As we creep closer to the two-year anniversary of the onset of the pandemic, it seems that we all need a little self-care now more than ever. So why not give it as a gift to a loved one (or to yourself) for Valentine’s Day?
Self-care is about more than a soothing face mask and a bubble bath or a vacation to the beach (though those are good, too), and it means something different for everyone. Sometimes self-care is represented by staying in bed all day, and sometimes it means cleaning your whole house, top to bottom. But regardless of what it looks like for you, self-care is about taking care of yourself, body and mind, and listening to what you need. But it can be difficult to know what we need, so here are a few ideas of where to start, whether you’re coupled up this Valentine’s Day, spending the day with friends, or treating yourself.
Book a spa day
While self-care isn’t just about massages and facials, spending the day getting pampered sure won’t make you feel worse. A few of Austin’s top spas and retreats are offering special Valentine’s Day packages. Here are some of our favorites:
- Buy a $250 gift card for $200 and get a free Valentine’s Day greeting card.
- Treat yourself to a facial and a massage for $179 (usually a $220 value).
- Spend the whole day in a fluffy robe and slippers, sipping delicious hot tea and losing yourself in a massage, a mani-pedi, and a facial for $348.99 (normally $420).
Spa Sway (promotions run from February 11-14)
- Buy a $200 gift card and get $40 added (redeemable after Valentine’s Day).
- Choose from one of six spa packages with varying services, ranging from the lowest-priced option (a 50-minute facial for $110 or an 80-minute massage for $140) to the extra luxurious (an 80-minute facial, microdermabrasion, eye and lip repair, hand hydration, an 80-minute massage, a scalp massage, and a foot scrub for $275).
Take some deep breaths
If you’ve never tried meditation before, it can be a little uncomfortable at first because being alone with your thoughts can feel scary at times. But if you feel like you — or your thoughts — are moving a little too fast these days, Austin has some havens that offer perfect backdrop for slowing down.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about meditating in a group of people, you can book a private sound spa at Meditation Bar. Visit the website for scheduling, but you can generally find these classes in the evenings at the in-person studio. Meditation Bar also offers livestream classes with different themes and concentrations, and new clients can get a one-week unlimited pass for $30. If you’re purchasing for someone else, you can get a gift card online for any value.
3rd Eye Meditation Lounge & Elixir Bar
This funky lounge in South Austin offers meditation, yoga, and more for the full tranquil experience. You can attend yoga and meditation classes, learn about astrology and reiki, and check out events like poetry open mic nights. The calendar is stacked for February, so check out the various offerings here. The elixirs offered usually consist of various teas and spices, each with a different goal, like “glowing relaxation,” “quick pickup,” and “soul cleanse.” You can get these elixirs for $2 off during “healthy hour” from 4-6 pm Monday through Thursday.
Getting stuck with needles is more relaxing than you think. Acupuncture can also be scary for those who have never tried it before (and that’s coming from a needle-phobe turned acupuncture enthusiast), but it can be incredibly relaxing and even good for pain management. Here are some local suggestions:
South Austin Community Acupuncture
Nestled in a Cherry Creek strip mall, this small space lives up to the rave reviews it gets on Yelp. It’s community-based acupuncture, meaning you’re in a room with others for most services. The community room is filled with recliners and comfy lounge chairs, so you can melt away and forget there are people around you. But if you need a private service (for example, I got acupuncture for a lower-back injury, so I couldn’t exactly sit in a lounge chair with needles in my back), there are private rooms with massage tables. The best part? You pay what you can within the sliding-scale pricing policy, ranging from $20 to $40 per appointment. South Austin Community Acupuncture even offers evening hours on most weeknights, and it’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work. You can even book an appointment online.
Austin Acupuncture Clinic
This clinic offers treatment for a variety of ailments, and — big plus — it accepts most health insurance plans. You can book a free consultation with one of the specialists. Your first appointment costs $90 and follow-up appointments are $70 each, though you can purchase a 10-treatment pass for $600.
Build a strong body for a strong mind
Exercise doesn’t always feel like self-care while you’re doing it, but it sure does feel good when you’re done. (Get some inspiration from Dorothy Parker’s quote about writing: “I don’t love writing, but I love having written.” Maybe you don’t love exercising, but you’ll love having exercised.)
Austin is chock-full of gyms and fitness studios for you to try, but why not mix it up and try personal training? You can get appointments with two of Austin’s top personal training gyms:
FIT stands for Fun Intelligent Training, which is what this boutique studio focuses on. You can take classes there like many other gyms and studios, but you can also book a personal trainer who will create a personalized plan for you to reach your fitness goals. Your initial consultation is free, and then you can choose from one-, two-, or three-month plans with varying frequencies (between one and three sessions a week).
Austin Simply Fit
This personal-training studio has two locations — one north, one south — and offers one-on-one training as well as small group classes, so you can book a 30-minute session with some friends or your significant other. You can also get personal and small-group training online if you’re more comfortable on the at-home workout train. Your consultation and first workout are free, and your trainer will work with you on a workout plan that’s right for you.