20 Ways to Relate, Release & Refresh on a Budget

November 16, 2011  |  
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Pampering isn’t just about lying back and relaxing. We love a good massage as much as the next girl, but when money is short that’s when we’re all most stressed and a spa day might not be in the budget. Ultimately, pampering is about getting a moment to forget about the hectic nature of everyday life and soothe the brain. This list of 20 ideas is dedicated to working women, unemployed women, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, daughters and every other type of women who deserve to feel like queens every now and then. That means — You! Here’s how to nurture your body, mind and spirit.

1. Smooth the Hard Shell

Milk and honey are a great combination to whip up in an exfoliating body scrub. Part salt, honey, milk and olive oil, this mixture found here will rub off your dead skin cells and leave you smelling super sweet.

2. Hot Hair

Remember as a child watching mom put those VO5 Hot Oil treatments in her hair, then walking around with a shower cap on for half the day? A little more enlightened and a lot cheaper, natural coconut or avocado oil are what many women use  in lieu of this product today. For a more soothing effect, when your oil-slathered hair is in the shower cap, wrap it with a warm towel to open your scalp pores for better treatment absorption.

3. Curl and Read

If there’s one quiet corner in your home, grab it and take a good book with you! We suggest “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which has been on the New York Times bestsellers list for 35 weeks straight. It about how a black woman’s cells are the foundation of much medical investigation, ranging from testing medicine to measuring the affects of radiation on DNA.

4. Brown Sugar, Babe

Don’t let those toes start looking crazy just because it’s not sandal season anymore. Before you pick up the polish, exfoliate with a natural brown sugar scrub—a lot of the ingredients you may already have in your home!

5. Red Wine and Maxwell (for the Grown ‘n’ Hot)

Something about the smooth sound of “A Woman’s Worth” and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon just says “pamper” to us, or a least a short chill session. Not a Maxwell fan? Take it back with the original Prince of Soul, Marvin Gaye.

6. Ginger Tea Time

Ginger not only improves circulation and blood flow, it also serves as a tasty, flavorful winter drink. I’m a honey fan, but brown sugar is also an enjoyable sweetener as well. Just sipping a warm, sweet liquid will help you to relax.

7. Soak it Up

Soak, for an hour or two in the tub. But if you’re going to do it, do it big! Lights candles, put on Miles Davis and have some quality bath products. We’re fans of Carol’s Daughter Body Aches Bath Salts found here.

8. Tune In to Tune Out

OK, so this pampering technique is not as relaxing as a bath but it is just as enjoyable. Take a trip through memory lane with a couple episodes of The Cosby Show, A Different World or The Wonder Years (two of which are on Netflix).

9. Man-Made Meal

Whoever said the song, “Cater 2 U” couldn’t be switched up to appease women? If your love doesn’t know your favorite dish, email him the recipes and ask for him to practice his cooking skills on you. If you can get him to do the dishes as well, this man’s a keeper!

10. Woo-Saa

If you’re looking for a way to relieve stress, control your breathing and clear your head, meditating is an ancient fix for this. Learn the proper techniques here.

11. Stretch Out with Yoga

If you need something more active than meditation, yoga is an excellent way to relax, contour the body and stretch. Ok, ok we see how this may not seem like complete pampering but anything that allows you to be at your best falls under this category for us. Learn the basics through free online tutorials.

12. Let’s Take a Long Walk 

Many of you may already do this but those who haven’t — go! Just leave the house or the office or wherever you are and walk. Enjoy a sunset, smell the foliage and listen to the sounds of your city or neighborhood — it can often be the best way to refocus.

13. Pig Out!

We know, you’re trying to slim down… aren’t we all? But every blue moon it’s OK to grub on your favorite dish or snack. If you really can’t escape from the diet-fest, put a spin on it: Chocolate Chip Ants on a Log, anyone?

14. Color in, Yes, a Coloring Book!

A great way to relax is to grab some crayons and color. There’s no shame in the game—use one of your kids books or go to a bookstore to grab your canvas. Or just get some blank paper and doodle to express your feelings. It works.

15. Breathe Easy

While the incense man on the corner is pretty awesome, there’s something a bit more sophisticated than scented sticks. Jurlique Spa sells fantastic signature scents to add to bath water or even a small damp, warm wash cloth over your face. Not cheap, but a good long-term investment per use.

16. Sleep In

Every Monday morning we all say the same thing: “When next weekend comes, I’m going to sleep in,” as you hit the alarm. But how often does that actually happen? Make it happen by taking care of all your morning to-dos the night before. Then use the next Saturday morning to luxuriate in bed.

17. Stroll and Learn

Every city has a museum, art gallery or cultural center to learn about the landscape of a specific creative realm — and many are free. Take a day off to explore one and act like a tourist.

18. Obama-Style Date Night

Leave the kids with the sitter and go to town with the hubby. If Michelle and Barack can take time every now and then to be romantic, you can too! Trust, it’ll revitalize that fire and desire. Keep it simple and fun.

19. Take a Midday Nap

Some do 10, some do 15, some go all out and take an hour. We say, do you! Naps are one of the best ways to recharge and refocused in the middle of the day—AND they’re free (just don’t take one at the office).

20. Moment of Silence

For some of us city-dwellers, we may go nuts-so if we don’t have loud street noise constantly around. But for those of you who know the solace of silence, find a quiet corner of the house, sit and just think. Being still with yourself can center you in just a few minutes.

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