Self Care Tips From Spa Industry Experts

by Rona Berg

Wellness Wisdom

We asked top spa experts to share their self-care secrets with us.

When you are a healer, a nurturer and someone who takes care of others all day, it is essential to learn how to sustain, restore and take care of yourself. We turned to six top spa directors who are immersed in wellness from dawn ‘til dusk, and asked them to share their secrets of self-care.

Sharon Holtz

Spa Director, Terranea Resort, Los Angeles, CA

Self-care “secrets” for me are small rituals that bring me into the present moment and ensure that I am remembering to focus on my own well-being.

Morning begins with a full body dry-brushing to exfoliate the skin and get the circulation moving. This is coupled with aromatherapy oils, usually something nice and uplifting to start the day, although sometimes I need something to ground me when life is a bit more hectic or I am traveling.

Getting on my yoga mat not only benefits me physically, but quieting my mind is essential to help me “reset” and proceed with my day/week.

In the evening, one of my favorite rituals is reading one-on-one with each of my young sons. It really allows us to slow down and be present with each other. I know it may not last forever, but I will keep this ritual as long as they will let me.

Evening herbal tea, either alone or shared with my husband, is a nice wind down, although some nights call for a glass of wine instead.

No matter how tired I am, I take the time to care for my skin. Proper cleansing, sometimes exfoliating and a mask, incorporating some relaxing aromatherapy for good sleep, and it’s off to bed.

Lynn Schauwecker

Spa Director, Mahasukha Spa at Menla Mountain Retreat Center, Phoenicia, NY

First and foremost, I go out first thing in the morning, greet the sun and drink a full liter of water (I do this before anything else). It is a great practice for the mind, body and spirit. It is also completely hydrating to the entire body and mind. I understand that if you drink water before you eat or drink anything else in the morning it is “food” for the brain; it goes directly to your brain, which helps everything operate much more efficiently. I also do yoga a few times a week.

I am fasting from sugar (all sweet things, including fruit, honey, etc.) for a year, which has completely changed the way that I feel, and my skin looks much more vibrant as well. I am also very into taking salt and herbal baths, especially in the wintertime. At Menla, we have special Tibetan herb baths which can leave you feeling completely restored and refreshed. They are also great before you go to sleep at night.

And I stick to a “diet” of positive thoughts, keeping only positive thoughts in my mind. Anything else, I am on a diet from. If something negative comes in my mind, I switch it for a positive thought.

Thai Yoga Massage at Mahasukha Spa at Menla Mountain Retreat Center

Deborah Evans Parker

Wellness & Spa Director, Lake Austin Spa, Austin, TX

Every day, I dry brush for the health of my skin and for natural energy to get my day started. I also take an aromatherapy or mineral bath daily and if not possible, I use magnesium lotion every day.

I drink a warm glass of purified water every morning with the juice of one organic lemon to kick-start my metabolism.

The power of thought, Lake Austin Spa

Amanda Myers

Director of Wellness, the Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm, Knoxville, TN

I am a firm believer in bedtime rituals to ensure a solid eight hours of sleep. I take a warm mineral salt and aromatherapy bath most nights, a magnesium supplement to relax my nervous system and take a cup of chamomile tea to bed with a good book or magazine. It’s lights out by 9:30!

I exercise daily, which includes walking my dog, doing yoga, swimming laps or weight training. I eat healthful foods and take quality supplements. I try to keep the majority of my diet plant-based, but always include high-quality proteins.

Daily nature breaks are key. They reset my mind and body and allow me to find my gratitude with the present moment. I also body brush frequently and do a self-massage with oil a few times a week.

My best self-care secret comes from my being loved and supported by my husband and time with my sweet and funny dog.

Maggie Wagner

Spa Director at Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley, Park City, UT

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to find balance in life. I start my day with a little yoga and meditation, which is crucial for me to be able to focus throughout the day. Not allowing myself to have this time will wreak havoc on my life.

So often, spa directors don’t take the time to get away and experience other spas, or step away from our jobs to see what else is out there and experience what our guests experience. I started out as a massage therapist, so getting a massage keeps me going, and reconnects me with my roots.

I make sure that I spend time with people who do not work with or for me. I try to do something fun that is completely different from what I do at work. Allowing yourself to forget about work makes you a more interesting and happier person.

It is essential that I get outside every day and enjoy nature. It is one of the best ways to clear my mind, get some exercise, and just have fun.

 My best self-care secret comes from my being loved and supported by my husband and time with my sweet and funny dog.

Amy Olthoff

Spa Director, Spa Nalai, Park Hyatt, New York, NYC

I am often asked, “Since you work in a spa do you get massages all the time?” The answer is no. The common misconception that I get weekly massages because I run a spa is a funny one to me—I know the “tricks of the trade” and dish out advice on a regular basis—but I have to remind myself to disconnect and relax whenever possible.

My go-to product is our Meditation oil blend from H. Gillerman Organics—which Hope custom designed specifically for our spa. This beautiful oil blend is in a rollerball form so I can easily roll it onto my neck and shoulders—I even wear it as a fragrance!

The blood orange, sandalwood and neroli blend is so refreshing and helps calm and clear my mind. We use this oil blend as an opening ritual to all of our services. It is a scent that never gets old to me—I think because some days my senses are drawn more to the neroli or more to the blood orange. It’s such an intriguing oil blend.

View from Spa Nalai at the Park Hyatt, New York

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