Ooh, I love receiving contributed posts like these! Here are some really easy healthy lifestyle changes you can make today that will make a real difference to your mood. Instantly. And if you make these lifestyle changes stick, they’ll be life-changing.
4 Lifestyle Changes to Relieve Stress, Improve Your Health and Be More Successful
We all get stressed from time to time, and it’s not surprising. Life just has a way of being tough now and then, as our obligations to work, family, and our health, amusement, and well being all too often collide catastrophically.
Of course, it’s fairly common as well that we’ll make things worse ourselves through bad habits and unproductive approaches to resolving our problems.
In the worst of instances, you could find yourself on holiday in the best and most beautiful resort, only to find yourself chronically unable to relax and enjoy the moment. Conversely, if you’re able to manage your stress response when back at home, even the most mind-numbing work concerns can seem like small and manageable things.
As stress affects the quality of our lives to such a great degree, here are some suggestions for lifestyle changes that can help to radically reduce your stress.
1. Read on topics that uplift and intrigue you
You may have an enduring interest in technical subjects such as science or engineering, or your passion might be reading the literature of the past and getting lost in the incredible worlds that people managed to create over the span of human history.
Regardless of what your particular area of fascination is, reading has the ability to transport us away from the preoccupations and worries of ordinary life and to carry us off to an eternal world of images and concepts – whether those take the form of mathematical formulae, or the metaphors and wordplay of William Shakespeare.
Distracting yourself from your concerns and preoccupations – even if only for a brief time – can have a tremendously positive effect on your overall sense of wellness. It can calm the mind and reduce stress, and as we know stress is not just a matter of “feeling uncomfortable”, but can have tremendously negative consequences for health when it’s allowed to become chronic.
Reading is a great and productive form of distraction which you can turn to no matter where you are.
2. Quit the caffeine and alcohol
This tip is often difficult for people to stomach (excuse the pun), for the obvious reason that caffeine and alcohol are so incredibly rife and common in the world. The vast majority of adults in the Western world consume both alcohol and caffeine, and many consume them on a daily basis.
But caffeine is a drug known to directly boost the production of the body’s stress hormones, and to tire out the various receptors and organs associated with those, and other, hormones.
That daily cup of coffee may be contributing quite dramatically to your chronic sense of stress and anxiety.
Likewise, alcohol causes damage to the brain and other organs of the body, and there is evidence that even in small amounts, it may make people less healthy, less resilient, and less capable of facing the world head-on. A bitter irony, considering people so often get drunk to drown out their stress and anxiety.
By quitting these two substances and shouldering through the few weeks or months of irritability and withdrawal (yes, really, they are actually drugs) you may find your stress vastly diminished.
3. Be sure to fuel yourself properly
A large number of people are constantly fighting to attain the perfect physique. Bellies are never flat enough, biceps never toned enough, and so on, and so on.
One of the side-effects of this obsession is that many people live in a state of chronic yo-yo dieting and caloric deprivation.
The bottom line is that when you don’t eat enough food, your body doesn’t work properly, you are less resilient, less healthy, and your stress hormone level are through the roof.
Make sure to fuel yourself properly. Eat whole, nourishing foods, comprising carbs, protein and fats. Yes, low carb diets may also boost stress hormones.
4. Get away somewhere scenic every once in a while
If your home environment becomes too stressful, you need to take steps to address the causes of that stress, and make it more bearable.
If your home is not excessively stressful, but you’re just chronically stressed anyway, getting away and visiting somewhere scenic once in a while can really help to alleviate the bad feelings.
Go somewhere where you don’t have to worry about work. Somewhere you can be inspired by the beauty of nature, and just relax for a while.
Aren’t these the easiest lifestyle changes to make? And can you see how effective they can be? Are you doing this stuff?
Are you drinking your 8 glasses of water every day?
I’m not. It’s something that’s been on my mind lately. I’m drinking far too much coffee (which actually dehydrates you) and far too little water. I even touched on the subject in my recent post on Self Care.
However, I haven’t been heeding my own advice. And then this excellent contributed post popped into my inbox.
4 Unexpected Health Problems Caused By Dehydration
Everybody has heard that you should drink about 8 glasses of water a day but if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, does it really make that much difference?
