The Spa Spies have been talking about taking time out in our daily routine for a sneaky spa ritual. Feels somewhat naughty, right... spa on a workday? But many of us have gained an extra hour in the morning since we are no longer commuting to the office. We are also at home for lunch, so we can squeeze in a quick work-out or yoga class. Why not add a spa shower and massage to the cooldown mix?
It’s healthy to break up the day, to have a screen break. If you are unable to go out, using spa products with natural ingredients can be a great way to feel refreshed. Take an extra hour in the morning for a pre-breakfast spa, or just stop for a few minutes to give yourself a hand massage, do a deep breathing exercise, or do a couple of yoga stretches.
Here are two of our Spa Spies on their lockdown daytime rituals.
Eco Millennial’s Energising Morning Ritual
Finding motivation is harder for me in lockdown. It’s too easy to fall into old student habits, to roll out of bed onto your desk and begin work, but I can’t function like that anymore. My morning routine is essential for getting my brain and body into gear.
Ishga is an organic product range created from seaweed hand-harvested in the Outer Hebrides, mixed with natural essential oils. The therapeutic properties of seaweed, which contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals, are legendary.
I normally have a shower first thing in the morning, but with nearly an hour saved from my daily commute, who’s to say I can’t begin the day with a bath? It feels quite rebellious. It also gives me a moment of me-time: in the pre-Covid 19 world, I would savour my commute to read a book or listen to a podcast. A bath gives me this time back.
The bath salts have an awakening lemony-fragrance and really soften my skin. A body scrub with salt and essential oils rather than soap makes my skin tingle with aliveness. If I skip the bath, I can use this in the shower, removing it with mitts. It leaves my skin incredibly soft and plump.
After, I use Ishga’s Invigorating Body Oil applied liberally to damp skin. I massage my body paying attention to my legs, lower back and shoulders – the oil glides on – then towel off, leaving my limbs feeling lithe, zingy and relaxed. With my body awake and my muscles more supple and relaxed, it’s the perfect time to do a couple of yoga asanas.
Now it’s time for my overnight oats and herbal tea. By the time I get to my desk, I feel alert, positive and focused. Borrowing from a traditional hygge ritual, I light a morning candle and take a moment to set my intentions and meditate on the flame. Ishga’s Natural Soya Candle, a blend of organic essential oils such as geranium, lavender, lemongrass and juniper berries, is like a gin and tonic for the mind. It smells like fresh sea air and it feels nice to have it flickering while I work: something else I couldn’t do in the office.
In the middle of the day, I try and either go for a run or do a yoga session: nothing major, just enough to get my energy going for the afternoon (although I can see a slide into siesta-breaks if this lockdown goes on).
The lockdown seems to have made amateur athletes of us all: my neighbours have turned their garden into a home gym, some of my friends with younger kids are doing daily PE lessons, while other friends are doing online yoga or Zooming their fitness classes.
My cool down ritual after is important, especially as I get older my muscles need extra TLC. There are plenty online: but basically, I do a hamstring stretch, downward dog and pigeon pose for each leg.
Next, the shower (obviously). I use Natural Spa Factory’s Yuzu Oil and Marjoram bodywash (£12). It’s vegan friendly and inspired by the Japanese art of bathing where Yuzu fruits are scattered in the warm bath water. Yuzu is said to have medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties, is anti-bacterial and stress-relieving. It has a lovely uplifting grapefruit-y scent.
I will also use my Dermalogica Ultracalming Skin Cleanser (£33) in the shower, as it is gentle but does the job: my skin might be a bit red and sensitive after a run. For the same reason, I use a soothing moisturiser: my current favourite being Germaine de Capuccini’s Tolerance Rich Care Cream (£61.15) with rosemary, tea, liquirice, camomile and arnica. It’s light, cooling and reduces redness, as well as giving an instant lift and plumping effect.
After, I will take time to massage my legs, hips and glutes (long stretches with intermittent circling movements) and feet. I have started using Raised Spirit CBD Massage Oil (£44.99) as much has been written about how cannabinoids can reduce inflammation and help heal muscle damage, even when applied topically (although this is largely anecdotal until more research is done). Raised Spirit, which extracts its CBD from hemp in Oxfordshire and is organic and vegan, was started by ex-athlete Nick Osipczak, who was looking for a wholesome and effective way to heal sports injuries. Some people report instant effects, but I haven’t noticed anything particularly dramatic. However, it’s a lovely, rich oil and encourages me to massage my muscles and feet, which certainly don’t ache as much as usual.