How do you wear your overwhelm?
I can carry it in my shoulders and neck. Some of us carry it in our heads, behind our eyes, the pit of our stomachs, and in our hearts. We are in over drive. We are over-worked and over-stimulated—all in a race to keep up—and it is taking the spark out of life. Even our children are experiencing burnout—on top of school, extra-curricular activities are being jammed into every moment. That’s the way it seems to feel no matter what stage of life. A spa guest who retired last year told me that she is busier now than she was before she’d retired! While it’s great to be active, it can slip into an exhausting rat race if we don’t find balance with self-care. Overwhelm takes our zest, vibrancy, and vitality. It lowers our immune system and ages us faster than need be. All that, and what are we running after, really?
My mantra is be present, Shannon—Rome was not built in a day! The Romans had it right, and still do—afternoon siestas, authentic food and wine, daily walks and kisses in the park. Slowness. Real time with family. Connection with life.
Sometimes, when Friday comes, I look at my 7 year-old and tell her that I miss her. Even though I’ve seen her every day this week. When is the last time you were completely present with someone, giving your undivided attention—looking in their eyes and truly listening?
Slow beauty as a movement
Two years ago at Spa Chappelle, we started to adopt the slow beauty movement. An educator from SpaRitual—our hand, foot and body line—came in to spend time with us. In our conversation, the term ‘anti-aging’ came up, a term used frequently by the beauty industry. The educator shook her head and said, “We don’t use that term at SpaRitual—we focus on slow aging.”
Slow aging resonated with me so much. As a self-care practitioner, I love the sentiment—everyone is aging, but we can slow it down, and feel well as we age. It felt right to integrate this into my life and my business—be a part of a movement that invited people to start enjoying themselves again and opt out of the race against time.
Enjoyment is a practice—something that needs dedication in our very busy lives. Watch how kids make a point of exploring and finding delight every day. It’s good for you. This is where feeling beautiful—and feeling rooted in beautiful things—begins.
Slow beauty practices are acts of self-kindness, small moments in our day to honor ourselves. About a year ago, I took a transcendental meditation course and saw what a profound effect that stillness and quiet observation has on health and well-being, as well as helping us to relax from the race. We brought the daily practice into our spa for the entire team and our guests to create a moment of stillness to help us all be present and to breath consciously. This opened up space to start making life happen instead of just allowing life to happen to us. Morning meditation sets the stage for your day and afternoon meditation carries you through until the end of your day. Meditation is one of many slow beauty rituals, and is a great place to start.
Seek out your self-love practitioner
I recently had a guest in for a one of our signature facials. In our consultation, she said, “Shannon, you are my self-love practitioner.” No one had ever put it that way—it felt like my work had been put into words. We provide a space for women and men to come in and completely surrender, to rest and recharge the juices so they can take that energy back into their everyday living. We show them self-love rituals for home too. Whatever a self-love practitioner may look like for you—an amazing esthetician to treat your skin, an acupuncturist to restore your chi, a massage therapist or life coach—find your go-to support partner for surrender and invest time with that practitioner/partner to completely unfold and be cared for. There is a karmic effect in this process—as much energy as we put out, we also need equal amounts of rest and generosity to ourselves.
Slow down enough to share your unique gifts with the ones you love. Life is only as good as the relationships we have with others, and with yourself. Stay connected. Do what you love to do. Take time to think about what stirs up your passion, devote daily time to that passion, and then share it with others and help them to find that spark within themselves.
Beauty on the inside
“There is a fountain of youth. It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” —Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren is such a babe. She reminds us to be who we are and share it with others—to do that special thing best by slowing down and coming back to the essence of who we really are. Slow is wise. Slow is sexy. Invest in yourself.
The takeaway: consider a Slow Month. Sit down and give yourself a quiet moment to make a list—consider the things you enjoy, both small things and more decadent things—and make a pledge to adjust your schedule, and give yourself a dedicated month during which you slow down every day. It could be a daily walk, or commitment to yourself to start your day with nourishing your skin and body with Sweet Skin Smoothies or five minutes of sitting in silence at the end of every day. Make a plan for the month, and note how you feel both physically and emotionally when you’re taking care of yourself.
The benefit to practising and bringing slow into your life is freedom. You can have it in a mere moment. I often listen to and read Pema Chödrön’s work—she is a Buddhist nun and author who talks about the echo effect in our lives: what we think, what we say, and how our presence has a ripple effect on the people around us. It has an effect on the people we really love, on the world and on ourselves. So be good to you today. Stop and witness all that is beautiful, extraordinary, and wonderful in your life. Stop and notice the aspects of you—your essence and your unique gifts—that the world is waiting for. Life is glorious.
Everyone has something that makes them feel fulfilled and energized. As the owner of Spa Chappelle, I get to live my passion every day. I love inspiring people to enrich their lives by exploring their passions and tackling their goals, and the spa has given me the perfect opportunity to do that.
My role as a skincare consultant lets me nurture my guests, leaving them feeling confident and relaxed. As a wellness coach, I support them as they learn to nourish their minds and spirits by embracing a mindful, inspired lifestyle.
My desire to help people become their best selves pushes me beyond helping my guests. I also enjoy mentoring and supporting my staff members by giving them the flexibility and encouragement to pursue their own dreams.
After all, when people are doing something they love, they glow with a natural energy and beauty that can't be bought.