If you aren’t drinking that much water, I’ve got bad news for you, it really does.
There are all sorts of different health problems caused by dehydration, some of them pretty surprising.
It can be a bit of a struggle to drink that much water each day but if you add a bit of flavor and drink something like lime water instead of plain old tap water, it’s a little easier. You can also get some great apps that help you track how much water you’re drinking and give you a little reminder if you haven’t had enough that day.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this list of the most unusual ways that a lack of water affects your body.
Bad breath is caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth or smelly foods in some cases.
Your saliva has good antibacterial properties and it breaks down a lot of that bacteria, stopping you from having bad breath. But when you aren’t drinking enough water and you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t produce anywhere near as much saliva.
That means all of that bacteria in your mouth will start to build up and nobody will want to get close to you when you talk to them.
Eek! UGH! Who wants THAT?
Your skin gets a lot of its moisture from the water you drink, which means it’ll start to dry out if you’re dehydrated.
Dry skin will crack and flake, but lack of water can also cause spots.
When your skin is dry, it will try to compensate for the lack of water by producing more oils. Those oils will get into the pores and clog them up, causing breakouts of acne.
Oops… my skin is both dry and spotty right now. Signs and symptoms are definitely there.
Eating too much is the main reason that people gain weight and if you’re dehydrated, you’re far more likely to overeat. A lot of the time, people think they have hunger pains when in reality, they’re just thirsty.
Most people reach for painkillers straight away when they’ve got a headache but if you’re taking them all the time, your body will build up a tolerance and they won’t work anymore. Before you start taking anything for it, just drink a glass of water and you might find that it’ll go away.
The advice on drinking water is there for a reason, dehydration can cause you all sorts of problems so make sure you’re always drinking plenty of water.
That’s it. I’m going on a cleanse. I had a whopper of a migraine the other day and have a few headaches recently.
Point taken. Self care starts right here, right now. Bring on the water.
Over to You
How are you doing on this one Moms? Please tell me you’re doing better than I am.
We got such brilliant value for money at our first Spa daythis year that I found it tricky finding another Spa in Cape Town with Day Spa Packages with competitive pricing. Everything seemed to be way out of my price range. That was until I decided to look closer to home. I googled…
Spa Sunset Beach Cape Town
And to my surprise and delight, I discovered that my very closest Spa, Sunset Beach Lodge and Spa, was offering amazing Spa Specials. My Mom and I popped around to chat with the Owner, Debbie and decided on this stunning Special.
Sunset Beach Lodge and Spa – Mother-Daughter Spa Package
We found a couple of Spas offering similarly priced packages but none of them offered Executive Manicures and Pedicures. My Mom’s absolute favourite treatment is a paraffin wax pedicure so a mini/express mani and pedi was just not going to do.
The closest special we found was around R800 per person (about $67)but the offer was for 4 x 30-minute treatments totally 2 hours of treatments, whereas Sunset Beach Lodge and Spa were offering 4 hours of treatments for R 775 each (about $65). Plus this Special included lunch and a glass of wine. What a win!
We booked immediately. I had done my homework before we popped in so I knew we weren’t going to find anything that matched this kind of value.
Yet what really clinched the deal was how accommodating Debbie was. When I started calculating the time it would take to Relax, Revive and Rejuvenate (stealing their words), I was concerned that I may not be finished in time to collect my son from School.
Debbie booked us in from 8:15 in the morning (most other Spa’s start taking bookings from 9 am) so we could arrive straight after school drop-off.
Debbie also encouraged us to make a whole day of it and said it would be no problem at all if I nipped out to fetch my son mid-package. He could play in the garden (which also has a jungle gym for children of the guests) or have a swim with us. She even offered to get one of her staff to look after him if we were still busy in treatments when he finished school.
I’m not sure if Sunset Beach Lodge wants any of this advertised but I can tell you, it meant the world that Debbie cared enough to make this offer.
Sunset Beach Lodge is a small intimate Hotel with 6 Luxury rooms. Therefore, the Spa is not massive either. It is designed for single or couple treatments rather than Spa parties like the one we had in month 1.
