(BPT) - There’s a reason why they say your home is your castle. This is a place of rest and refuge so you can be returned to your best state.
The next time you find yourself with a quiet evening or weekend in your abode, make self-care and pampering a priority. In fact, you can borrow a few pages from the wellness playbook with expert tips from one the world’s most storied resorts.
Destination Kohler located in the heart of Wisconsin in the quaint village of Kohler — and recently named one of the top 15 wellness resorts by Conde Nast Traveler — is what you might call a luxurious refuge. Here, after you explore picturesque snow-covered hiking paths on snowshoes or cross-country skis, and enjoy five-star accommodations at this historic American Club, you can restore your body and mind at the luxurious five-star Kohler Waters Spa or unique Yoga on the Lake facility.
But even a few simple additions at your home, says Garrett Mersberger, director of Kohler Waters Spas, can greatly increase the relaxation factor during your down time.
1. Include the five senses.
The secret to setting up the best spa experience, Mersberger says, is making positive connections to all the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and sound.
“If one of these is missing, the experience isn’t the same,” he says.
Even the smallest changes can transform your space and elevate your mood. You can light a candle and plug in the indoor water fountain to create sound and lighting that soothes the mind. Snuggle into a plush robe and encase your feet in super soft socks or slippers after your shower or bath. Finally, don’t forget to set yourself up with a glass of wine and a cheese plate.
2. Prepare your body with hydrotherapy.
People have known this since ancient times: water has great powers of restoration, which is why hydrotherapy is central to any worthwhile spa experience. At home, it’s as simple as making small adjustments to your shower routine. Mersberger suggests changing the pulses in your shower head and experimenting with hot and cool blasts of water, which he says are good for the skin and blood flow.
But be careful, while a hot bath or shower before bed feels terrific, it’s not relaxing since warm temperatures will raise your blood flow, preparing the body for work or exercise, he says. To ready your body for sleep or relaxation, finish with a shower that’s a neutral temperature (about 92-97 degrees Fahrenheit), to return your body to normal.
3. Release blocked energy.
Start your quest for relaxation with a simple yoga move called the seated cat/cow position. "In addition to releasing blocked energy, it also opens the spine," says Ashley Kohler, Manager of Yoga on the Lake at Destination Kohler. To do this, sit cross-legged on the floor and place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, lean your chest forward and lift your gaze to the sky. As you exhale, round out your spine while drawing your shoulders forward, gazing down.
4. Hone your breathing technique.
Breathing is a vital component of managing stress levels, Kohler says. Yet most Americans only breathe with a third of their lung capacity, creating “flight energy” in the body and cultivating that feeling of stress.
“Conscious breathing will ease your nervous system and help control stress levels and help you unwind,” Kohler says.
Here’s an easy antidote: Sit quietly for a few moments, taking full-body, deep breaths through your nose.
“I like to visualize the ocean, and imagine the sound of the its big crashing waves with every breath I take,” she says.
5. Relieve stress by going outside.
The benefits of going outside in the winter is not only good for our bodies, being outside chases away the winter blahs, as research has told us. So go ahead and skip the treadmill and go jogging in the park. Or rent a pair of snowshoes take a tromp through the woods. Or take a walk. When you’re done, there’s no better feeling than coming in from the cool air, knowing you are truly in for the day.