How To Transform Your Low-Budget Bath In To A Luxury Spa

We all know that stress is a major health and wellness no-no, and that relaxation is a crucial component to maintaining a healthy balance in our lives. Fortunately, there are many ways to counterbalance the harmful effects of harboring too much stress, such as meditating, practicing yoga and finding time take care of yourself through rest and relaxation.

A few simple spendthrift additions quickly transform a boring bath in to an enlivening experience

A few simple spendthrift additions quickly transform a boring bath in to an enlivening experience

There's nothing quite like a nice hot soak in the tub after a long day, but sometimes the run-of-the-mill bubble bath falls short of washing away all the stress and making you feel like you just stepped out of a 5 star spa. Here are some super cheap and easy ways to turn an ordinary bath in to an extraordinary experience that will leave you feeling relaxed and replenished!

All you'll need is:

3 steps to a luxury bath: sugar, coconut oil, chamomile tea

3 steps to a luxury bath: sugar, coconut oil, chamomile tea

  • 2-5 bags of your favorite tea
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt or sugar
  • candles
  • mellow music of your choice

First, bring a large pot of water to boil and let the tea bags steep for a good 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use loose leaf tea or simply cut the tea bags open and pour the leaves straight in to the bath water (I choose the bags in an effort to reduce clean-up afterwards).

Then, stir the oil in with the sugar or salt. This acts as an emulsifier, helping the oil to mix with the water more evenly.

Next, set the mood by dimming the lights and lighting any candles you might have. Pick your favorite tunes to relax to; I like Billie Holiday and Modern Classical Piano Pandora Radio stations.

Chamomile tea bags in bath water add an extra relaxing aroma

Chamomile tea bags in bath water add an extra relaxing aroma

Lastly, add the tea and oil mixture to the bath water and soak it all up for at least 20 minutes. I used chamomile tea with coconut oil and it was AMAZING! Not only did I step out of the tub feeling completely blissed-out, but my skin was strikingly soft from head to toe - no moisturizing afterwards required!

*Quick tips*

  •  if you're acne prone, avoid getting the oily water on your face
  • use a clean wash cloth  to rinse with fresh, cold water and place on your face
  • keep a cool glass of lemon water handy
  • unplug - silence your phone and leave the laptop in the other room

Interested in living a healthier, more balanced life? Schedule your Free Discovery Session with a professional One Balance Wellness Coach today!

Best Way to Cope With a Breakup? A Healthy Relationship With Yourself!

I got dumped recently. The out-of-nowhere, wtf-just-happened, blind-sided, whiplash kind of break-up I never saw coming. He had just come back to bed early on a Saturday morning; he had a friend waiting on him to go surfing and I had to be a yoga teacher training in 15 minutes, and I thought it was sweet that he made the extra cuddle time... When he asked, "Can we talk about something? I don't know how you've been feeling about how things are going between us..." I actually thought he was about to ask to be my boyfriend. We had been seeing a lot of each other over the last few weeks (remember my Relationship Revelation? yeah, same guy), and I felt like things were going well between us. After all, the last time I had seen him a few days earlier he  asked me straight up if I wanted a boyfriend. I told him I would like that, if it's a good fit. He looked me dead in the eyes and said "I think we could be a good fit," a statement that made me all-a-flutter at the time, and painfully confused in hindsight.

Imagine my surprise when, as my head rests on his chest amidst the dreamy clouds of my down comforter, he tells me that it's not 100% a good fit, and he thinks it's for the best if we don't see each other anymore. I guess I wasn't expecting perfection in a budding relationship. Maybe I should be.

But this isn't a story about a break-up. It's a story about realizing how much we can grow between break-ups, and how sometimes it takes things falling apart for us to realize how much more 'together' we've actually become as individuals since that last time we got hurt.

It's been a long time since I've been dumped, and never had I ever been dumped quite like this. It was BRUTAL. The worst relationship dismount of all time (for me, personally). But what makes this break-up truly unique doesn't have anything to do with his delivery, and everything to do with my recovery. The silver lining around getting knocked down is that it shows us how quickly we can bounce back.

There was a time not long ago when a break-up like this would have knocked me flat on my ass. No way would I have made it to yoga teacher training that day, let alone in the 5 minutes I had between showing him out and leaving my house. I would have shut myself off to the outside world, forgone all responsibilities in the name of heartbreak, bawled uncontrollably, gotten high, or drunk, or both, and wallowed in my own self pity for days on end. This used to be the kind of thing that would put me over the edge and straight in to the Dark Side.

Not this time. I rallied. I chose to accept the pain and live life anyway. I made it through all four hours of teacher training; not because if I hadn't gone I would have failed the course, but because I would have failed myself. Sure, I cried through all 5 minutes of our break, and totally broke down at the end of class, but I was there. And let's be honest, if you're going to have a breakdown in public, a yoga studio might be the best place to do it! I was instantly surrounded by wise, heart-warming words, hugs and support from all angles. It was amazing, and I wouldn't have been able to receive all that love had I taken the low road to Breakdown Boulevard.

