Monday, December 28, 2009

Home as Spa

By Mary Beth Lagerborg

I don’t suppose you think of your home as a spa. But then your spa-thoughts probably run toward the fluffy bathrobe, ice water with a floating lemon slice, and that Enya-esk music. But on this week after Christmas, when the chaos of a holiday season can leave us longing for some peace, your home as a spa could be the perfect thought.

Your home is a spa – it needs to be – if you think about it. When I think of my home as a spa I’m thinking about eating a couple of chocolate chip cookies (plus any broken ones in the jar) when I get home, pouring a glass of iced tea topped off with cranberry juice, and slipping on my jogging pants, a sweatshirt and slippers. Then I’m comfy and I can best relax. I shed stress with my heels and binding clothes.

We all need home to be a place where we can let down, rest, be accepted, go without make-up, and wear the really old sweats. Because home is where we refuel, so that we can make a difference outside its walls day after day.

It doesn’t really matter how large or small our home is, or how nice our stuff is. Because home as spa looks different for each of us, and is a matter of making the most of our resources, whatever these may be.

Granted, the concept is complicated because generally other people live in our homes too. And they each want home to be their spa. And they have different ideas of what home as spa looks like. But taking this all into consideration, how to we maximize our home as spa?
  • Recognize the home as spa needs of each family member, and give room for them. Give thought to how each family member likes to rest and to play at home, and mentally “give them permission” as much as possible.
  • Think about how you use the spaces in your home, and purposely create spaces for play – like with a game table or craft supplies – and places to rest, like with comfy throws. Lighting can make a big difference in creating a playful or a restful space.
  • Create your own “away space,” even if it’s a favorite chair in the corner of your bedroom.
  • Identify the times and places at home where you feel most energized, and capitalize on those. For me, that would be taking a shower or a long, hot bubble bath. Inevitably that hot water releases my best ideas and solutions to vexing problems. So I try not to have to shower too quickly in the morning.
  • Create some oases of beauty in your home, because beauty is restorative. When our three sons were young, we had what I call two pretty rooms: the living room and the master bedroom. These were the only two rooms with “good” furniture, and I tried to keep the bed made and these two rooms picked up. No matter how chaotic the rest of the house sounded and felt, I knew I could step into either of these and experience some order and peace. I could take a deep breath.
We have great adventures ahead outside the walls of our home. So I figure it’s a good investment of my time and my thought, to make the best of my home as spa.

Mary Beth Lagerborg is co-author of Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites, the ultimate do-ahead dinner technique, and eight other books including Dwelling: Living Fully from the Space You Call Home. She is former Publishing Manager at MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers), and writes and speaks on topics related to creating the well-lived home. Find her online at and

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