Say it with us: There's no place like Thailand, there's no place like Thailand, there's no place like Thailand...
Assuming you, also, failed to click your ruby red heels and magically arrive at the wellness destination of your dreams, we're bringing you the next best thing, courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand: Thai-inspired, self-care practices to create your own at-home wellness retreat (and make your living room feel a tiny bit more like that tranquil oasis).
"Thai culture has values that are very in tune with body and mind, heart, soul, and spirit."
"Thai culture has values that are very in tune with body and mind, heart, soul, and spirit," says Karina Stewart, founder and chief wellness director at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa in Thailand. "When [those values, the warmhearted people, ancient healing traditions, extraordinary cuisine, and mindfulness practices] come together, there are not many places in the world that can compare."
Of course the tropical climate, diverse flora and fauna, and gorgeous architecture also help make Thailand a top wellness destination, she says. But just because you can't teleport all of Thailand's beauty into your living space doesn't mean you can't tap into some of those vacay vibes. Enter: Your very own at-home wellness retreat.
Keep reading for 5 self-care practices that will make your at-home wellness retreat feel like an escape to Thailand.
1. Stretch it out
While we could probably all go for a Thai massage right about now, moving your body on your own can achieve almost the same effect. "Thai massage therapists include a lot of stretching in their actual massage," Stewart says. "A healthy stretching regime, where every joint of the body is stretched on a regular basis, happens when we do yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, or Qigong."
Look up a soothing Tai Chi flow to help you replicate that post-massage Zen feeling. Plus, Khun Sasi, an applied Thai traditional medicine doctor at Kamalaya, says even just changing your posture every 15 to 30 minutes while you're sitting at your computer can help energy flow more freely through your body, according to traditional Thai wisdom.
2. Spice up your healthy eats
Yes, eating counts as a form of self care, and Stewart says nourishing your body, Thai-style, is all about simple, plant-forward dishes made with fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of herbs and spices. "Adding fresh herbs and spices into our cuisine has an amazing impact on our rejuvenation, in our digestive health, in our immune health, on our emotional balance, and on our mental clarity," she says.
Meal prepping not exactly part of your ideal staycation? Brew an herbal tea—another Thai staple—to sip on whenever you want to relax. Sasi recommends boiling one cinnamon stick and two to three cardamom seeds for 15 minutes, then adding either the juice of one lime (if you're feeling constipated, this works wonders, says Sasi) or half a teaspoon of organic honey (she counts this as a bloat-buster) for a soul-soothing, wellness-supporting brew.
3. Stoke your compassion
Prioritizing your own needs is important for your mental well-being, but caring for others can sometimes be a major boon for your mood. In Thailand, people's social network is very strong, Stewart says, which translates to more compassion and warmheartedness. So call a relative you haven't spoken to in awhile, write a letter to a friend, or simply wave to your neighbor. Even if it only boosts your mood for a few minutes, that's still a self-care win.
4. Train your mind
Meditating with an ocean view sounds amazing, but taking a few minutes to focus on your breath can happen pretty much anywhere. "Mindfulness practices are a very big part of Thai culture especially with regards to Buddhism," Stewart says. "It is regulating stress, helping us sleep, calming our emotions, and also showing us how to be more self aware. And with that we are able to observe ourselves and make better choices in our day to day lives."
Throw on a video or audio track of ocean waves crashing, and carve out some time to sit quietly with your eyes closed. Bonus points if you light a sea salt-scented candle to really soak in the serenity vibes with every deep breath.
5. Trust your gut
Don't wait until you're on a wellness retreat to get in tune with your body. According to Stewart, Thai people are known for listening to their bodies, especially through the understanding of yin and yang energy, adopted from the Chinese. By balancing hot and cold energy, Stewart explains, you can encourage your body to come back to center. And who couldn't use a little more balance in their life?
You can use foods to tap into that energy by sipping on a cooling beverage like coconut water or mint tea when you're feeling hot or irritable (they don't call it being hot-headed for nothing), or cooking with warming spices like cinnamon or ginger when you're feeling down or just straight-up chilled from too much AC.
And with that, we're off to stretch, call our mom, and plan our future IRL vacay to Thailand.
Sponsored by Tourism Authority of Thailand
Photo: Getty Images/Cavan Images
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