At most, they could take 3 people at a time. The Spa facilities include:
The French Room kitted out with two massage plinths and a table for manicures
Bathroom opposite with a Jacuzzi and Shower
Outdoor swimming pool in a beautiful garden
As we arrived at Sunset Beach Lodge we were warmly greeted by Kelvin, the Manager and offered refreshments from their serve yourself counter. We helped ourselves to coffee and water and then Kelvin picked up our bags for us and showed us upstairs to the Treatment room.
True to the byline on their Package, Mother of a Princess, Daughter of a Queen, we felt we were getting the royal treatment already.
When we walked into the French Room, we received another warm welcome from our therapists, Sasha and Shirley. The room itself was welcoming, with lovely soft, aqua green decor and soft candlelight.
The ladies started with our back massages and I knew the instant Shirley started working on my back, that I was in expert hands. The massage was absolute heaven. My Mom said Sasha’s treatment was exceptional too. We both commented on how amazing it was to have well-trained, experienced therapists massaging us again.
All elements of a brilliant massage were there:
knowledge of anatomy and physiology
soft, yet strong hands giving firm pressure and deep tissue massage when required
a varied technique, including kneading and effleurage
keen tactile awareness, working problem areas rather than just following a prescribed routine
a deeply relaxing rhythm.
All our treatments were fabulous, the ladies were professional and meticulous. I accidentally scuffed the nail polish on a couple of toes after my treatment and Sasha patiently re-polished those toes without me even asking her.
I’m only sorry my Mom and I clean forgot to take pictures of each other when we were having our treatments. We were simply too relaxed (and probably too busy chatting).
Shirley was extremely knowledgeable and well connected in the Beauty and Spa Industry in Cape Town and we landed up exchanging shop-talk for half the morning. She is passionate about sales and has repped for a number of prestigious Skincare lines and is currently a Sales Executive for a South African range called Vitaderm. The range sounds amazing, especially to me as an Aromatherapist, as it contains essential oils.
Interestingly, Shirley and I qualified as Therapists at around the same time, in the early 90’s, so, although she looked 20-something she must be closer to my age (40-something), which she, of course, attributes to Vitaderm.
A Vitaderm Facial is definitely next on my agenda. Sold.
Going Above and Beyond
We wafted down to lunch after our treatments and the advertised “light lunch” turned out to be a sumptuous meal.
Debbie greeted us as we came into the lounge area and showed us into the dining room herself saying, “we’ve made you each a chicken wrap”.
Well! We received a delicious, very filling chicken wrap with chips AND a whole bowl of side salad each plus, of course, the glass wine we were promised AND a surprise dessert. We were bowled over. And very grateful because an entire morning’s pampering had made us both ravenous.
So this is how the other half lives!
We finished the day having fun snapping pics around the pool which we had all to ourselves and it was a really hot, gorgeous Summer’s day, so I had a quick dip too. All in time to fetch my little guy from School.
My Only Gripe
Although there was a great range of nail polish colours and the nail polish seems very robust, they did not have my favourite colour for my toenails, fire-engine red.
My Mom and I both chose the only red polish in the range, a very deep, dark red which looked gorgeous in the bottle, but once in the sun, it seemed to turn purple.
My Overall Opinion
The entire experience, from booking – through treatments – to the surprise dessert was TOP NOTCH and I have no hesitation in giving this Spa 5 Stars.
Although I set out at the beginning of the year to try a new Spa a month, I have to say I am tempted to just stick with this one and enjoy regular monthly therapy on my doorstep. I owe it to you, my readers to keep reviewing Cape Town’s Spas, so I’ll press on.
Perhaps I’ll find a way to do both – have a regular treatment at my new home-from-home, Sunset Beach Lodge AND try out a new Health Spa every month.
Now there’s a novel idea. Which just shows you how just a little Self Care can quickly start snowballing into regular Self Care.
✮✮✮✮✮ Environment – Beautiful home from home
✮✮✮✮✮ Atmosphere – Welcoming
✮✮✮✮✮ Facilities – Well-run, Beautifully kitted out
✮✮✮✮ Products Used – Great quality, could add more Nail Polish Colours
✮✮✮✮✮ Food and Beverages – Plenty and Delicious, Surprise Dessert
✮✮✮✮✮ Treatments – Expert
✮✮✮✮✮ Staff – Top Notch
✮✮✮✮✮ Value for Money – Exceptional
Overall Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
Over to You
Have you ever stayed at Sunset Beach Lodge or tried out their Spa?
