Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wellness: Body, Mind, and Space

The gorgeous thing about editorial calendars, if you don't put too much pressure on yourself, is that they're more like guidelines than actual rules.  I've got a few events from the past couple of weeks to catch you up on, dear readers, but today is really about spring cleaning; it's about wellness of the body and the mind as well as of the space in which we live.  So let's talk about that, shall we?

cherry blossoms in the DC area; April 2013
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Starting with the most literal definition of spring cleaning, I can't tell you how cathartic it is to clean out my closets and drawers as I prepare to move to my new apartment.  I did a decent purge of old clothes when I first came back to DC last June, but I now don't fit into a fair amount of my warm-weather clothing from last year and the year before, so I'm being very good about only packing things in good condition that look good on me.  Everything else is either being trashed or, if it's still alive, going to Goodwill.  Obviously I won't actually have to deep clean my new apartment - they'll be painting the walls, sanding the floors, and regrouting the bathroom before I move in - but I love the idea of only stocking my new closet and drawers with pieces that will make me feel good.  (Bonus: if I can ever afford to shop again after this move, it'll be easier to identify what I really need once I've done this clean!)

And then speaking of being down a size and wellness of the body, I went for my run on Thursday!  It felt great.  I cheated a bit and took my Garmin with me though I didn't look at it until I stopped, 0.80 miles after I'd started.  It took me a bit longer than usual to run the loop of my neighborhood, but I felt great; my foot didn't hurt at all and my lungs only protested a bit because of the pollen.  On Saturday morning I went out again, this time with Charlie, and we ran 2.1 miles in about 27:30.  That's not bad for me, pace-wise, even when I'm not recovering, so I'm thrilled!  Again, it felt amazing, and I do promise to still be careful but I think I'm back in the game.  I've got an 8k the first weekend in June, I want to find another 10k for later that month, and then I need to do a 10 miler at some point over the summer, but I'll be totally on track for my first half-marathon in mid-September.

Now, for wellness of the mind.  (I haven't yet had a chance to call to tell them I wrote this post, but I can't wait to share it with you any longer.)  There's a place near my parents' house called Blue Heron Wellness that describes itself as "an integrated wellness center," offering a holistic approach to nurturing mind, body, and spirit.  My mother had been a few times for Pilates classes, a massage, and acupuncture, and she suggested I check out their website every time I mentioned wanting to be pampered.  Honestly, I was a bit of a snob about it all - why would I go somewhere I'd never heard of, somewhere outside the beltway, for a luxurious experience? - so I never did, but then she signed us up for community Pilates during the Superbowl and I realized just moments after walking in the door that Blue Heron was exactly what I needed.  I felt so rejuvenated the next morning that I called them up as soon as they opened to make an appointment for a facial.

Unfortunately, I was back to being a frazzled mess when the day of my appointment rolled around, and I ended up being 20 minutes late for my 60-minute facial.  The receptionist walked me back through a warmly lit corridor to a room where I could relax, and as I settled into a comfy chair with a mug of honeyed green tea I felt my stress melt away.  In my (not so extensive) experience, there are three kinds of spas.  The first is indulgent, with stacks of plush towels and 1000-threadcount sheets.  The second is clinical, with scientific-sounding creams and stark machinery.  And the third - the third is Blue Heron Wellness.  I felt like I was in someone's home, someone calm and comforting who wanted to make everything better for a bit and who would then send me away not feeling like I'd been spoiled or analyzed but like everything had gently been put back into place.

When my esthetician came to get me, I apologized for being so late and asked if we should switch to the 30-minute facial since we didn't have much time left.  Frieda smiled and took my hand and said, "You know, you came in here late, which tells me that you were in a hurry, and if you were in a hurry you were probably stressed.  If you're stressed, you need more time with me, not less.  We'll do the full hour."  I thanked her, and she replied, "This is how I would want to be treated if I were stressed, so it is how I will treat you."  It was such a wonderful thing to hear - I didn't feel like a client or a patient; I felt like I was simply and completely being taken care of.  When I was on the bed and Frieda started working on my skin, I tensed up again out of habit.  She gently pushed down on my shoulders and said, "Relax.  This is your time."  I don't know what happened next because I fell asleep, and when she woke me up, my facial complete, I felt so calm and alive.  You know I'm not usually into this sort of holistic thing, dear readers, but it was amazing.  I can't recommend Blue Heron Wellness in Silver Spring (and especially Frieda for facials) enough.

Sometimes that's just what you need, isn't it?  So let me say to you: relax.  This is your time.  I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that you feel well and clean in this beautiful new season!


  1. That facial experience sounds heavenly! What a dear lady. I've only had one facial (I splurged a few months before my wedding and went to Bliss Spa in NYC) and I loved it. I'd like to get another one sometime for a special occasion. Make sure you go again before your wedding! :)

  2. Ooohh, this sounds so nice. I've gotten a facial only once before and am not in love with the whole process. I'm impressed that yours was so great that you actually were able to fall asleep! I'm more of a massage person and could definitely use one soon! It's nice to get a treat like that. :)

  3. oooo sounds amazing!!!

  4. What a great woman that esthetician sounds like! How exciting that you`re going to run a half marathon in September! I`ve just started running again for the first time in about.. wow, 9 years, and I hope to even make it to Sept and still be running. I`d love to be able to do 10k again, but not sure if I`d be interested in longer distances- who knows though!

  5. I've been to Bliss a handful of times! I'd put it in the more clinical category but it's always worked :) I'm thinking a massage before the wedding!

  6. I think it was the whole experience, you know? Total serenity :) it's not too far from Takoma Park - if you have a car, you should totally check it out!

  7. woohoo go you! you totally can :) I started running for the first time on December 26 2011 with the Couch 2 5k program and haven't stopped! I want to do the half to have been able to say that I did it, but I have NO desire to ever run farther. so far, my body likes the 10k distance the best :)

  8. How often do you run 10k- is that your normal run length? I`ve just gotten up to 5k, and really I can only do it because my friend is so motivated to run three times a week (she's getting married this summer) and I don`t want to let her down and make her run alone ;)

  9. before I hurt my foot, I was doing 6.5ish miles for my weekend long runs but 2-3.1ish miles for the weekday runs :)


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