Spa professionals, as well as their clients, who need a mid-pandemic wellness tune-up will benefit from these mood-lifting tips from experts in the field.
Wayne Cowan, activities director at Whiteface Lodge, in Lake Placid, New York, advises doing a cold-weather workout to help ease seasonal depression while reaping cardio benefits and higher calorie burn. Warming up with a few stretches is crucial, he notes, and you can make it fun by trying something new, like snowshoeing or hiking. (Snowshoeing in particular can burn some 500 calories an hour on average—twice as many as walking.)
To optimize these winter workouts, Cowan suggests the following:
- Standing quad stretch: Standing up straight, bend your right leg up behind you and grab your foot with your left hand. Count to 30, then lower your leg and repeat on the other side for three sets.
- Forward bend: From a standing position, bend forward at your hips, keeping your legs straight as you lower your hands until they reach your ankles. Hold for 30 seconds to stretch your calves, hamstrings and hips. Repeat three times.
- Forward lunge: Elevate your left foot at least 12 inches, resting it on a stair, bench or even a large rock. Staying vertical and squaring your hips, extend your right leg behind you, squeezing your right glute, then reach your right arm overhead to deepen the stretch. Hold 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side for three repetitions.
The Gift of Massage
LaRae Verros, spa director at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, has created a “no pressure” massage guideline for novices:
- Communication: The partner receiving the massage should be comfortable asking for what they want and need, as well as give positive reinforcement, and the partner giving the massage should ask for feedback and listen with an open mind.
- Pressure: Make sure to give and accept feedback as you work together to find the perfect level of pressure.
- The right space: A massage table is good but not necessary, as is a quiet space. You can keep it flexible and fun with things like snacks and TV during a foot rub.
- Technique: Slower is better, and don’t overuse your thumbs. It’s not sustainable and your strength will burn out quickly.
Invite the Light
Research supports the health benefits of natural light, such as increased vitamin D levels, warding off depression symptoms and improving sleep quality, no name a few. Now that homes are also doubling as workplaces and classrooms, maximizing natural light is key to well-being and productivity.