Autumn in Winnipeg is a golden swirl of leaves falling, projects beginning, and my ever growing to do list. I get busy and want to get things done! My to do list grows, then gets lost, then grows even longer. Soon enough, I am frazzled. My self-care that is so crucial for managing stress, gets bumped to the end of the list, until it finally falls off, leaving me irritable, unproductive and binge watching Netflix on the couch. Sigh.

That’s it! I spring up from the couch and brush off the chip crumbs. I am putting myself back on the list - at the very top. I will pack my bags and grab the next international flight to a Nordic country spa specializing in making me feel coddled, sensual and pampered. I will then hop another flight to Japan to indulge in forest bathing for mental and spiritual healing. Perfect. This plan, however, proves difficult to implement between work, laundry and children that expect regular meals. Sigh. 

Thankfully, it turns out, I do not have to get on a plane to experience these soul-enhancing pleasures. There is one word and one word only I need to put on the top of my list: Thermea. 

Pulling up to Thermea, the wellness spa nestled in Fort Garry’s Crescent Drive Park, I feel like I have travelled far away from my everyday worries and life. The natural and rustic setting appeals to my outdoorsy Canadian girl spirit. Stepping into the building and letting the warm décor and soothing music surround me, my frantic heartbeat slows and my clenched jaw softens. 

I place my clothes in the locker and slip into a cozy white robe, and am suddenly no longer thinking about what to make for dinner and why my clothes all feel a bit too small. (See above note about chips). 

A glorious massage leaves me feeling soothed and restored. I note that they offer duo massages perfect for sharing with a significant other. They are guaranteed to take the edge off any friction over who is supposed to empty the dishwasher and who takes too much time in the bathroom!

I stop by Resto (still in my robe – how divine) to indulge in a latte and to plan my delicious and nourishing après spa meal. They use local and seasonal products that are delicious and gourmet, and I am happy to note that the spa itself is committed to green practices. 

I step outside to experience the warm outdoor pools where people are whispering and soaking up the quiet beauty of the open sky and majestic trees. To begin the cycles of heat, cold and rest, I take part in a communal sauna ritual followed by an extreme cold dip under the icy waterfall. My skin tingles as my immune system is boosted. One steam room clears my lungs with eucalyptus while the other uses orange scent to stimulate my sense of joy and happiness. The lavender exfoliation scrub sloughs off any remaining tension, and it is time to rest on one of the heated slabs or hammocks. I drink tea, sit by the fire and contemplate beginning the cycle again. 

I am left feeling peaceful, alive and restored. I feel like myself again. 

I am back on the list.