With hurricane Joaquin’s latest predictions, those of us living on the east coast have a very rainy weekend to look forward to. As we enter the final weeks of summer-like weather, losing a weekend to rain can be a real bummer. It can also be a blessing in disguise. Every Wednesday, we like to talk about wellness and share ideas, tips, and little fun facts about health. Thanks to the rain, we have a relaxing weekend at home on our minds, inspired by one key factor in wellness: stress reduction. At the end of a work or school week, taking some time to yourself to relax is important. When the weather is nice, going for a long walk can be the perfect activity to wind down. With hurricane rain canceling out that option, pampering yourself can be an equally beneficial activity for the mind and body. What should you do this rainy weekend? Treat yourself to a pedicure!
First, fill the bathtub three-quarters full with warm water (or however deep you need to soak up to your mid-shin). Soaking your feet is not only relaxing, but it can soothe tense muscles and comfort irritated skin. Note, if you have very dry skin on your feet, be sure to use slightly cool water, because hot water can make dry skin worse. If you’re going for the full at-home-spa vibe, light some candles around the edge of the tub, but be sure that they can’t fall or start any fires first. (The last thing you want while half polished and half soaking is to catch your shower curtain on fire!)
Next, pick your polish. Now that you have the water running and your candles safely placed, choose your favorite toenail polish. You shouldn’t leave the room if candles are burning, so if you keep your polish somewhere other than the bathroom, be sure to grab it before you start. The best shades for fall are gold, copper, olive, maroon, gray-blue, classic bold red, black or a soft purple. You can also opt for a clear coat for a clean, simple look.
Next, turn on some calming music. One study found that listening to music can reduce anxiety in the same way getting a massage can. Choosing a calm, meditative style of music or something classical are your best options, but if you prefer hard rock music or something else, choose whatever you feel is right!
Finally, get started! Grab a hand towel, and sit on the edge of the tub with your legs in the water. Let your feet soak for a while, and place the towel over your left thigh. After a few minutes, take out your right leg and rest your foot on the towel, creating a number 4 shape with your legs. In this half-crossed leg position, you should have the perfect angle to clip your nails and cuticles, but if you find that you balance better another way, feel free to shift your position. There’s no right or wrong here! Repeat this step for both feet, and return them to soaking in the warm tub when done.
Next, exfoliate your feet. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the top layer of skin, and because feet often become callused, exfoliating can be very rewarding. We have a product here that works wonders when it comes to exfoliation, called Hand Kind SCRUB. The orange scented cleaner is made abrasive with natural walnut shells, which makes it perfect for exfoliation. Exfoliating your feet can make the skin feel softer and look nicer, and with our product you won’t have any pumice brushes or pedicure files to worry about cleaning. If you choose not to exfoliate your feet, grab some soap and massage it into the pads between and beneath your toes for a super calming feeling.
What’s next? Relax! The rain is coming down in buckets outside, and with nowhere to go you shouldn’t rush this process. Half of the benefit of pampering yourself to an at-home spa treatment is that you’re going at your own pace and are under no pressure. Sit back and enjoy the music, inhale the aroma of candles and soap, and close your eyes to meditate while your feet continue to soak in the warm water. If the water starts to cool off, turn the faucet back on and refresh the tub. This is the most important part! If you skip polishing your toes, exfoliating, or any other step, this is the essential piece. Relaxing is good for the body and mind, so feel no guilt about taking a day to yourself… you need it!
Lastly, polish your toes, and be sure to keep them out of the water while they dry. Once both of your legs are out of the water, go ahead and drain the tub, and relocate to a seat where your feet can rest. Make sure you blow out any lit candles before leaving the room!
When I do my nails, I like to kick back and read while I wait for the polish to dry. If you’re looking for a new book, I suggest picking up Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. (It’s a sequel to The Shining, so read that first.) When your toes are dry, be sure to apply your DERMA RESCUE lotion to the soles of your feet and then massage it up towards the toes.
Wellness is a term that encompasses every aspect of what it means to be healthy. Eating with a balanced diet, keeping a steady routine of physical activity, and taking time to wind down and be calm are all equally important factors in being well. The first two are often the only sides of wellness considered necessary by busy individuals, and are often crammed into schedules in ways that make it seem like there is no time to sit around and do nothing. But relaxing isn’t about doing nothing, it’s about clearing your mind so that you can focus better and work harder when it comes time to do so. So the warm sun may be gone and the weekend may be quite dreary depending on where you live, but regardless, take a few hours this weekend to relax. Treat your body to a warm foot soak, a polish change, or simply just take some time to lay down and indulge in a good book. The mind is one of your most important muscles, and like any other muscle, it needs time to rest so that it may grow stronger.