After class I could have done anything I wanted with the rest of my day. The world was my oyster, and I could have choked on it had I wanted to. I seriously considered it, too. I thought about closing the blinds, binging on mac 'n cheese and ice cream, getting back in bed and feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the day as a reward for having made it to the studio that morning.

But then I thought, what kind of reward is feeling all kinds of awful? That's dumb.

Instead I took a shower, literally washed that man right outta my hair, and put one foot in front of the other. Again, literally. I walked for three straight hours, and it felt like every step was one tiny little victory in the face of turmoil. I hadn't set out to go anywhere in particular, but I ended up at the end of the pier right at twilight, and got to watch one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen as the sun settled directly between the arches of the Golden Gate Bridge right in front of me. It was a truly breathtaking moment, and I would have never experienced it if I had continued in my old ways of coping, i.e. isolation, lethargy, junk food and dulling my feelings with booze and weed.

My iPhone does little justice, but it's still gorgeous.

This break-up incited so much more than just the usual (and totally natural!) feelings of pain, confusion and insecurity - it allowed me to feel proud of myself and how far I've come since the last time a relationship didn't work out. I had no idea how strong and resilient I had grown, and I would still be unaware of my fortitude had I not experienced not only the break-up itself, but my true, undiluted, unabridged feelings arising as a result.

Break-ups suck, but breakdowns are only one of countless ways of coping with them. We can all surprise ourselves by electing a different (and likely more effective) healing mechanism next time we get hurt - maybe yours is practicing yoga, playing to music, or cooking a healthy meal for yourself. Whichever means you choose, I invite you to get through your next hardship by rewarding yourself with the gift of taking care of yourself in a way that actually makes you feel better, not worse! You might be surprised how much you've grown in to your best self in the process.

Relationship Revelation: What's Certain about Uncertainty

Uncertainty - more work to do Today I cleared an emotional hurdle that I've been getting caught up on for years, and it feels AMAZING. I have to share it with the hopes that it will help others find peace in a very particular and all too common moment of human uncertainty.

I found myself in a familiar place; a place we all go to from time to time, but sometimes I feel like I have been living there forever. It's the point in a budding relationship with someone new when you find yourself wanting to see the other person more, wanting to know when the next time you'll see them will be, and feeling insecure that they don't want to see you as much as you want to see them. You find yourself armed with a cell phone ready to extend an invitation that it's really not your turn to make or asking if they're going to take you up on that loose offer to get together later this week etc...

Stop. Right. There.

At least, that's what I did, and at the risk of sounding overly dramatic I don't think I'll ever be the same. You see, I realized today that this moment of uncertainty, this small span of time when I'm not sure when, or even if I'll see him again is a truly precious moment that he and I will never share again regardless of where things go from here. Maybe I'll see him tonight, maybe I'll never see him again, maybe I'll see him all the time for years to come - who knows?! No matter where things go from here, one thing is for sure: this moment of not knowing when we will see each other will never happen again once it has past. Think about it, once this phase of a relationship ends you're either together, or your not. There's no going back to this time when anything can happen between the two of you. Once you know, you know. There's no way to bring the romantic mystery back in to the equation after this.

Because this moment is so unique and fleeting, rather than doing our best to shove it out of the way so we can see what's around the corner, why not embrace where we are right now? Why not enjoy it? Oftentimes nervousness and anxiety stem from good old-fashioned excitement, and if we choose to appreciate the uncertainty of this moment and rest assured that we'll know all too soon where things are headed, we can just be excited to be in this unknowing, no safety net, once-in-a-relationship moment!

This simple mindset twerk can take us all away from staring at our phones and cursing everyone that pings us for not being the person we want to hear from, to leaving our phones and our anxieties behind and going out in to the world with a lightness in our chest and a smile on our face because we like someone, and that's one of the greatest feelings ever!

Really, finding someone who captures your interest and gets you excited to see them is a HUGE deal that doesn't happen very often. So let's just celebrate having gotten this far, and let then 'when' and the 'how' go for now and relish this exciting time of endless possibility, shall we?

Trust me, it's a life-changing liberation for your mind, and your heart.

Drink To Your Health!

It should come as no surprise that when it comes to the beverages we choose on a daily basis, what we drink can directly and drastically affect our long term health. Having just read 'Chapter 8: You Are What You Drink' in Walter C. Willett, M.D's Eat, Drink and Be Healthy, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, I picked up a few useful tidbits we can all use to make the best drink decisions for our health every day. Dr. Willett himself states that "...what and how much you drink may be just as important as what and how much you eat" when it comes to healthy lifestyle - a crucial point that gets overlooked by so many of us on a daily basis. We're so often all wrapped up in scrutinizing our every dietary move about our meals, that we fail to recognize the extent to which the liquids we consume are weighing in on our bodies.

