There are two key things I have learned about well-being over the years – both personally and professionally. The first is that it’s deeply personal – what one person needs is not exactly the same as someone else, and what we need changes over the course of our lives. The second thing is that wellbeing is an ongoing process – and it’s about consistency – habits, rituals, booking things in – all of that has a cumulative effect that helps us enjoy each day as much as possible.
A Workaholic’s Daily Rituals
Despite the world I work in, I have always struggled to make my own wellbeing a priority. When I went to hospital for emergency spinal surgery, the notes on my chart actually said not to give me my phone because I was a workaholic. One thing is certain, if you don’t listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something, it will eventually scream at you.
That said, there are certain habits that have always been a baseline for wellbeing for me. With three children, dogs and a business to run, I have been up at the crack of dawn for years – that is my free time, for headspace and untying the cognitive knots. It’s then that I take my dogs out for a walk across the fields – it’s never just been about exercise, it’s always been about the fresh air and being in open space as well.
More recently I have discovered running and have started doing 5k jogs three times a week with the dog instead – sometimes one of my children will join me now that they’re a little bit older, and I can’t believe what a game changer that is for mental wellbeing.
Getting Back Into Your Body
What spas have taught me is the value of getting out of my own head and back into my body – with our busy lives and all the technology we’re surrounded by, most of us live in our heads while our bodies are working incredibly hard to keep us going. The rituals associated with a spa – the thermal suites, the pools, the massages – all those things allow us to take a break from all the planning, the worrying, the projecting and the thinking and focus on the here and now; how that knot in your shoulder has eased, how your breathing feels – discover what that body, that has been working like the clappers to carry you through the world, really needs. It doesn’t matter how many times I go to a spa – often it’s for work but sometimes it’s for pleasure – I am always amazed at the impact that it has.
The Power Of Touch
One of the main reasons I, and so many others, find spa treatments so powerful is because of the very real healing power of human touch – there’s actually quite a lot of data to support that hypothesis now as well, it’s not conjecture. Just think of how much better you feel after a good hug. That kind and physical connection is incredibly important for our wellbeing, especially for those of us who feel stressed (which is most people) or anyone who has been running on empty, it’s easy to forget just how restorative touch can be. A facial, a massage, reflexology – it’s not just beneficial because of the specific movements that the therapist uses, but because of the human contact.
So, while I inevitably don’t get to enjoy spa experiences as much as I would like, I do make a point of experiencing them when I can and they are always game changing.
Have you found a Spa a perfect way to relax to?
Leave me a comment below about your experience…
About The Author
Abi Selby, founder of Europe’s leading spa booking agency Spabreaks.com, was born in Newton Abbot in Devon. Her mother was a housewife and her father was a double glazing salesman. She went to the local school and then on to Glamorgan University to do Communication and Media Studies before going on to Cardiff University for a postgraduate qualification in journalism.
With no formal business training and no stand-out academic record (she points out that she failed most maths tests she took at school), she has a vivid memory of her careers advisor telling her that she wouldn’t ever amount to anything. It was a galvanising moment in Abi’s education that continues to inform her drive and encouragement of other individuals in their careers today.
In early 2008, Abi launched Spabreaks.com with a team of two interns, just four months after her first son was born. Having started the company in the middle of a recession, Spabreaks.com reached the number two position in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 in 2012 following revenue growth from £250k in 2009, to £3.9m in 2010, £6.8m in 2011 and £11m in 2012. By 2018 turnover reached over £26m.
Today Spabreaks.com sends more than 12,000 people on spa days and breaks each week, and has a customer database of more than one million people. The number of venues they work with now exceeds 600 in the UK and overseas; and the team has grown to more than 70 members of staff who they moved from offices in London to Brighton in 2017, in order to facilitate a more positive work/life balance.
To find out more visit: Spabreaks.com