THE BLOG

Spa Living for Less

03/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

You need an afternoon of pampering. A massage? Yes. A facial? Totally. Some aromatherapy? You're there. If you crave the healing touch of a top notch spa but can't afford it these days, how about borrowing some of the ambiance and integrating it into your day? Here are five inexpensive ways to indulge in the spa lifestyle without really spending anything.

Seize the Day
Set your alarm a little earlier and squeeze in some time to reflect on the day ahead while reinvigorating your body. Whether it's a meditative walk, some gentle stretching or sweating it out on the treadmill, pretend you are waking up every day at Canyon Ranch and start your morning with some refreshing physical activity. One of my favorite fitness instructors often reminds his classes to think of exercise as "moving meditation." Give yourself the time to get to it before the day begins and you'll come away feeling like you're on some relaxing retreat.

Drink Spa Water
One of my favorite treats (besides getting an actual spa treatment) is hanging out in a spa's relaxation room in my robe. Just about any upscale facility will offer its own version of spa water along with the plush chaise lounges and an array of glossy beauty magazines. Why not make your own special drink? I've recently been trying out the Flat Belly Diet's "Sassy Water." But if you don't like ginger, you can mix up your own batch with just cucumber or mint or lemon. Keep it chilled in a pitcher and sip it throughout the day. You'll instantly feel refreshed.

Kick Back
Carve out time in the evening to literally put your feet up. Take a warm shower or bath. Maybe add some fragrant oil to your tub. Check out A World of Aromatherapy for some suggestions.

Whatever you do, don't rush. Then, when you emerge, wrap a towel on your head, pull your robe tight and recline on a comfy chair or bed and close the door. Let you partner handle the "I need a drink of water" duties tonight. Create your own relaxation room or corner in your home -- away from distractions like the TV or phone...or children (hopefully, they'll be in bed). Put a pile of gossip mags or whatever you like to read next to you and lean back. Sip your spa water or a warm cup of chamomile or mint tea.

Get Buff
I love getting my nails done. It feels so decadent. But here's a less expensive and more eco-friendly way to pamper yourself -- get your fingernails buffed instead. You can ask for this service during a regular appointment or do it yourself at home. Your nails will look shiny and well-groomed and you won't have to worry about chipping. Another plus -- you don't have to wait for the polish to dry (very helpful if you'll be changing diapers soon after).

Dine on Spa Meals
We all know it's more cost efficient to cook and eat at home. But meal preparation doesn't have to feel like a chore. Spoil yourself with at least one meal or snack you would enjoy on your spa vacation to say...Golden Door. Check out Spa Index for some ideas. One of my favorite all-time breakfasts is Total Fage non-fat Greek yogurt, half a cup of blueberries and a few almonds sprinkled on top. Make sure to actually sit down properly at the table when you dine with a place mat and napkin, etc. I often eat my spa breakfast after I drop my children at preschool so I can have some quiet time to enjoy it. And just like those luxurious relaxation suites where you can recline pre-and post-treatment, I always keep a bowl of fresh fruit where I can see it. Buy what's in season and you'll save some money, too.

For more thoughts and tips on motherhood and the pursuit of wellness in mind, body and spirit, please check out The Well Mom and sign up for my weekly email pep talk. You deserve to take time for YOU!

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