DIY Spa Day: Creating An At-Home Oasis

Whether you are inundated with work tasks, have loads of family obligations or simply can’t say no to your volunteer responsibilities, everyone gets busy. And when it all gets to be too much, a day at the spa is just the thing to help you relax and take a few hours to recharge — by yourself.

If you’re so overbooked that the idea of taking a morning off to hit the spa is laughable — or if you’re too strapped for cash to make the investment — we’ve got great news: It’s easy to treat yourself to a spa day right in your own home. Check out our ideas for creating a peaceful, soothing environment for your spa day as well as DIY treatments that will help you unwind and rejuvenate without setting foot outside your home.

So what are you waiting for? Turn off your phone and get started, because you definitely deserve it.

Create A Restful Environment

One of the things that makes a real spa so relaxing is the careful attention paid to your senses. Here’s how to pamper all five of them:

Sight: Avoid harsh, artificial light during your spa day if you can. In the rooms you’re going to use — likely your bedroom and bathroom — skip the overhead lights in favor of filtered daylight. Lower the blinds or hang a light-colored bed sheet over your windows in the daylight hours. At night, use dimmer switches if you have them, or select just a single table lamp with a low wattage bulb. Candles are also a great choice, especially in a windowless bathroom — just don’t leave them unattended!

Sound: The gentle sounds of nature or soft, wordless music will definitely get you in the right frame of mind for your spa day. Luckily, there’s an app for that (iOS and Android). Choose a relaxing soundtrack of waterfalls and rain showers, or try meditative music filled with low chimes and steady rhythms. Just be sure to set up your soundtrack to play softly and continuously — you don’t want to interrupt your facial to reset your music!

Smell: Aromatherapy is an important part of most spa treatments, so you should choose products like soaps and oils that aid in relaxation. Restful scents to look for include lavender, rose, frankincense, bergamot and chamomile. You can also add a few drops of one or two of these essential oils to your warm bath to add a relaxing dose of aromatherapy to your soak.

Taste: Good hydration is important during your spa day, and it’s soothing to sip on a delicious drink. For warm days — or just an extended steam bath session — try naturally infused water for a refreshing tonic. If your spa day is in the winter, make a pot of chamomile or green tea, add a bit of raw honey and sip to your heart’s content. If you’re planning a long day away from it all, be sure to have some fresh salad greens on hand for a healthy meal.

Touch: Pamper yourself with a plush bathrobe, slippers and towel during your spa day. If you don’t have these items already, it’s worth seeking them out ahead of time — they really do turn a regular bath into something truly luxurious! You’ll also want to make sure the temperature in your home is slightly warmer than usual. Professional massage therapists recommend 77-degrees Fahrenheit (or 25-degrees Celsius).

DIY Spa Treatments

Though you won’t be able to give yourself a full massage, you can take care of just about every other spa offering by whipping up your own scrubs and masks to enjoy during your homemade spa day. Here are some favorites to try:

Face Masks: Before hopping into your tub for a piping-hot bath, apply a homemade face mask to deep clean and nourish your skin. The easiest masks can be made with pure mashed banana or avocado, which are full of rich nutrients for your skin. You can also mix these ingredients with a bit of raw honey or plain yogurt. For a very deep clean, mix some bentonite or cosmetic clay with honey, dried chamomile, water and lavender essential oil. Allow the mask to dry on your skin while you soak; rinse gently with cool water after your bath.

Exfoliating Scrubs: Removing dry, dull skin is easy using everyday items from your kitchen, and there’s no measuring required! Use this list of recipes to get inspired. Or, in a small dish, simply add a spoonful of a granular ingredient like sea salt, sugar crystals, coffee grounds or finely ground oatmeal. Drizzle in some honey or olive oil and stir, stopping when you have a paste that you can rub into your skin. Use this scrub during a cooling shower — it’s great for your whole body as well as your face!

Healing Hair Treatments: Your skin isn’t the only thing that gets stressed by daily living — your hair can dry and crack under the strain as well. As you prepare for a luxurious soak, consider a hot oil treatment or deep conditioner for your hair. You can also make your own hair mask by whisking together an avocado, half a cup of honey, two tablespoons of olive oil and an egg yolk. Rub this over your hair and leave it in for at least 30 minutes to strengthen and moisturize your stressed strands.

Soothing Bath Salts: Before drawing your bath, whip up some bath salts to soften the water and relax your tired muscles. Martha Stewart recommends a mixture of six parts sea salt, three parts Epsom salts and one part baking soda. Once you’ve mixed up the dry ingredients, add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Add a handful of salts to your bath and enjoy your scented soak!

Making The Most Of Your Spa Day

Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, make all the treatments you can the night before (the exceptions are the hair and face masks, which should be fresh when you use them). Clear your schedule, turn off your phone and all your beeping, buzzing screens, and enjoy the quiet.

Let your mind wander, and use your free time to read a book or take a nap if you’d like. Many people find that it actually feels uncomfortable at first to disconnect, but force yourself to work past any anxiety about not checking your email every five minutes — your brain will thank you! Meditating or rolling out your yoga mat for some gentle stretching can help get you in the mood and clear your mind to enjoy the rest of your DIY spa day if you like.

Whether you have a whole day or just a 90-minute window, incorporating some of these spa treatments into your routine will have you feeling fresh and new in no time.