A spa day isn’t just about pampering, it can change your life! As author Elizabeth Buchan explains …
It was the best of times … and the worst of times.
The children were still very young, my job was demanding and, on top of everything, I had signed a contract for a novel which still had to be written and delivered. Like any driven female, I did the obvious. I got up at five o’clock each morning wrote two pages – my target – before tackling the rest of the day. Late at night, I would sneak upstairs to write another two pages before collapsing speechless into bed.
‘Aren’t you overdoing it?’ asked my husband.
Not long afterwards, I fainted when a dear friend came over to dinner. He helped me upright, looked deep into my eyes and said. ‘You look like a woman in need of a spa.’
As a result, I found myself a few weeks later in the taupe and creamy reception of a beautiful house in the Berkshire countryside from where I was ushered into my room.
I looked around. It was beautifully furnished with a bed the size of a small kingdom, bed linen with a stratospheric thread count and everything you could need in the bathroom. Above all, the room shimmered with a deep peace.
Yes, I had died and gone to heaven.
Funnily enough, life at the spa took a little readjustment. I am not a cry baby at all but, to my astonishment, I found myself sobbing at ridiculous things – the way everyone was so nice to me, a butterfly sitting on a flower, the exquisite salads in the buffets. I was so used to every minute of the day being accounted for that I found it hard to take on board that there was time to sit with a cup of hot water and lemon and to gaze over the gorgeous garden. And, yes, I could if I wished wander down to the swimming pool on a whim. The luxury of taking a little time to make decisions was almost overwhelming. Did I wish for the massage in the morning or the afternoon? How about a facial?
The masseuse took me in hand. She took one look and I could see that she felt I was in a sorry state. As she pulled and probed at the rock-hard muscles in my neck and back, she pointed out in a calm and professional manner how destructive it was on the body to demand too much from it and perhaps I would like to consider re-thinking my priorities?
Much the same was suggested at the beginners’ yoga class where the instructor – who radiated inner poise and authority – outlined a programme for deep, true, inner relaxation and took time to work with me on it. The beautician – who gave me the facial-of-the-century – offered practical suggestions on diet in order to give my skin a better lustre and a better skincare routine than the on-the-hoof routine into which I had fallen.
By the time they had finished with me, I wasn’t exactly a completely remade woman but I had been put on the right road. Buffed, pummelled, glowing, rested. When I got home, I sat down with my husband and re-planned our lives. As a result, I gave up my job and embarked on a new life as full-time novelist.
Twelve novels later, and having travelled the world as a result, I am still going strong. Never again did I allow myself to get into such a state. Nor will I.
My trip to the spa had – literally – turned my life around.
Check out Elizabeth Buchan’s latest novel, Daughters (£3.86 published by Penguin) out now!
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