As you've scrolled through Instagram every weekend, you've probably noticed the growing popularity of #self-caresunday—maybe as day drinking gets balanced with holistic indulgence (or in the case of aloe vera margaritas, the two get mixed). Some stuff might seem familiar (organic manicures!), or approachable (alfresco pigeon poses!), or to be honest, a little out there (jade yoni eggs?). No matter where you find yourself on this spectrum, you can have fun exploring, especially when you are looking for ways to alleviate the stress of wedding planning, want to give your bachelorette weekend a little more depth (like, beyond the phallic-shaped shot glasses), or just need to carve out time for personal discovery as you embark on a lifelong partnership.
This is your chance to "connect to who you are and uplift how you feel," says Paula Mallis, founder of WMN Space, a women's wellness center in Los Angeles that offers healing workshops, spiritual counseling, and support gatherings. And in our current selfie culture, it makes sense that self-care has become so ultra-visible: "It's viewed as a necessary aspect of lifestyles now—as it should be," says Lauren Ash, founder of Black Girl in Om and a Nike trainer in Chicago.
The trick is finding some endeavor that feels authentic to you (and OK, maybe also looks good on the ’gram). “Don’t just jump on what you see online or whatever your friend said worked for her,” Ash says. “It might not be effective for you.”
And if the idea of salt caves or sound baths feels too airy-fairy for you, remember you can start a relaxing self-care regimen with something as close to home as a soak in your tub— just New Age it up. “You can deep-dive into the woo-woo with a bath,” says Deborah Hanekamp, a New York City healer known as @MamaMedicine. She recommends candlelight, rose petals, and jasmine essential oil “for heightened awareness” but also likes to throw in crystals. Her favorites include rose quartz, amethyst, and fluorites for their reputed cleansing, calming, and love-boosting powers. “If you hold the crystals on you and do some deep breathing, you may feel their energies on your body while you soak,” she says.
Once you get the hang of me time, consider turning it into we time—with a wellness-inspired bachelorette retreat. At least anecdotally, they’re increasing in popularity. Instead of holding your friends’ hair back after an all-night rager, you’re holding one another’s hands while sharing your feelings and experimenting with aura reading or energy clearing. “There’s a time for solo reflection—but it’s also a gift to connect with other women,” Mallis says.
In fact, when Ash recently led a bridal posse through a group-meditation exercise, “everyone was crying—in the good way!—within the first five minutes,” she says. “That’s what happens when you open yourself up to connecting with friends in a way that’s different from just getting lunch. You allow yourself to be vulnerable.”
Admittedly, there may be some hurdles of self-consciousness to clear. Hanekamp points out that you might actually feel more exposed submerged in a sound bath (a form of aural healing) or expressing your anxieties when surrounded by friends than you would in a room full of strangers. But that can be a good thing. “Brides and bridesmaids may go in feeling awkward, but then they have these loving, powerful conversations,” she says. “It’s like all insecurity leaves the room.”
Sometimes it’s simply the language that’s the barrier, Mallis says. That’s why she recently changed the name of WMN Space’s monthly support gatherings from moon circles to women’s circles. Sure, “harnessing the moon’s energy really does support the work we do in the circles, but you don’t have to [believe that] to get something out of it,” she says. “Magic always happens when women are together.”
#Self-Care Sampler: Whether you’re a New Age newbie or spiritual gangster, here are 10 experiences to try
1. Guided meditation
In an open class or private session, you and your friends can think in sync as a teacher directs your focused breathing and concentration.
2. Jade roller facial
These crystal tools make fun brides- maid gifts. Plan an afternoon of group facials: Moving a roller across the skin may increase blood flow and muscle tone.
3. Calisthenics and caterwauling
If your team is looking to up heart rates and mindfulness, consider a spiritual fitness outing. Workouts like SoulCycle, Lifted from NYC’s Holly Rilinger, and the Class by Taryn Toomey combine high-energy movements with mystical candlelight, meditation, or lots of therapeutic yelling.
4. Salt chambers
A nap surrounded by walls of salt is said to improve skin, respiration, and emotional well-being.
5. Crystal cleansing
Surround your- selves with stones that some believe have energy-balancing and mood-lifting properties.
6. Palo santo smudging ceremony
A kit with fragrant wood and a selenite crystal is supposed to clear out energy fields. Gather your lady friends, burn the wood, smudge the ashes on one another, and pass the selenite around.
7. Sound Bath
During this treatment, a practitioner usually sings or tings metal or crystal bowls and cymbals to emit sound waves that wash over you, reducing stress and anxiety for some people.
8. Infrared sauna
Look for a spa offering infrared lighting, which creates heat in the body (not just the air) and is said to be extra detoxifying.
A therapist uses special suction cups on your skin. Benefits may include decreased pain and inflammation and increased blood flow and relaxation.
In this type of healing, a master channels energy into a patient by means of touch, aiming to promote a greater balance within the body.