Life is busy! Balancing that work/life balance is no easy task, and we so often forget the need to step back and breathe. We often hear the key to life is 'Mindfulness', self-reflection and meditation, but thought it would be best to hear from the best about the true benefits of these practices. We sat down with Helena Keenan, Retreat Manager at Polynesian Spa, for a well-needed conversation about the importance of relaxation and Aromatherapy on the mind, body and soul. With extensive knowledge on all things calming, Helena ran us through the best ways to live a life of balance.
In your own words, how do you see Polynesian Spa?
A beautiful natural environment. The therapeutic geo thermal mineral pools are a place to relax and really reconnect with Nature.
Rumour has it you possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to mindfulness and wellbeing. What does wellbeing mean to you?
A balance of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of my life. That's easy to say, but it takes constant effort to achieve!
What are some ways we can learn to live our best lives?
Mindfulness! It helps to develop self-awareness. Being self-aware helps us to recognise our negative behaviour patterns. So this practice can help us to create our own best lives.
Mindfulness has risen to popularity over the past few years, what does it mean to be mindful? What techniques can we use to become more mindful in our daily lives?
Being in the moment Mindfully instead of Mindlessly takes constant practice. There are many things you can do to learn how to keep yourself in the present moment. One of my favourite things to do is bring my attention to my breath; it doesn't matter what I am doing: walking, reading, working - just quietly notice your breath.
While we doubt you are ever frazzled, what’s your go-to way of relaxing after a particularly stressful or busy day?
I do get frazzled; just like everyone else. However, I have gotten better at how I react to the things that frazzle me. But when I get home I use Yoga Nidra (sometimes known as Progressive Muscle Relaxation), to help me regain my equilibrium.
Aromatherapy is considered as a key component of achieving overall wellness – would you say this statement is correct? If so, why?
There is no short answer to this but I will do my best! Aromatherapy is a wonderful therapeutic modality. There are many ways to use essential oils in our lives to gain benefits from these precious plant extracts. My main modality is massage, and specifically the sequence I learned in London years ago. But, we can use them in diffusers, as inhalations, in our skin care and body care products, in the bath or shower. The versatility of uses makes it so easy to add into our daily lives. Why would we use Aromatherapy? Looking at the word helps explain its key action. It is through our sense of smell- olfaction- that the oils have their most direct contact with our brain. This impacts our emotions, endocrine system and accesses our memories.
We can use Aromatherapy to help us manage the stress in our lives, because it helps with calming and relaxation. There are many more benefits, just too many to go into now!
What can happen to us if we don’t consider our own wellbeing? Why is being self-aware important?
Many people are so busy with their lives, that they don’t realise their bodies are unwell until they suffer a serious health crisis. The body is always talking to us, we just don’t listen.
What treatments at Polynesian Spa do you recommend trying if you’re feeling stressed or burned out?
The therapies that use our Aromatherapy range, Aromatherapy Associates. These are very good at helping to manage stress. However, there is no magic cure for stress. We are all unique, and navigating the journey to discover what we each personally need is only something we can learn.
What key ingredients do some of Polynesian Spa’s treatments recruit to promote relaxation and wellbeing?
One of the key aspects of Polynesian Spa, that is so beneficial, is the geothermal mineral waters that all our therapy guests have complimentary access to. We always recommend soaking before enjoying one of our therapies. This helps the body relax and we all get so many more benefits from a therapy if we go in already relaxed.
Polynesian Spa hosts a number of wellness retreats throughout the year. Why is going to a retreat important? How often should we attend?
One of my Meditation teachers used to say to take 5 days off every 3 months to relax, have a break from work and usual activities, and to focus inward. Now obviously this isn't possible for many of us. What we are hoping to offer through these short weekend Retreats is for people to get away for a short period of time (without necessarily using up Annual leave), and spend a couple of days totally focused on relaxation. Also, we want to provide an opportunity for people to dip their toe into some of the Mindfulness practices we teach; so they can see if this is something they want to take home and add into their daily routine.
What’s your favourite Polynesian Spa treatment?
That is too hard to choose; they're all so good!
For all treatments and info about upcoming Retreats, visit Polynesian Spa online.