Welcome back to my de-stressing project. In case it’s your first time here (hi! Welcome!), you should probably check out the introductory post about how I was so stressed out that I started grinding my teeth in my sleep and having phantom pregnancy symptoms and realized that I was probably killing myself slowly. Yeah. Turns out it doesn’t matter how cool your life is. Sometimes stress follows you around doggedly anyway.
So, to combat said stress, I’ve started out with a series of commitments to:
– Sell my car
– Hire a sub-contractor to help me with some of the little to-dos of my business
– Make a more serious commitment to my No Technology Fridays
– And treat myself to a few special things, like full days of dolphin watching and spa-going
I’ve already sold the car and hired my lovely, lovely, Heaven-sent contractor (did I mention that she’s lovely?). So the next step was to take a Friday and make it as relaxing and me-centered as possible (that’s right, sometimes being selfish is okay; in fact, sometimes it’s just damn necessary).
It was to be a day of inspiration. A kick start for the de-stressing. A day of orange-infused water, quiet music, hot teas, hot tubs, and no distractions. A day, in other words, at the spa at fancy schmancy Hotel Del Coronado.
I booked my appointment for Friday and arrived just before 10. Almost immediately, I was escorted to a peaceful, low-lit room for my Swedish massage with a therapist named Carolyn.
The massage table was heated, the lotions and oils I chose smelled refreshingly like citrus, and the scalp massage…well, let’s just say that if I was a man, I would have proposed to Carolyn right then and there.
After the massage, Carolyn asked how I was feeling.
“You are made of magic,” I slurred (tiredness and relaxation make me get all goofy and slurry, as ex-boyfriends and massage therapists can all attest).
“No, seriously. That’s what I’m going to tell my readers. You are made of magic. Made. Of. Magic.”
(And, see? I totally kept my word. Now you all know.)
I retrieved my orange-infused water, my cozy bathrobe, and my hair tie and stumbled sleepily (and, let’s be honest, possibly still mumbling and/or slurring about magic) back through the relaxation room—a place full of soft couches and girly magazines and fresh fruit—into the locker rooms to don my swimsuit, and then immediately into the hot tub.
The next hour was spent mostly soaking in the hot tub with my head on a towel and a book stretched out in front of me. Ladies wandered in and out of the nearby steam room. The spa attendant checked on me several times, offering hot tea. And I just lay there, having nothing to do except take care of me. Nothing to do except read and enjoy the warm water. Well, that and attempt not to fall asleep and drown, as that would be not an ideal outcome from being sleepy and relaxed.
This went on for hours.
Eventually, missing Luna and feeling decidedly sleepy and hungry, I tore myself away from the warm water and soothing music. I strolled up the main Coronado thoroughfare and ordered a hearty lunch of steak and eggs with sourdough bread and homemade jam (which is quite possibly made from crack – it’s that good) from Crown Bistro. And then I hailed a cab in the rain, went home, and snuggled Luna for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
And it was really that weekend and the next week, feeling refreshed and thoughtful, that I started making more healthy choices about the small things. I spent an afternoon at the dog beach watching Luna frolic. I had a couple glasses of dark red wine and actually made myself dinner instead of turning to cereal and snacks. I made breakfast for the first time in months. I started daydreaming about getting back to Europe.
I shifted my focus from things that make me anxious to things that make me hopeful.
And that, my friends, is the real triumph. The real step in the right direction.
Because that’s the thing about de-stressing: it’s a pretty big undertaking. It’s not just about spa days (though obviously those help), but about small daily choices that you make. The spa days might be the kick starts, the deep breath before the plunge, the inspiration that gets your head back in the right space. But it’s the daily choices—to walk outside and feel the sunshine on your face, to not commit to deadlines you can’t handle, to surround yourself with things that calm you—that really change your life.
This is most definitely a journey, but I’m pretty sure I’m back on the right track.
* * *
A big thanks to the Hotel Del Coronado Spa for making this kick start to my mental well-being possible. They extended a free spa treatment, but all gushing is my own. With or without freebies, I come to the spa every time I’m in San Diego. And Carolyn really is made of magic.