Or have you ever enjoyed a Mom-Daughter Spa Package? What would you include in your ideal package?
Would love to hear your views or review in the comments below?
I’ve mentioned before that as a Mom to a busy little man, taking care of myself has been pretty low on my priority list for a while and that this year I’m planning to change that.
Mama… When last did you take care of you?
There was a time in my life that I was much better at taking care of myself, so I’m going to give you some tips today based on what I used to do when this was my focus. Because I learned a lot of great tips and tricks about Self Care back in my Twenties when I was an Aerobics Instructor and a Massage Therapist.
I learnt even more about Self Care when I burnt out as a Massage Therapist and found myself struggling with exhaustion, depression, Sciatica (lower back pain and aching down the legs), Spastic Colon and the most hideous, debilitating migraines. My road to recovery was long but eventually I found answers.
I never want to suffer from burnout or any of these horrible symptoms again. If you’ve ever suffered from burnout or any of these symptoms, you’ll know exactly what I mean. As the year progresses, I plan to incorporate more and more of these Tips back into my own life as well.
Simple Lifestyle Changes
Just a proviso to mention upfront: None of this is intended as Medical Advice or to replace the advice you may be getting from your Doctor.
What I’m going to share with you is really just simple lifestyle changes that I made in my life that helped me enormously. Nothing too radical. I can’t promise you will get the same results that I had, as I don’t know your Medical History and I am not trained to diagnose or treat Medical conditions. I can only speak from my own experience.
Okay? All good with that? Here we go.
Self Care Tip 1: Eat Nutritious Foods
It’s no secret that we are what we eat. And when I was feeling my worst, I was consuming a lot of chocolate and drinking a lot of coffee. These are not poisonous substances by any stretch of the imagination but they became poisonous to my system because of the quantity I consumed over time. And probably some other health factors coming in to play at the same time.
So, for a while, I had to cut anything that contained caffeine out of my diet altogether.
How did I find out I had become intolerant of anything containing caffeine? I consulted a Kinesiologist and a Naturopath. I highly recommend veering off the path of Allopathic Medicine and finding some Alternative Healers if you have a bunch of symptoms that won’t seem to go away and you’d like to find out the root cause rather than just treat each symptom.
At the time, I also did a 2-week fast and a few fruit and veg cleanses and discovered that my body likes fruits and vegetables more than any other food. I felt absolutely fantastic after a few weeks of eating only fruit and veg. Here were the 5 main benefits in a nutshell.
Free of pain
Here are my…
5 Ways to Eat Nutritiously
1: An Apple a Day…
Eat 90% what God Made and 10% what man-made (or tampered with). So if it’s in a box, bottle or packet rather than in a basket needing to be weighed, if you can’t grow your own in your garden, it’s probably man-made or tampered with.
In other words: Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruit and Veggies (this includes Berries and Nuts) to limit consumption of bread, biscuits, muffins etc.)
2: Find Out What’s Poisoning Your System
Find out if you are allergic or intolerant to anything and if you are:
eliminate it for a good few weeks or until all nasty symptoms disappear
then re-introduce, slowly
and never in the same quantity as before.
3: Eat Frequent Smaller Meals
Eat Frequently and never until you’re overly full (5 to 7 Small Snacks rather than 3 Big Meals) to keep blood sugar and therefore energy levels up. Maintaining even blood sugar levels can mean the difference between whether you are happy and relaxed or depressed and nervous.
4: Drink Plenty of Water
Drink lots of water or herbal tea and eliminate sodas or soft drinks – even fruit juice and diet drinks as they still contain some form of sugar.
5: Eat More Fish
Choose Fish or Poultry over Red Meat or Pork. I find my body works best when I eat plenty of fish rather than heavier, usually fattier steaks. I know this is very controversial advice nowadays with the popular diets that centre around fat, juicy steaks. However, fish oil is incredibly important for the brain.
If you’re not eating fish at least 3 times a week, I would recommend supplementing with Omega 3 Oils. If you’re vegan or vegetarian I’d imagine you already know which foods are richest in Omega 3, but in case you don’t, there’s a great article here.
