Home Ec

Home Ec: DIY Stress Relievers

by Grace Bonney

I’ve found that as winter creeps on, I find myself curling into a little ball on the couch. When the temperatures drop, I pile the blankets on and all thoughts of good posture and staying stretched out and in shape go out the window. This is the time of year when it would be wonderful to indulge in a spa day and get a great massage, warm up a bit and maybe even hit the steam room. But that’s not in my budget right now, so I’ve been trying to think of simple ways I can create my own stress relievers at home without breaking the bank. So in light of what feels like NY’s millionth snow storm today (and the digging-out we’ll need to do), I’m sharing some of my favorite DIY remedies you can easily make at home with your own two hands. These will help ease sore muscles, calm your mind and relax your body — all good ideas when the icy weather has us all scrunched up and huddling in the wind. xo, grace


This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

A spa massage is great, but you can also treat yourself to a home massage with this DIY massage oil recipe. Infused with bergamot, lavender and rose geranium, this mix is perfect for banishing winter blues. If you have a partner, ask them to treat you to a massage with this! If not, try using this on your legs, feet, hands and arms to start - it can work wonders for tired feet.
With just a few ingredients, you can create your own DIY bath salts/bombs that will help you melt away a long day of shoveling snow. I wish I could send everyone in the northeast a pack of these.
Nothing is as restorative as a good night's sleep. Getting a full night of restful sleep can help make any stressful day seem like the distant past. Try this homemade sleep salve for helping you drift to sleep more easily and start your day on the right (relaxed) foot.
Treat your cold winter feet to a stress relieving scrub and soak with this easy DIY foot treatment. Honey and apple cider vinegar will sooth your muscles and the homemade scrub made with coconut oil and brown sugar will help revive dry winter skin.
Ashley English knows her way around a handmade bath salt and these three variations on a classic homemade recipe are perfect for a winter soak. The "woodsy" scent in particular is perfect for this time of year.
If you're like me and the dry air of winter really gets to your skin and hair, this DIY scalp mask is a must-try. Using common kitchen ingredients (just avocado, oil and cream!) you can bring your dry, itchy head the relief it needs this time of year.
Coming home to a space that smells calming and relaxing does a lot to decrease stress. There's a reason spas often pump scented air through their rooms or rely heavily on scented candles and infusers. Create your own home spa smell with this recipe for homemade room refreshers. A little bit of gardenia oil goes a long way toward counteracting the stale smell of dirty snow.
If you'd prefer to keep the calming scents to yourself and not the entire room, try this DIY recipe for your own homemade perfumes. Adding something calming like lavender oil to the mix will help take your stress down a notch after a long day at work.
Don't have time to sit and make a full project? Try these quick, last-minute DIY stress relieving ideas from Ashley - they range from adding a quick handful of oils to your bath to mixing avocado and honey for a quick mask.
Last but not least, don't forget to treat yourself to a little spa-inspired indulgence. This recipe for chocolate truffles and tea is a great way to finish off your home spa day.

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  • Hiya Grace – I just wanted to let you know that each week I look forward to this new Home Ec post. I so enjoy what you share. This week’s DIY Self Nurturing is so up my street right now. My cash supply is being directed elsewhere right now, so spas etc are not on the agenda for a while. But should that stop me from nurturing myself? I think not and your article today has inspired me to get resourceful. Thank you so much. Looking forward to more EC posts. Sending loads of warm hugs over your way from sunny Cape Town, South Africa.

    • rose

      so glad to hear this came in handy. spa days aren’t in our future either so i needed this personally, too, to remember that i can take a little break at home, too :)


  • These are such great gift ideas! I am always storing ideas like these away for unique gifts when I need them.