Everyone needs a little “me time” every once in a while. Between the daily stressors of work and school, errands and sports practices, it can be hard to actually find extra minutes to squeeze in your own self-care and wellness. But studies have shown that chronic stress and fatigue can have negative effects on health and productivity. So, if you needed an excuse to take a day for yourself, here you go.

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Last week, I decided I needed one of those ‘me days’. Things had been crazy at work, I was having trouble sleeping, and my body was just craving a break from the normal routine. So I went for it and had the perfect self-care wellness day in Colorado Springs. I came back to the office the next day refreshed and ready to tackle the next big project. Take it from this workaholic: if your body and mind are screaming for a break, go for it. It might just be the best thing you do for yourself all week.

1. Morning Yoga at Pranava Yoga Center

Pranava Yoga - Meditation - Colorado Springs - Courtesy of Pranava Yoga Center - OutThere Colorado
Morning meditation at the Pranava Yoga Center. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Pranava Yoga Center.

I’m naturally an early riser so I started the day at a 6:00 a.m. Morning Flow Vinyasa class at Pranava Yoga Center. The energizing flow felt luxurious compared to my regular, rushed morning routine, even though I could feel the tightness in my legs from hours of computer time. Yogic exercise and movement meditation are two of the best ways to combat chronic stress. Find a studio you like and become a regular. Your mind and body will thank you.

2. Breakfast at Ola Juice Bar

My next stop was breakfast at Ola Juice Bar in downtown Colorado Springs. Their menu is designed for those with an active lifestyle with the goal of providing nutrients for refueling, recharging, and recovery. I chose an açai smoothie bowl, dense with fruit, gluten-free granola, and nutrients. Not only are their smoothie bowls extremely Instagram-worthy, they’re also delicious.

3. International Health & Wellness Center at Garden of the Gods Collection

Treatment Room - Spa at Garden of the Gods Collection - Courtesy of Garden of the Gods Collection - OutThere Colorado
Treatment room at Garden of the Gods Collection. Photo courtesy of Garden of the Gods Collection.

After breakfast, I jumped back in the car to head to my appointments at the International Health & Wellness Center at Garden of the Gods Collection. I’m someone that exercises five or six times per week, but lately I had been feeling kind of stuck in an exercise rut. So when the Garden of the Gods Collection invited me to check out their BOD POD, I jumped at the chance. The POD is essentially a human-sized egg that through air-displacement plethysmography measures body composition (fat versus lean mass) and resting metabolic rate (RMR) to give you a baseline of your overall health.

Now, this was not a wholly comfortable process, but luckily it was short-lived. First, I changed into tight spandex, then stepped on a scale for a baseline weight measurement, and finally sat in the pressurized pod. After this 15-minute process, a computer spit out my body composition, and I met with Dr. Barber, the Wellness Center’s board-certified internist, cardiologist, and electrophysiologist, to interpret my results. While I certainly have work to do, Dr. Barber assured me that I was on the right track in terms of maintaining and improving my overall health.

The staff at the Wellness Center take an holistic approach to the health of their patients, so after our meeting, Dr. Barber then introduced me to Charlene Wang, the Center’s holistic registered dietitian and professor of nutrition, health, and wellness. Charlene also has extensive certifications in bioenergetic healing, a practice she brings to her holistic approach to health and nutrition. We talked about my stress levels, and the relaxing, mind-clearing energy treatment that she provided left me feeling grounded and calm into my work day the following day.

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4. Spa at Garden of the Gods Collection

Himalayan Salt Room - Garden of the Gods Collection - Courtesy of Garden of the Gods Collection - OutThere Colorado
Himalayan salt room at the Spa at the Garden of the Gods Collection. Photo courtesy of Garden of the Gods Collection.

After my calming energy treatment, it was time for pure spa indulgence. I stepped out of my street clothes, into a cozy bathrobe, and into the Haslauer Pure Sense Soft Pack Bed. I was wrapped like a warm burrito into this heated, floating bed and spent an hour relaxing and enjoying a scalp massage. All my stress and worries melted away as I ended my visit in the Himalayan salt room, a room literally constructed of pink salt bricks. Breathing the salty air is purported to improve respiratory function, and either way, I enjoyed the ambiance and warmth of the space.

5. Afternoon hike at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO - Stewart Green
Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO. Photo Credit: Stewart Green, courtesy of Stewart Green.

I finished my wellness day outside at Garden of the Gods, hiking the Chambers/Bretag/Palmer Trail that encircles this amazing park. Views of the red rock sandstone formations and of Pikes Peak were the perfect way to close the most relaxing and rejuvenating day I’d had in months.

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