A Note on Supplementation:
I believe 100% in supplementation, simply because I know most of us don’t have the time or inclination to eat as nutritiously as we should. The supplement that helped me most when I was burning out was a little colloidal liquid called Cellfood by Nu Science Corporation. I got it here in South Africa from a company called Oxygen for Life.
Why it worked for me was because it:
was readily absorbed by the body
available at the cellular level
contains 78 elements and minerals, 34 digestives, 17 amino acids
contains Deuterium Sulphate which splits water molecules to release Oxygen at the cellular level
I must just mention here that this product is extremely detoxifying. I had a severe headache every day for the first 10 days of taking it but after that, I never suffered from a migraine ever again. Ever. And my spastic colon disappeared too. Along with the lower back pain, depression and exhaustion. After about two weeks on the product, I felt better than I had felt in years. It was life-changing for me.
Self Care Tip 2: Be More Active
I’ve read a number of articles proclaiming that our sedentary lives are becoming the new BIG HEALTH ISSUE. i.e. More life-threatening (and more fattening) than either fat or sugar.
We sit on our bums to get to work and then sit at a desk all day and then come home to sit on the couch and watch the TV, eating our TV-dinner, which we popped into the microwave. I know that sounds like an extreme example, but these are the kind of lifestyle habits that sneak into our everyday life.
And I can see how, as a blogger, sitting at my laptop for hours a day is not doing me any favours. I am fortunate that I’m also a Mom which sometimes requires me to be active, either doing housework or playing with my son. So I’ve started saying YES more often when he asks me to come jump on the trampoline with him. We also go for walks together and now that he’s a bit older we can pick up the pace a bit (sometimes).
Regular Exercise is Key
What I learned when I was training to be an Aerobics Instructor, back in the day, is that for exercise to make a difference to your health and well-being, it needs to be regular (at least 3 times a week to maintain fitness, 4 or 5 times to increase fitness).
Along the way I discovered that the drop-off rate is really high is people aren’t enjoying themselves.
5 Ways to Being More Active
1: Find Exercise that You Enjoy
In modern society, we tend to get stuck on the idea of the Gym as the only place to go to be active and the Gym may not be your cup of tea. But don’t let that stop you exercising.
There are many different activities to do other than working out. And some of them may be more appealing to you than doing a workout indoors along with a bunch of other sweaty bods.
Here are some fun ideas you might want to try that may keep your interest:
Dancing (e.g. Ballroom, Salsa, Scottish Dancing, Line Dancing)
Martial Arts (e.g. Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, Tai Chi)
2: Shorten the Duration of Exercise
People often avoid exercise because they think it’s going to take too much time out of their day.
All you need to find is 20 to 30 minutes a day.
And it’s been proven that short bursts of exercise where you get your heart rate up can make a difference – even 5 minutes four times a day makes a difference.
You could try these tips to be more active.
Climb stairs instead of taking the lift whenever you can.
Step away from your desk every couple of hours or so and skip (with a skipping rope)
Go for a short brisk walk in your lunch hour
Warning: Don’t try do any of these in high heels, you can stay in your work clothes but good shoes or bare feet are a must.
3: Get out in Nature
Being out in nature is good for the soul. Exercising in nature is good for body, mind and soul.
There are so many amazing outdoorsy activities you can enjoy. Here a few examples:
Hiking or Mountain Climbing
Walking on the Beach
Swimming (in the sea)
Windsurfing or Kitesurfing
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Jogging or Running
4: Change it up
If you find your interest in any activity is flagging, then it’s time for a change. Try something new every once in a while.
Or do something different every day. Whatever it takes to keep you active.
5: Change Your Mindset
Don’t let exercise start to feel like a chore. If it feels like something you HAVE to do, it becomes something you do grudgingly. Let it flow. Let it become a natural part of your life. Find enjoyment in movement.
Self Care Tip 3: Take Time Out
When last did you take a bit of R & R (Rest and Relaxation)? Read a good book? Or even flip through a magazine?
Emotional wellbeing is essential when you’re a Mom. Because if you’re an emotional wreck, your kids usually are too. And everyone around you for that matter.
Here are my Top 5 Ways you can bring some much-needed balance back to your life.
