drink a cup of tea, read my Bible, of course, sex. ” — Suzanne
17) “Invite some friends over for a home spa pajama party.” — Maria
So there’s the list of 17 easy ways to relax and manage stress. Kelvin’s is my favourite — because I love cats — and we can learn a thing or two about relaxing from our pets. I think “taking a walk” is probably the most popular stress-busting activity on this list and funnily enough, I found myself taking that advice this afternoon by walking through my neighbourhood while it was sunny. I’m so glad I did because I do feel better.
How about you? Would you like to add your 2 cents? How do you relax and manage stress? Please leave a comment and I’ll make sure it gets added to the list. Thanks especially to Lindsey for drawing such a great illustration for this blog post and thanks to everyone for participating!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
My friend, neighbour and high school classmate used to joke with me about the smell in my house. She said that if she was blindfolded and taken all over the world on a wild goose chase and then dropped back into my house on Trombone Court in Vienna, Virginia, she’d know exactly where she was just by the smell alone. Of course, I could say the same thing about her house, too.
This observation leads me to think about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. You know how Santa says, “Rudolph, with your nose so bright…won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Maybe, Rudolph’s Marachino cherry nose is more than just a light bulb. Maybe, Rudolph’s nose is more like a highly-tuned, GIS, infrared, gizmo that homes in on unique household smells and that’s how he helps Santa get his job done so well each year while everyone else is sleeping.
Either way, at the end of the day, the nose is the star of the show and I’d like to invite you to pay attention to all of the aromas that are surrounding you at this time of year. This is an aromatherapy lover’s dreamtime! When you walk into someone’s house to celebrate the season, take a moment to stop amidst the flurry of activity and close your eyes and breathe deeply. What are you smelling? Turkey and stuffing roasting in the oven? What else? Try to catch a whiff of a single ingredient on the holiday menu. In my house, you’re likely to smell onions caramelizing on the stove top, which is home sweet home for me.
Do you have any favourite Christmas scents? What are they? If you were to smell them right now, would they transport you straight back into your childhood? Which smells tell you that you’re home at last?
Top 7 Christmas-themed Aromas, Tastes & Essential Oils
Here’s a list of the aromas and tastes I associate with the Christmas holidays. Some are cool and refreshing like a snowy, winter’s day and others are warm and cozy like a country cottage.
- Citrus Family: Mandarin, Orange, Pomegranate, Cranberry
- Mint Family: Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen
- Spice Family: Cinnamon, Clove, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Ginger, Star Anise
- Sweet Family: Vanilla, Chocolate, Cream, Sugar
- Nut Family: Hazelnut, Walnut, Almond, Macadamia
- Woodsy Family: Pine, Spruce, Cypress, Fir, Juniper Berry, Cedar, Sandalwood
- Biblical Family: Frankincense, Myrrh
Everybody knows that smells awaken deep memories and I hope everyone will create lots of happy moments with their loved ones this Christmas to replay with fondness in future Christmases, year after year.
Wishing you a very aromatic and fragrant Christmas with lots of sugar and spice and everything nice, Maria of Homespunspa.