I don’t know about you, but I find winter incredibly draining. The relentless cold and wet weather. It’s dark when we go to bed and it’s dark when we get up. Having to don a coat that resembles a sleeping bag just to be able to leave the house without freezing your socks off. UGH! Don’t get me wrong, lots of great things come with the season too: spending time with friends and family, Christmas nights out on the town and the food – don’t get me started on the food! It’s a bit of a deadly mixture though; burning the candle at both ends, trying to keep all the plates spinning and not letting the dreaded SAD take over your world. That’s why I resolved this year to take much better care of myself… but it’s never that simple.
Being kind to yourself is something we all abandon so quickly when we have a lot on, but that’s actually when it’s more important than ever. Doing small things for yourself to perk yourself up can work a treat, but for me, it’s being kind to my body that really keeps me going. With so many events, markets, online sales and work being super busy, I’ve been making bad eating choices, become lazy with my skincare routine (I slept in my make up after a night out – oh the disappointment in the morning!), and lets not even mention the lack of yoga time. Not only do all these poor decisions affect me mentally, they affect me physically too. The aches from lack of stretching is one thing, but how dull, dry and lacklustre I’ve become is starting to become noticeable and rather depressing. It’s when I had to pick up a cream for a dermatitis rash on my neck I realised I had failed to take better care of myself as I had initially promised. Eating a salad and slapping on a face mask was not going to cut it this time.
After a bit of juggling I managed to get myself an afternoon off and an appointment at Chamomile Sanctuary, a little piece of heaven hidden right in the middle of Edinburgh’s city centre. It’s one of those places that’s like a Faberge Egg; it looks luxurious at a glance walking past, and when you go inside it’s much more delightful than you expected! Upon checking in I was taken into a beautiful lounge where I could sniff some of the products they use during the treatments and help myself to a cup of Eteaket tea (my favourite!). I was then escorted downstairs into their lovely underground spa where I slipped on a big fluffy dressing gown and slippers and took some time to wind down in their Relaxation Room before heading into my treatment room.
Although Chamomile Sanctuary offer lots of the latest treatments, I’m a stickler for tradition and am a strong believer in aromatherapy, so I opted to go for an Age Repair Facial using the Aromatherapy Associates range. Essential oils have been used for centuries and are renowned for their healing powers – especially when it comes to emotional wellbeing. When I met with my beauty therapist I discussed with her that I felt my skin was incredibly dry and grey… and that I was totally worn out emotionally. Being able to have an open and honest discussion about these things with perfect strangers can often be incredibly daunting, but I’ve never felt more serene. There was no pretentiousness or aloofness which I often struggle with in beautiful spa’s. It’s hard to find places with top-of-the-range treatments that are so welcoming and genuine, and rare to come accross a place where you’re immediately comfortable and at ease in your surroundings.
What I loved particularly about this treatment is that it’s tailored directly to your needs, so a potion was concocted that would rehydrate my skin and help it find that glow again. It involves a cleanse and exfoliation of the skin, two hydrating masks and a delicious massage of the face, head, neck and arms which was more needed than initially anticipated. I’m pleased to share that the scents were all glorious (sometimes aromatherapy can be hit or miss, worse so, if not done correctly the scents can be so over powering!), and the hour long massage passed in what felt like moments. By the time we were done I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders; I felt energised, relaxed and ready to take the world on again. My skin was soft, supple, more plump and hydrated than ever before and, what I’m most surprised and thrilled about, my rash had vanished! Just goes to show the powers of aromatherapy can often be more helpful than a prescription, especially when in the hands of a trained professional.
After the treatment I headed back to the Relaxation Room, helped myself to another tea and took some time to absorb the last of the moisturising oils and ground myself. Being able to let go of all that pent up tension is something you need to acknowledge to be able to maintain; I had forgotten what it was like to be rid of all the baggage and stress of rushing around, I didn’t want to forget it again any time soon. When we think of treatments like facials I think we often overlook the fact that we are giving ourselves much more than just a skin treatment. Were giving ourselves time out, a quiet space to be peaceful and breath, a treat that’s much more rewarding than we anticipate. Leaving with a few less wrinkles in this case is more than just from the essential oils and lymphatic massages because we are investing time in our mental wellbeing when we leave too!
With a fresh outlook, getting back into a daily routine that I had abandoned feels much less like a challenge and much more like something I genuinely look forward to doing because it feels like I’m starting from scratch again. I might still have lots on, over eat and sleep a little less than I’d like to, but I’m reminded how nice it is to take care of my body with simple yet small kind acts like healthy eating, stretching and moisturising, because I’m giving myself time to just be as well.
If you’re looking to kickstart your self-kindness routine, set aside an afternoon and book yourself in for a treatment. Chamomile Sanctuary has become my little safe haven during the winter!
Thank you so much to the team for making me feel ready to take on the world again, you’ve truly worked wonders!