1: Play Time
It can be so easy to let go of your friendships when you become a Mom. Especially if you have a number of children and your whole afternoon is spent getting them to all their extramural activities.
Take time to nurture your friendships, even if you have to have the kids in tow while you’re doing it. Find things you can do with your friends and your children.
In the same vein, it’s just as important to find time to play with your children. Get down and dirty with them. Climb into the sandpit sometimes or onto the jungle gym. Lie on the floor with them playing cars or dressing up dolls or building blocks. Let them lead the play and you might find you have a blast.
Oh… and while we’re on the subject of down and dirty, your hubby might appreciate some playtime with you too.
2: Down Time
Never underestimate the rejuvenation power of a good nap. Sleep is generally in short supply for Moms, so take naps whenever you can.
And if napping is not your thing, at least find a way to get in 8 hours a night every now and then.
SLEEP is one of the greatest healers I know.
3: Quiet Time
We live in a very noisy world. There is almost always something on, TV, Radio or just the background noise of traffic and chatter. That’s why it’s essential to find spaces and block out time when you can experience stillness.
Find a way to bring meditation or prayer into your life. Learn Transcendental Meditation if needs be. Or learn a breathing technique. Or just breathe.
If you really find it impossible to slow your mind down to that pace, a Yoga class might provide just enough stillness for you. Or you can lose yourself in a book or some classical music, any music that calms and relaxes you. Whatever it takes to quiet your busy mind.
4: Me Time
While we’re busy slowing things down, it’s a good time to discuss chilling out on your own.
Here are some favourite me-time activities that you can consider incorporating into your life.
Is there any aspect of self-care you think I have left out? Do you see self-care as self-indulgence or a vital part of your health and wellbeing? What do you do to feel your best? What do you do to operate at your peak? Join the conversation below…
One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to visit one Health Spa a month. It’s kind of my reward to myself for a job well done (my blogs just started generating income after nearly 2 years of hard slog) and also a necessary re-focus on Self Care.
I’m also treating my Mom to Spa days all year as compensation for her time and effort on my blogs, as my Virtual Assistant.
On Thursday, 12th January we kicked off 2018 with an entire day of pure indulgence at… drum roll…
On this occasion it was not just the two of us. The day was arranged by Cayleigh, a close friend of one of my best friends, Mandy, as a group outing. Cayleigh introduced us to The Entertainer App in December last year and we were able to purchase three 2-for-1 Specials of the Full Day Package.
Here’s the whole group of us hanging out at the pool before our first treatment.
I’m the one wearing the blue and white striped hat. Please don’t laugh at my lily white, jelly-like thighs… I’m hoping by the end of a year of Spa Treatments they will look a whole lot better. Guess I might have to throw in a bit more exercise while I’m at it. Blogging is rather a sedentary pursuit and I can see the results of non-activity developing into middle-aged spread. Eek!
When I mentioned something to this effect to Mandy (or was it Cayleigh? It’s all a bit of a blissful haze) during our Spa day, she laughed at and said:
“Today is not the day to be worrying about THAT, you’re here to relax and enjoy yourself“.
And that we did. It was heaven.
Bakwena’s Full Day Package
The Full Day Package we purchased in December included:
6 Amazing 50-Minute Treatments
A Hearty Breakfast
As well as a Cheese Platter in the late afternoon (we did not go hungry)!
Oh, and our choice of wine, sparkling wine, beer or cider at lunch too.
We were very grateful to Cayleigh, who has been to Bakwena a good few times as she knew the ropes and gave us plenty of brilliant suggestions.
For a start, Cayleigh recommended that we schedule our free time session first so that we could ease into the day with a bit of time at the pool and one the Spa’s Speciality Treatments, affectionately called Mr. Nibble.
Mr. Nibble is a Fish Spa Therapy. As you can see by the picture above, you sit with your legs dangling into a fish tank so that tiny scavenger fish feed on the dry skin of your feet.
This concept sounded horrible to me at first but my Mom had heard of the treatment and convinced me to go, saying, “We’re here now, we might as well experience everything the Spa has to offer“.
