#SelfCareSaturday: Pampering rituals (from under five minutes) to help you feel supported this weekend
Self-care is not selfish
To all the Alice(s) – or Adam(s) – in Responsibilityland out there – I applaud you – but it's time to clear your schedules. At least for the weekend. This genius illustration by Liana Finck sums up the anxiety-inducing reality that is basically our lives and guess what? Keeping up with the 'everyone wants something, and they want it yesterday' pace can only take us so far.
Personally, and professionally, we wear many hats and are expected to give our best shot at work, be the best version of ourselves to our loved ones and families – fur kids included – and the list goes on, and give (and give, and give...), we do. So, what happens when we've been so caught up in 'giving mode' that we realise – a little too late – our cup is empty? It's time to give back to yourself for a change, that's what – and lose the guilt, even Oprah needs a day off!
Flashback to this time last year, The Malaysian Psychiatric Association (MPA) referenced the National Health and Morbidity Survey results at thestarOnline, which reported that as many as 29% of Malaysians struggled with depression in 2017 (a 17% increase since 2011), and the MPA was certain from the rising stats, depression will continue to surface as a major mental health struggle for Malaysians come 2020.
On a global scale, the surge in self-care, meditation and happiness-inspired apps led by the likes of Calm, Headspace, 10% Happier, Shine and many more, plus the myriad of conversations surrounding self-care and mental health suggest a pattern that cannot (and shouldn't) be ignored. As our lives get busier and more connected than ever, we are spending lesser time on (and for) ourselves (read: empty cup) and ironically, feeling even more disconnected from ourselves and the ones around us. Across the board, consequences of burning the candle from both ends are showing up as various mental health issues including depression, anxiety, chronic stress and so forth, which can only be detrimental to our health and fitness in the long-run.
But things are looking up – from the fact that you're taking time out to read an article surrounding self-care to promising survey results such as the one conducted by Shine in 2018, which reports 72% millennial women in the U.S made mental health their priority means hope is on the rise. While there is still room for improvement, we are slowly but surely making the best decision to re-invest in ourselves, one self-care practice at a time.
Regardless of where you're on the self-care spectrum, here are some ways to get started, or continue to grow your practice:
If you only have five minutes (or less)...
Can't leave home? No problem. Remember that just like yoga or any other wellness ritual, self-care is more of a preventative practice that gets stronger over time vs. a quick-fix for when things go south, so every precious minute you have to tune out from the noise and into yourself, is an investment that will go a long way. Some tried-and-tested ideas include:
- 1-3 minutes: Applying your favourite skincare product, and really taking the time to enjoy the scent, focusing on the texture of the product on your skin and give yourself a quick facial massage can make a big difference.
- 3 minutes: A quick digital detox over a hot cup of tea (or coffee) in your garden, out on the balcony or in your living room. Take in the aroma and flavours of your drink and make it a point to indulge slowly until you're done with your cuppa before returning to your smartphone – nothing in there will change in three minutes, but your state of mind will.
- 5 minutes-10 minutes: Indulge in a facial mask or sit in silence for a quick meditation practice. The idea of watching your thoughts come and go and not 'following' them sounds easier said than done, but gets easier over time, and is a super beneficial practice for your mind in the long-run.
If you have 30 minutes or more...
Whisk yourself away to a spa retreat without having to leave the city. I recently visited UR SPA at the RuMa Hotel and Residences in KL, which was a much-needed mini getaway, despite its strategic location in the heart of the city.
An urban oasis located on the 6th floor of the hotel, I was impressed by the unassuming details the spa had to offer:
- For starters, all therapies are designed to be gender-neutral so you can make a self-care day out of it with your partner. Five luxurious treatment rooms with full facilities and a couple's suite will give you the full me-time or complete privacy with your better half. Custom therapies including pre-natal massages are also available.
- If your partner doesn't fancy a massage, Truefitt & Hill also operates out of a private area within UR SPA, with a full menu of grooming services, which come hand in hand with a trolley of drinks featuring rare single malts as another unwinding alternative.
- I like that the RuMa Hotel's nod to local inspirations and cultural authenticity extends beyond its interior and hospitality into UR SPA, where traditional treatments featuring the Malay art of Urut, inspired from the Northern Borneo tribes, completes its extensive spa menu of signature core therapies.
Be spoiled for choice with treatment options, which start from 30 minutes and go up to 90 minutes, or more, depending on how much time you can carve out for yourself. I made the no-brainer decision to give the UR A GODDESS a shot. A 90-minute ritual designed to restore balance by combat the effects of stress, pollution and a hectic lifestyle, the treatment was a lovely combination of a pampering session and digital detox in one. A full body scrub, foot massage and an express facial was the perfect top-to-toe self-care break especially for time-poor multitaskers (read: me). Fully relaxed and energised from the session, I've even decided what to try on my next visit: the award-winning Northern Borneo-inspired Dusan Inan therapy - now I have something to look forward to!
UR A GODDESS, RM890 for 90 minutes at UR SPA, which opens daily from 10am to 10pm. For reservations or enquiries, call +603 2778 0692.
If you have the full weekend...
Check out our extensive list of staycations and reviews before checking yourself in for some serious me-time to shut down and shut out the world, and leave your worries at the door – even if just for a bit.
Whether you're opting for the 3-minute (well done, you!) or 3-day (that's overachieving done right!) self-care option this weekend, remember, a little goes a long way. Think of self-care as long-term self-preservation – the teacup analogy of 'filling your own cup' until it spills over so you can help others may not be new, but it has certainly never failed – let's drink to that, shall we?