Does this Friday afternoon sound familiar? It’s been a long week in a year (two years?) of long weeks. You’re a little achy, you have a bit of a headache and there aren’t any big plans for the weekend because, ya know. 

We’ve all been there. But instead of sinking into a Netflix binge, occasionally broken up by household chores, why not take some time for yourself to fully relax? With a little planning, you can have everything you need for a mini-spa day right in your backyard garden, harp music not included. 

Set the scene

First, you need to get fully into the spa mood. This is not a space for cellphones or emails or folding the laundry. You’re going for a serene, pampering mood. So, dim the lights, shut off your electronics and head to your herb garden. Use a handful of mint leaves to brew up a pot of fresh mint tea. You can also grab a sprig of lavender off of the bush for some calming aromatherapy. Crush the lavender with a mortar and pestle, and let the sweet scent wash over you. Look at that. You’re feeling calmer already.

It’s also important to stay hydrated. Spa treatments are gruelling work, and they can drain your energy. Make sure to drink lots of water, flavored with your favorite fruit. Blackberries and raspberries are great if you want to stay calm, while lemons, oranges and limes can be energizing at the end of your treatments. For a classic spa beverage, slice up some cucumber to add to your water for some crisp refreshment. Make sure to save a few slices for your eye mask later!

Down to the nitty gritty

Time for some light exfoliation. Remember, this is supposed to be relaxing, so don’t freak out on the soles of your feet or your dry elbows. Your skin just needs a little help sometimes to feel its best, so less is more with any kind of exfoliation or scrub. 

For this tasty concoction, puree half an apple in a blender or food processor, and mix with brown sugar. You can throw in a pinch of cinnamon too, if you want to embrace the fall vibes and feel extra warm and cozy. Use this scrub anywhere that feels a little rough, such as knees, feet, elbows and even your lips. Wash off gently with warm water and a cloth, and follow up with a moisturizing lip balm. 

Stay a while

Now comes the truly relaxing bit: masks. Putting on a hair or face mask means you have to stay put while the thing is drying. You have no choice but to rest for a bit. What’s that? Someone needs you to do the dishes or walk the dog? Sorry, it’ll have to wait until my mask is done. (Repeat as needed.)

There are a ton of different combinations for masks, but a key component is moisture. You want rich ingredients that will feed your skin, not strip too much away. Plants such as aloe vera and fruit such as avocados are perfect for the task. For special bonus points, if you have a backyard apiary, fresh honey is wonderful on the skin. It’s a humectant, meaning it retains moisture. Try mixing honey and avocado for a face mask or honey and fresh plain yogurt for a luxurious hair mask. If you have oatmeal, you can mix that with yogurt to calm red or inflamed skin. 

Of course, one of the best ingredients for your hair is in your chicken coop. You can mix an egg with bananas or avocado to help dry hair, blend it with aloe vera for shiny hair or a bit of lemon juice to fight dandruff. 

Slather on your masks of choice, grab those cucumber slices for your eyes and chill out. For the next 30 minutes, your only job is to luxuriate. When you’re finished, rinse off with a bit of warm water, and then apply a facial oil, such as jojoba oil, to lock in all the goodness. 

Then, the next time you’re feeling stressed out and need a good escape, you know what to do. Just head to the garden for the ultimate in #selfcare.