When was the last time you were completely at rest? You didn’t document it on social media for other people to comment on. You didn’t berate yourself and think about all the things you should be doing instead. You didn’t combine that ‘nothing’ with scrolling mindlessly through your Instagram feed.
Today, our hobbies are side hustles and our down time remains connected to the world around us. In short, we never really switch off. Part of the problem is that for many of us we simply don’t know how to do that any more. We’re not even really sure what it means. As a consequence our sleep is never quite as restorative as it should be. Our down time isn’t quite as fulfilling. And we always live somewhere on the edge of being perpetually exhausted.
Rest comes in lots of different forms. It isn’t just about sitting still on the sofa. Because if we’re scrolling through phones or thinking about all the ‘shoulds’, then while our bodies might be static, our minds are anything but rested.
Here we took some time to think about the different types of rest that featured in a social media post that went viral recently, and how our experiences in spas help to meet some of those needs. Perhaps you will relate?
We all know that feeling of ‘I just want to get away’. Going to a spa has the obvious benefit of simply changing our environment, and sometimes that’s all we need to feel rested. A new perspective, literally brought on by changing our environment.
Being helpful is obviously a good thing, but sometimes it’s OK to want a space where you can just focus on you. You don’t have to tidy up the plates after lunch, you don’t have to put the towels in the washing machine after you’ve used them. That’s not the same as not being polite, it’s just having a rest and we all need that every now and again. Naturally, at a spa, whether you’re having lunch in the restaurant or swimming in the pool, this is a space that’s all about spoiling you. Don’t lift a finger, we’ve got it.
Sometimes this feels like the most indulgent way to spend time. Pick up a trashy magazine, sip on your drink of choice. Simply do things that serve no higher purpose than that you enjoy them. We find loungers by the pool and beautiful relaxation areas especially good for this. Equally, on a recent trip to Saunton Sands we found ourselves sipping tea and idly watching the waves outside the window, which was also bliss.
Whether you want to try ‘forest bathing‘, strolling barefoot on the beach, meditating in the sunshine or just going for a good old fashioned walk. Taking time away from the buzz of technology and other people, listening to and connecting with the natural world is deeply restorative. Spas are often located in beautiful places they are perfectly positioned to spend time outside. And as the likes of Careys Manor and Ockenden Manor both offer forest bathing, there’s that extra bit of guidance to help you feel totally rested by the great outdoors.
Sometimes being on your own takes a little getting used to. We might crave it but then when we have it, it takes a while to settle in and be ok with it. This is one of the nice things about going to a spa on your own. You have things to do – use the facilities and have a treatment, but there are other people around. At some spas there will be workshops you can take part in, or tables for solo guests to sit at mealtimes in case you want to chat or don’t feel comfortable sitting alone. Sometimes we need a little help to transition into alone time. Our guess however is that you will ease into it pretty quickly and revel in the opportunity to enjoy your own thoughts.
Even the responsibilities that we are grateful for – having family to love and look after, for example – present a certain type of pressure, an inability to switch off, a constant awareness. Much as we love our partners, parents, children and even pets, time away in a space where we are not responsible for it all for a little while can be deeply restorative. Often, if we have time out at home, we can’t fully switch off, but at a spa we can tell everyone where we are in case of emergency, give them the spa contact details and then rest properly. Even if it’s just for a little while.
This comes back to doing nothing. See if you can extend it beyond reading a trashy magazine by the pool and be entirely still. Spa treatments and classes such as mediation and flotation therapy are especially good for this. They help us to focus on the now, our breathing, the moment, be in our own body and simply be.
We are really good at beating ourselves up a lot of the time. Focusing on what we didn’t do rather than what we did. Thinking about the things we don’t like about ourselves instead of the things we have done well. Spas have often been judged historically as places for the ‘beautiful people’ – a particular type of body shape, age or weight. The truth is that spas are the ultimate safe place. Somewhere you can put on your robe and slippers, take off your proverbial armour and be safe in the knowledge that everyone has their guard down. This is an environment where you are totally accepted and everything is in place to care for you. The feeling of total safety isn’t one we’re often afforded as adults, but a spa is designed to be the kind of cocoon where you really have nothing to worry about.
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