Secrets to a Stress-Free Home: A Lesson in Letting Go
IstockphotoMost of us believe that being busy means being productive and efficient. In fact, the opposite is often true. Spa directors like Carl Pratt, general manager at Hanover Inn, New Hampshire, and former managing director at Canyon Ranch Tucson, in Arizona, know that too much busyness can not only decrease your productivity but also take a big toll on your health. That's why they strategically pace and plan daily offerings to ensure that even a classic type A spagoer gets some wind-down time built into her day.
How much would your life change if you blocked out your day like a spa program director would—setting a pace that feels comfortable, organizing unified activities, and building in variety so you could decompress instead of feeling like you're always racing to some kind of crazy, climactic finish? You can use these cornerstones of spa thinking to help set your daily priorities and goals for a better way of living.
Ban multitasking: Rather than constantly doing three (or more!) very different things at once, save up similar errands to do together. For example, set aside a specific time when you check your voice mail and return calls, rather than doing these tasks on and off all day long. Or, if you can, group all family- or kid-related errands and calls into one time of day (like spas, which devote entire buildings or areas to a single type of activity).
"It's about organizing like tasks to promote a sense of focus," spa consultant Sylvia Sepielli says. "Doing this allows you to be more effective and less frazzled. You accomplish just as much, but you don't feel scattered."
Next Page: Schedule time outdoors [ pagebreak ]Schedule time outdoors: Remember how important recess was in school? It wasn't just the playground that did the trick; it was the break from routine, the fresh air, the change of scenery. "Spending time outside can really help recharge your batteries," Sepielli says. "You'll notice that bringing the outdoors into the everyday is a huge theme at virtually every spa anywhere in the world."
Consider planning outdoor time as a first-thing-in-the-morning pick-me-up. If you can't drag yourself out of bed, find another time of day to walk, run, or sit outside. "You can read the mail on your porch or do yoga on your deck," McAdams says. "The important thing is that you bring a little bit of the outdoors into your everyday life."
Pace yourself: "We teach our guests that, with organization, everything is possible," says Emmanuelle Arroya, program director for Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Mayakoba in Cancun. "We work on breaking things down into small goals—giving priority to the hardest, most important tasks, which you should do first, and looking for places where you can delegate or get assistance. Then, it's a matter of simply going down the list." Every time you achieve a goal or finish a task, celebrate for a second. Recognize your accomplishment, take a deep breath, and smile. Then say, "Next!"
Try that approach when you finish this article. Put it down. Pat yourself on the back. Then start working your way through the list of suggestions one by one, hardest to easiest. By the end, you will have worked your way up to one very big, very genuine, relaxed grin—and a whole new healthy lifestyle and home. And that's really a reason to celebrate.