Is This The Best Way To Reset Your Mood & Nervous System?
I've always liked extreme. When I was younger, I loved cutting out ice cream for Lent (pretty extreme for a 9-year-old, I'd say), I actually enjoyed taking organic chemistry condensed into a five-week summer class in college, and I opted to do my yoga teacher training in a monthlong intensive instead of one day a week. But when I was invited to Extreme Self-Care Day at The Wing—a members-only women-only co-working space in NYC and D.C.—with American Express Platinum, I thought, Extreme self-care? Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron.
And that's likely because we've been taught over and over again that self-care should be something gentle—a few mindful minutes for yourself here and there; a quick yoga session, an Epsom salt bath, or journaling ritual that we should try to fasten into our daily schedule somehow. But knowing my background of summer OCHEM and five-day fasting-mimicking diets, I was intrigued.
Would a full day of self-care get boring? Wouldn't the benefits max out at around two hours and then start to stress me out? I signed up and was ready to find out.
This is what a full-day of self-care looks like.
Let me just preface this by saying that it was Saturday, this was for work, and I also went to the wrong Wing location by accident—meaning I got there more than an hour late and was not feeling particularly "Zen" when I arrived.
But when I walked into the Wing's SoHo location (not the DUMBO location, for the record), with its soft colors, natural light, and furniture designed to make you feel like you're in the modern-day version of the Marie Antoinette movie, I felt just a little bit better. And when I saw dozens of women dressed in the same fluffy white robes and slippers, I had that once-in-a-while feeling that I was in exactly the right place at the right time.
On the extreme self-care agenda were hair touchups by Dyson—showcasing their new blow-drying hair wand, which is nothing short of a modern-day miracle—polish changes with LAVY nail polish, DIY body scrubs, a CBD dosing tutorial, candles from the sex essentials brand maude, and a self-facial led by Naturopathica. Then, panel discussions (because self-care can take the form of a little bit of learning, too) with the likes of Whitney Tingle, one of the co-founders of Sakara Life (who also provided the lunch) and Elettra Wiedemann, the founder The Impatient Foodie, and a very timely and very funny comedy session by Sasheer Zamata.
It shocked me how well this day full of self-care calmed my nervous system and made me feel more optimistic. The stress relief tea was flowing, and what I thought would be an hour or two of talking to people, getting the lay of the land, and then heading on with the rest of my day turned into four hours of me feeling totally present, relaxed, and like I'd been transported far out of my normal life and NYC.
A self-care marathon: Is it exactly what we all need?
I'm not sure if it was just how unexpected the stress-relieving benefits were or maybe if the current political climate had anything to do with it, but a day surrounded by smart, hardworking, badass women lounging around and drinking tequila in fluffy white bathrobes was just what the doctor ordered. And I don't see any reason why a group of girlfriends couldn't congregate, turn off their phones, turn on the teapot, pull out the nail polish, and recreate this event right inside their own home. I'd take that over a day at an eerily quiet, stuffy spa any day.
So is it time for a self-care marathon of your own? It's up to you. This is a great reminder that yes, self-care can be very minimalist and you don't really need any props, but it can also be very over-the-top and sometimes that's just more fun. The take-home? Self-care gets to be defined by the one doing the caring—and that means it can be done in two three-hour session or 10 five-minute sessions or over a full day.
So did a day of extreme self-care really reset my brain and nervous system? It's hard to say for sure, but what I will say is that walking back out onto the streets of busy SoHo (not DUMBO)—and really, into the world with all its current problems—felt quite a bit more manageable.