Last week, I had a meltdown.
It was not a ‘little cry’ – though I have had several of those over the lockdowns – but a full-on ugly. I am embarrassed to confess it was a kneeling on my bedroom floor, wracking sobs and rolling tears situation that lasted a good indulgent hour. It may have been longer. Yes ma-am, I had a full-on pity party for one.
I woke up the next morning feeling better – purged, even – but also looking like complete crap. My face was a blotchy, puffy mess. My eyes were bloodshot and my nose red from all the snot blowing the night before. It was not pretty and almost tipped me back over the edge.
So, I took myself in hand, scooped up my most indulgent beauty products and locked myself in the bathroom, leaving a note for my husband, kids and the dog (worth a shot) to leave me in peace for at least 30 minutes. I needed restoration, and it came in spades, at least for the next two or three days, thanks to these miracle workers and the home spa ritual they helped me create.
Step one: light candle
This candle smells expensive and extravagant, and no-one in my house has permission EVER to light it apart from me. It only gets fired up on special occasions – house visitors I want to impress, for example, or, in this case, an SOS. The fragrance is not traditional rose – it is far darker than that as it has leather, birch leaves and violet in the blend – so it gives off a deeply moody (in the best way) scent and slow-down, chill vibes.
Step two: Run bath, douse it in oil
After five minutes of soaking in this delicious aromatherapy oil, you’ll feel like you’ve been hit by a happy tranquiliser dart. The oil is explicitly blended to quieten over-active minds, relax the body and make the skin feel like silk. It will also, delightfully, make the rest of your house smell like a spa too.
Step 3: Slather on a face-saver
Another of my special occasion products is this face-saving, life-re-affirming face mask which whacks the skin with a moisture and hydration shot whilst calming and relieving the complexion from stress. You can rinse it off after ten to 15 minutes, but I often leave it to soak into my skin and sleep in it – nothing like waking up to better skin.
Step 4: Massage scalp and hair
This mask is like rehab for fragile and damaged hair. It contains a patented keratin protein which is identical to the protein found in our hair, enabling it to bond directly with areas of damage and do a great repair job, all the while hydrating your ‘do and giving it some life back. Your barnet will never have looked or felt better.
Step 5: Do nothing but bathe in your greatness
The Dutch call it niksen – the art of doing nothing. Nothing at all, or at least nothing with any purpose, and certainly nothing that involves feeling guilty or worried about what you should be doing. Where mindfulness is about awareness, niksen is about contemplation and allowing the mind to wander, to be free.
It occurred to me recently that we never allow ourselves to do nothing – we are always doing something, usually two or three things at the same time. We are always on. But by allowing ourselves to switch off for a bit and do nothing, we calm our mind, stabilise our nervous system, promote our wellbeing and boost our creativity. It’s surprisingly hard to do, but the benefits make it worth the effort – you’ll feel at peace afterwards and better in touch with what matters. And who doesn’t need a bit of that at the moment?
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