When did self-care become more of a glamorous trend and less of a blatant necessity? Face masks weren’t made exclusively for Mondays, and pampering shouldn’t be just a Sunday thing, but rather an everyday thing. According to the American Psychological Association, a decent chunk of Americans are experiencing moderate to high stress levels daily, and if that doesn’t call for a trip to the spa, then I don’t know what does. Unfortunately, paying someone else to knead out the knots in your neck can get pricey, so home spa treatments for stress will have to do. Luckily DIYs are just as trendy as avocado toast these days, and experts say there are plenty of stress-relieving benefits to reap from homemade scrubs and solo massages that don’t cost a fortune.
Despite what some social media influencers might have you believe, there’s nothing glamorous about stress. Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders — which, BTW, stem from stress — are the most common mental illness in the U.S. and affect approximately 40 million adults each year. Of course, if you’re feeling stressed to the point where it becomes difficult to focus, or perform everyday tasks, you should consider speaking with a professional who can work through these issues with you.
However, stress is something that everyone deals with at some point in life, so in order to prevent those everyday stressors from boiling over into a more serious mental health concern, try putting these home spa treatments to the test to help you stay cool, calm, and collected from one day to the next.
Give Yourself A Foot Massage
A 2011 study published in the medical journal Depression and Anxiety found that therapeutic massages may help to improve symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Now, obviously there's nothing quite like treating yourself to a day at the spa and having a professional rub your back and massage the tension out of your muscles, but Haven Spa massage therapist, Lara Katsman, tells me that massaging yourself can have similar stress-relieving effects.
"With pressure points and so many little muscles to target, and the fact that our feet hold us up all day, what better place [than your feet to give yourself a massage]?" Katsman tells Elite Daily. It might feel awkward at first, but to get you started, Katsman explains the best way to begin is to sit in a comfortable position and apply pressure with your thumbs at the heel of the your foot, moving forward in a slow progression, back to front.
To spice things up, Katsman suggests experimenting with T-Spheres, which are small aromatherapy massage balls that make giving a self-massage a little easier for beginners, along with essential oils to connect all of the senses.
If You're Finicky About Feet, Try A Facial Massage
Listen, I get it: Not everyone's into feet. But everyone's into relaxation, right? So if massaging your soles is a no-go, Haven Spa esthetician, Mariola Barczewska, says you can easily DIY the spa's Facialates facial at home.
Using the heel of both hands, Barczewska suggests starting from the top of your forehead and gently moving down to the eyebrows, then to the temples. From there, follow your jaw line and move down through the sides of the neck "while transitioning the heels of the hands to using the outer pinky side of the hands." For a delicious finale during this first part of the massage, Barczewska explains, follow through down the clavicle and the sides of your chest, and repeat five times.
You can also take your thumbs and place them on the inner corner of the eyebrows, stretching outward toward the temples while dragging the thumbs. Pinching the inner corner of the eyebrows, the middle of the eyebrows, and the outer corner of the eyebrows can be relaxing, as well. Barczewska also says that massaging from the outer corner of the under eye on the lower bone of the eye socket, by rolling the ring finger on the outer corner, the middle, and then the inner corner, can also be incredibly soothing. Adding a few essentials oils to the treatment can help promote relaxation, so pick a scent that speaks to your needs, like lavender for calm, and peppermint for mood.
Spoil Yourself With A Zen-Enhancing Soak
In a 2018 study published in the medical journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, regularly bathing in warm water was linked to positive health benefits, including high-quality sleep, low stress levels, and improved mood. Personally, I'm more of a shower girl, but clearly, soaking in a warm tub can work wonders on a busy mind, and according to a team of wellness experts at Saje Natural Wellness, there's nothing more rejuvenating than a nice long bath.
"It’s not always easy to drift off when your mind is racing with last-minute tasks," the experts tell Elite Daily. So to up your bath game and help you unwind before bed, Saje experts tell Elite Daily that adding healing essential oils "that support a zen state of mind," such as the brand's Stress Release or Unwind, should do the trick.
Simply Close Your Eyes And Listen To Soothing Music
I don't know about you, but to me, the choice of music is really what makes or breaks the ambiance of a spa. I love lying down for a massage and focusing not only on the way my body feels, but also the music that's meant to calm my mind.
In a 2013 study published in the scientific journal PLOS One, researchers found that listening to soothing music can have a positive effect on your stress levels, and may be especially beneficial before a stressful event actually happens. So whether you've had a taxing day at the office, or you know tomorrow's schedule is going to be the linear definition of chaos, dim the lights in your bedroom or living room, sit in a comfortable seat or lie down in a sea of blankets, put on some soothing tunes (I'd go with the sound of rain, personally), and allow your mind to relax and wander.
DIY Your Own Steam Room
If your first order of business at the spa is to make a beeline for the sauna, then you're in luck. In a 2018 clinical study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, after four weeks of regular sauna sessions, patients experiencing symptoms of depression reported improved mood and relaxation. And the good news is, it's super easy to DIY your own steam room at home.
"Steaming is great at home, as it will open your pores for a better cleanse," board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Shari Sperling, tells Elite Daily. "I’m [also] open to adding essential oils to steam [for stress relief], but you have to make sure you are aware of the ingredients and what you’re putting on your skin."
For this home spa treatment, all you have to do is crank up the hot water, and let your shower run, baby. Close your bathroom door, take a seat, and let your skin soak it all in. Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil could be beneficial, though as Dr. Sperling suggests, make sure you're doing your research and/or talking to an expert to see which kinds work best for you and your skin.