What do you do when you have a significant life achievement to celebrate?
What do you do when there’s something you’ve always wanted to do but you’re too chicken to do alone?
What’s the best way to thank a friend for free professional services?
The answer to these three seemingly unrelated questions is the same: you kill all three birds by taking said friend for a day at the spa!
My photographer friend Gayle has been taking my head shots for years, free of charge, in hopes that one day her work would show up in her author friend Terrie’s published novel. When that day finally arrived this past January, I knew it was time for celebration. And gratitude. And, since she’d already experienced the spa, I knew Gayle could walk me through it so I wouldn’t feel like the complete idiot novice I was, wandering around lost, not knowing how it all worked, and inadvertently eating the sugar scrub. All I had to do was foot the bill and book the appointment. Then call to reschedule the appointment. Then call to reschedule THAT appointment.
|Can't believe how good we look. Oh wait. That might not actually be us.|
When life finally settled down enough for us to actually get to the spa, it was heavenly! Hours of sitting around in fluffy bathrobes, sipping tea and chatting; soaking our stress away in a mineral pool, hot tub, and sauna; getting tucked into cozy beds for facials; being served lovely snacks and lunch; sharing witty repartee with the gregarious ladies who did our nails, all while listening to relaxing music and catching up on one another’s lives. What’s not to love?
So why was I conflicted between relishing the treat and feeling guilty over such extreme indulgence?
I had no problem with my gift to Gayle. After all, she had earned it and more! But why did it seem like such a stretch to believe I might also be worth it?
If you’re a hardworking mom who’s grown used to putting herself last, you can probably relate. Journalist Kristin Wong says when we’re overwhelmed with life, self-care is often the first thing to go. But self-care isn’t merely a good idea. It’s crucial. As she points out, “self-care prevents overload burnout, reduces the negative effects of stress, and helps you refocus. Breaks are the epitome of self-care, and studies show they’re great for helping you perform better.”
Gayle and I both found it a challenge to simply relax for the 15 minutes our facial masks took to work their magic. What time is it? Aren’t the 15 minutes up yet? When is that girl coming back? Shouldn’t we be moving on to the next thing?
That’s when we decided it’s actually good discipline for us to go to the spa. Being pampered teaches us to relax, and relaxing is a discipline right up there with exercise and a healthy diet.
I like that theory, don’t you?