I’ve read up more since then and apparently the fish are freshwater fish called “Garra Rufa” fish and are found naturally in rivers in the Middle East, especially inTurkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
I’m so glad I agreed to give it a try as it was really different and a lot of fun. They had 2 large fish tanks so we were all able to go together as a group and dip our feet into the tanks.
I was envious of my Mom at first because we were sharing a tank and a gazillion fish were nibbling her feet and they didn’t seem to like the taste of mine. Once Cayleigh taught me to be really still, more fish started nibbling and it felt amazing. Not nearly as ticklish as one would expect, more like pleasant pins and needles (if you can imagine such a thing). Tingly I suppose would be the best way to describe it.
Certainly something to experience rather than read about. And your feet feel wonderfully smooth and soft afterwards.
Cayleigh also sent an email to the Spa beforehand requesting that we have all our treatments in exactly this order:
Mr. Nibbles (during our Free Time Session)
Foot Massage, Ankle & Calf Massage
Hand And Forearm Massage Foot Massage
Head, Neck and Shoulder Massage
Invigorating Full Body Exfoliation
Full Body Hot Stones Massage
Facial Massage and Face Painting
She had a few reasons for this.
All the first 3 treatments are upstairs near the pool and dining room, whereas the others are downstairs, so it feels like a natural progression.
It’s lovely to have the full body massage after your body is exfoliated and you’ve showered off the scrub. Having the exfoliation after the massage would mean you’d shower off all the lovely oils or cream.
If you have the facial earlier in the day your face paint gets rubbed off during the other treatments.
Mr. Nibble was definitely one of my highlights.
I loved the scent of Lemongrass as you walked into the changing rooms – they had candles lit under the essential oil burners and the effect was beautiful. To me, it really created an atmosphere of SPA. I felt happy every time I walked into the changing rooms.
The food was wonderful.
The therapists were lovely, full of joy and enthusiasm.
During lunch, all of the lady therapists line up and treat you to live song and dance. One of the ladies drums on Djembe Drums and it’s just gorgeous.
The African Face Painting is so pretty.
They gave us a little gift of a gemstone bracelet just before we left. I thought that was a very nice touch.
And glass of liqueur, which I declined as I was designated driver.
My Only Gripe
It seems in poor taste to have a gripe after you’ve enjoyed a full day’s indulgence. But to give a fair and honest review (especially as I am going to review other Spas this year, so for comparison purposes as well), I have to mention that the massage and facial were not my favourite treatments fo the day. Simply because the staff are not that well trained.
I trained and practised as a Massage Therapist for years (Swedish Massage Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Polarity Massage, Reiki and Quantum Touch). I’ve also had a lot of massage in my time and trained a number of people personally.
So I could be a tad pickier than most. So please take the criticism below with a pinch of salt.
For me, the massage was just a whole lot of Effleurage (long stroking movements), with no kneading, no pressure points, no varying of pressure. And no knowledge of the muscles below the surface or where the bones are and how you should treat them. Having said that, I never learned to do Hot Stone Therapy and I enjoyed that experience.
There was also no sense of Rhythm. We were always taught to have harder strokes towards the heart and lighter strokes away from the heart. Rhythm creates deep relaxation.
Some ladies have an innate awareness of this and don’t have to be taught and so some treatments during the day were naturally better than others.
I always thought, when I was training people that you can either massage or you can’t, it’s something inside of you. It reminds me of dancing. You either have rhythm or you don’t, right? You can take the time to cultivate it, to hone your skills, but you also have an inherent skill.
When the ladies tried their hand at Tapotement (Percussion movements), it was clear they had not been taught properly. The idea with Tapotement is to lift the hands off the body really quickly, not thump them down. And it’s no fun to start whacking someone who’s just drifted off into sweet oblivion.
During the facial massage it felt like I was being throttled when she worked on my neck. I was dying to jump up and show her how it’s done. Again, I put this down to insufficient training. Her heart was in the right place, she was a Sweetie pie. But there was one moment when I thought I was not going to make it out of there alive.
Ooh, that turned into a bit of a rant. Forgive me.
My Overall Opinion
All in all, I felt we had an incredible day of pampering and we all went home happy and relaxed. Another bonus was that none of the treatments were deep tissue, so I didn’t feel like I’d been driven over by the bus the next day. Some absolutely awesome massages can make you feel that way.
