When you head to your favorite spa, there's undoubtedly certain things, some of which you may not even notice, that tell your brain that relaxation is at hand. For example, the scent of my favorite spa is distinctive; a mix of lemongrass and sweet basil lingers in the air.
Then there are the sounds. If you've ever set foot in a spa you know what I mean … the oh-so-soothing stylings of top-notch spas encourage stress-relief from the moment you step inside.
Open your kitchen — or living room or bedroom — spa with these two elements before adding the ultimate brain-to-body signal that stress relief is at hand; don a soft, plush spa robe. Next, pour a hot cup of green tea and your home is now a Zen zone.
And while I'm not suggesting that you bypass a real spa in favor of your bathroom, I am suggesting that you turn your own space, whether 500 square feet or 5,000, into a daily slice of stress-busting paradise. It's as simple as lighting candles, picking your favorite spa-like play list on your iPod and getting out of the clothes that you connect you to the day's drama. These simple steps can send signals to your brain, and your body that help lower stress and unhealthy cortisone levels.
On days when you have even more time to spa at home, turn to one of my tried-and-true kitchen pantry remedies for all that ails you.
Brown Sugar Appletini Scrub
Mix 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of applesauce and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Combine all ingredients, mixing well, and then apply as a body scrub in the shower. Tip: Don't apply this to your face as the granulated sugar is too harsh for the more delicate skin there.
Citrus Hand Treatment
Gather 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Combine with the zest of 1/2 orange. Mix ingredients for one minute by hand. Massage into hands and leave on for five minutes before rinsing and drying hands.
Complexion Perfection Mask
Combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix well. Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for up to 10 minutes. Remove the mask by rinsing with warm water and a wash cloth. Tip: The Vitamin A in egg yolks helps soothe red skin and may even benefit those with acne.
I admit, this isn't the kind of at-home spa treatment I indulge in every day, but for special occasions or those days when you have really earned a break, a regal rose bath treat is to die for. Simply add 1 cup of rose petals and 1/2 cup of coconut milk to a warm bath. Sit, soak and destress.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.