With our devices becoming more like an extension of our body, the boundaries of between work and home are rapidly blurring. The traditional nine-till-five working week has been replaced with an always-on culture and retreating from work-life has become more of a challenge. And while everything beauty was once considered a frivolity, perceptions have changed: the at-home spa ritual has become an important aspect of overall health and well-being.
“Over the recent years the awareness has really shifted,” says Polynesian Spa Retreat manager Helena Keenan. “It’s not considered vain or a waste of money. It’s considered beneficial, you’re caring for your skin, your body and mind,” she says. Keenan says that as we have gained a deeper understanding of the value and necessity of a holistic approach to both health and beauty, beauty routines have evolved into a ritual.
Make the time
Finding the time to unwind and reap the benefits of an at-home ritual is often easier said than done. But a little relaxation and “me time” is better than none at all says Keenan. “It’s essential to have some time where you can switch off, it might not be possible weekly but even fortnightly,” she says. “How we fit that into our own schedule is very personal. Everyone’s responsibilities are different. Choose a day off, an afternoon a morning, an hour or even 20 minutes.”
Including a beauty routine as part of your weekly timeout can even help you make time for yourself explains Keenan. “A mask, for example, you need to leave on for a period of time, you can’t rush that process. It’s a good opportunity to take that time out.” It’s also important to remember to take the point of view that it’s important for self-care, it’s not being selfish. “It’s really not considered a luxury anymore, it’s essential for well-being.”
Ironically, explains Keenan, one of the biggest challenges people find once they’ve set aside time to switch off and unwind is that they are unable to clear their minds and focus. “I’ve found when I’m taking retreats that a lot of the participants find it hard to focus because their minds are so busy,” she says. Overstimulation – from devices, televisions and our working environments – is making it harder for us to free ourselves from racing thoughts; Keenan says an increasing number of people find it difficult even sitting still. “All that visual stimulation we get from devices and multitasking it manifests as boredom and impatience. We need to teach people to let go of this,” says Keenan.
The best place to start is by physically switching off: reach for a book rather than the television when you’re letting a face mask work its magic and put the smartphone down. “You need to make sure you’ve set aside that time with no distractions or interruptions,” says Keenan. “As soon as you get distracted you’re not getting those full benefits.”
Screen time may have encroached into our bedtime but turning off is essential if you want to get the most out of your shut eye. “If you have some challenges in your life around managing sleep, getting a restful sleep, you need to do an audit of your life,” suggests Keenan. “Look at the habits in your life that might not be contributing to a relaxing sleep.” Getting rid of the iPad or the smartphone that’s found a home beside your bed is the easiest place to start.