"You dry, you die"

Our bodies are comprised of about 50% water, and it is absolutely fundamental to our survival that we maintain this ratio to live, plain and simple. We need enough fluid in our system to undergo a seemingly endless variety of bodily functions, from "...making enough urine to flush away toxic by-products of digestion and metabolism and other wastes, maintaining blood volume, preventing body salts from getting too concentrated, and replenishing whatever water [we] lose". Metabolic tasks such as these are critical to our survival, and they can only be achieved by ensuring an abundant intake of fluids on a regular basis. I'll drink to that!

How Much Is Enough?

The amount of fluid required for healthy bodily functions varies depending on several factors, including genetics, diet, activity level and environment. As Dr. Willett points out, we all need "...about a milliliter of fluid for every calorie burned", which boils down to about eight 8 oz. glasses of water for a typical 2,000 calorie per day diet. Basically, the more you eat, the more you should be drinking. Same goes for activity and environmental factors: the more you move and the harder your body has to work to maintain a steady temperature in extreme weather conditions, the more fluids you need to stay healthy.

What to Drink?

These days there is a slew of different beverages to choose from on a daily basis, most of which are marketed as being good for you. Keep in mind, though, that cleverly packaged sports drinks, natural sodas, vitamin waters and the like oftentimes deliver extra calories and sugars to your daily intake, which when done on a daily basis can add to your waistline, not to mention your grocery bill. Here's a closer look at a few of the most popular drinks available today.

Soda Sucks (Nutritionally Speaking)

In my opinion, drinking soda/pop/cola or whatever you want to call it, is probably the worst beverage choice we can make for ourselves in regards to our long term health.  As pointed out in the book, "an extra 150 calories a day can translate into a fifteen-pound weight gain over a year", yikes! Keep in mind that one 12 oz. soda typically has 182 calories, and "has absolutely no nutritionally redeeming value". Thanks for a whole lot of nothing, soda.

Watch Out for Janky Juice 

Let's be clear on this one: not all juice is created equal. Dr. Willett makes an important point that "... real juice (as opposed to juice-flavored sugar water) can be an important part of a healthy diet". How do you know if your juice is legit? Simple, disregard everything on the front of the label, and focus on the ingredients. Here's a great side-by-side to show you what to look for:

Juice Nutrition Fact Comparison

See the difference? Note the percentage of real juice and how it directly correlates with the amount of vitamins and minerals. Hardly any real juice = hardly any nutritional value. Also, keep an eye out for long ingredient lists, especially ones containing words you need to Google the pronunciation of and the seemingly ever present 'high fructose corn syrup', AKA synthetic sugar.

Milk: Does it Really Do a Body Good?

If you're like me and most people in the States, you were raised on cow's milk. It's been touted as one of the healthiest beverages available to us for decades, and we've been lapping it up every day throughout our lives as a result. Newsflash, people, "... there are more reasons not to drink milk in large amounts than there are to drink it", and Dr. Willett comes right out and says, "I don't recommend it as a beverage". Boom. Between the advice of this Harvard doctor (among countless others) and the fact that imagining putting my mouth on a cow's teat (which, let's be real, is essentially what is happening when we drink milk) totally freaks me out, I'll pass on this beverage, thanks.

Coffee Conundrum

There are a lot of mixed reviews on coffee (okay, and pretty much everything else on the topic of health and nutrition) but, as with most anything else, I see it as having less to do with coffee itself, and more to do with how we use it that tips the scale to 'good' or 'bad'. The book states that "[c]offee is a remarkably safe beverage." It also makes a point to mention that "...there are downsides to caffine. Drinking too much coffee can give you the shakes, make you irritable, and keep you from sleeping. It's also addictive". The upside of drinking coffee includes a lower chance of developing kidney stones, gallstones, type 2 diabetes and it can straight up save lives. That's right, "Both the Nurses' Health Study and a study from a large California HMO have shown that suicide rates are as much as 50 percent lower among coffee drinkers than non-coffee drinkers". So, if you struggle with depression, I'd say go ahead and drink the coffee if that's your thing, just don't go filling it with tons of  sugar and cream!

Tricky Tea

Again, the jury is still out on how good tea is for you to drink on a regular basis. As stated in the book, tea proves to "improve cholesterol levels and artery function and inhibit early steps leading to cancer", at least in the laboratory. Dr. Willett clarifies that, "[in] real life, though, the evidence is mixed and often contradictory". Surprise, surprise. There are a lot of different scientific thoughts on tea, and I by no means feign to be an expert on the nutritional benefits it does or does not have. I do know, however, that drinking tea provides me with the same warm, fuzzy sensation of taking a moment for myself and enjoying a nice warm beverage without giving me the jitters, headache and tummy ache I've experienced with coffee in the past.

Water = Winning

At the end of the day (and the beginning and middle, for that matter) water is the absolute best choice we can make for ourselves when faced with the question of what to drink for several reasons. As the book points out, water "...has 100 percent of what you need... and no calories or additives". Furthermore, "...when it comes from the tap, water costs a fraction of a penny per glass". Sometimes, the best things in life really are free!