Thanks to Cayleigh for introducing us to The Entertainer, I also felt our first Spa experience of the Year was incredible value for money. We paid only R 800 per person for the entire day. (About $70).
Thanks to Cayleigh’s attention to detail, our day was super awesome. She really thought of EVERYTHING.
✮✮✮✮ Environment – on a Beautiful Wine Farm, dust road a bit tricky to navigate
✮✮✮ Products Used – All in-house, no oils, only creams for massage
✮✮✮✮✮ Food & Beverages – Plenty and Delicious
✮✮✮ Treatments – Staff lacked proper training
✮✮✮✮ Staff – Pleasant, Joyful, Caring, Service Oriented
✮✮✮✮✮ Value for Money – Thanks to the Entertainer Special
Overall Rating: ✮✮✮✮
Can’t wait for our next Spa Experience. We just found another awesome deal at the Day Spa closest to my house, Sunset Beach Lodge and Spa! A stunning Mother-Daughter Package. We just happen to be going on a Thursday again…next Thursday- Woohoo! Which works perfectly for me as my son has PlayBall after school on a Thursday so I fetch him later than usual.
I’ll be reporting back soon.
Over to You
I’d love to hear about your Health Spa Experiences. Have you been to Bakwena Spa? When was the last time you treated yourself to a Day of Pure Indulgence?
I’m not there yet but it’s another goal I’m working towards this year. Taking an hour a day just for me sounds like a lot right now. However, I find this kind of advice really helps…
“Enjoy the simple things. Don’t over complicate everything. Take a breath. Find some stillness. Stop to smell the flowers. Listen to the birds. Sit in the sunshine.” ― Akiroq Brost
“I lied and said I was busy.
I was busy; but not in a way most people understand.
I was busy taking deeper breaths.
I was busy silencing irrational thoughts.
I was busy calming a racing heart.
I was busy telling myself I am okay.
Sometimes, this is my busy – and I will not apologize for it.” ― Brittin Oakman
“Don’t allow your pain to express itself through your body, your health and your well-being. Work out what is worrying you. Do something about your stress. Don’t internalize your frustration, anger, pain, stress and worries. Try meditating, going for a walk, exercising, doing something you love, or engaging in self-care. Undealt with it will manifest physically. Don’t allow that to happen. You have a responsibility to yourself to look after yourself. If you’re struggling with how, seek help from another. Remember, you are not alone.” ― Akiroq Brost
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths. ” – Etty Hillesum
Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.”
― Bell Hooks
The daily art of gratitude, the practice of journaling all the things I appreciate has been my saving Grace many a time.
“Stop focusing on how stressed you are, and remember how blessed you are. “ –Unknown
Say No to Others Sometimes
And as a woman, and especially as a mother (with people-pleasing tendencies), this advice is golden:
And as we learn to say no to others, we learn to say yes to ourselves.
And amazingly, as we say yes to ourselves, others start saying yes to us more often.
And then something magical happens. By our example, we teach others to say yes to themselves.
“In fact, that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all their gifts and ability) for others and never anything for themselves.
Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns) though always a little perplexedly and half-heartedly and just to be consoling.
The poor wives are reminded that that is just why wives are so splendid — because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them!
But inwardly women know that something is wrong.
They sense that if you are always doing something for others, like a servant or nurse, and never anything for yourself, you cannot do others any good. You make them physically more comfortable.
But you cannot affect them spiritually in any way at all.
For to teach, encourage, cheer up, console, amuse, stimulate or advise a husband or children or friends, you have to be something yourself…
If you would shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say; ‘Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!’ you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.” ― Brenda Ueland
A note on Self Love
And can there be any self-care without self-love?
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Mary Dunbar
“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.” ― Victoria Moran, Lit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty
I sincerely trust that as I give more and more to myself, that I will be able to give more and more of myself to the world.
Over to You
Have you found this to be true for you?
Where are you on the Self Care Scale? Do you take time out monthly, weekly or daily for you?
Do you meditate, exercise or enjoy pure indulgence like a Spa Day here and there?
What’s your personal brand of Self Care?
I’d love to hear what does it for you… what feeds and nourishes your heart, body and soul.
I invite you to share your self-care tips and experiences in the comments below.
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