Take a Deep Breath

3 Ways to De-Stress Over the Holidays—Starting Now

Do the words "Black Friday" send a shiver down your spine? Need a break from all the merry madness? We've got you covered.

By Abby Ledoux November 29, 2019

It's the most wonderful time of the year...right? If you're anything like us, you've got mixed feelings right about now. Maybe you're one part Buddy the Elf, one part manic ball of nerves trying to make your list, check it twice, and do it all without filing for bankruptcy and also is there something in the oven and if there's not should there be and wait who's all coming over tonight and do we even have any ice?!

Take a deep breath. Put down the (cranberry sauce, credit limit increase application, Black Friday store hours, group text with your family) or whatever's inevitably stressing you out. Do something nice for yourself—something calming. Need an idea? We're here to help.

A hydrafacial is the best gift you can give to your skin this holiday season.

Show your skin some love

Hydrafacial at Hiatus Spa
At its core, the hydrafacial is a deeply cleansing and hydrating treatment that will leave your skin feeling as fresh as a baby's, and Hiatus does it right. Choose from three options depending on your budget and time constraints: the Glow + Go, 40 minutes for $165; You Dew You, 55 minutes for $190; or Change Your Life, 85 minutes for $265. Because a packed schedule and tighter pursestrings this holiday season should not preclude you from some excellent R&R, the Glow + Go bathes quickly skin in antioxidants and hyaluronic acid for immediate results with no downtime. The You Dew You levels up a bit with a longer service plus targeted boosters to address specific concerns like pigmentation, fine lines, congestion, or elasticity.

Lastly—and we're speaking from experience here—the aptly-named Change Your Life is the mother of all hydrafacials. Touted as both "high-tech" and "high-touch," this luxurious service comes with all the bells and whistles, like lymphatic therapy (during which you'll feel yourself swallowing frequently as the facial massage induces drainage—bizarre yet satisfying), super serums, painless extractions (it may sound like an oxymoron, but it's true), LED lights, and a heavenly scalp and foot massage to cap it all off. A warning: Your skin will be so glowy and bouncy when you leave that you may not even recognize yourself in the mirror.

Hiatus Spa + Retreat, 5740 San Felipe St., Suite 110.

Nap Bar founder Khaliah Guillory cuts the ribbon at her Galleria pop-up's grand opening earlier this month.

Get some shut-eye

Nap Bar at The Galleria
Twice now we've sung the praises of Nap Bar, the local "white-glove napping experience" founded by Khaliah Guillory—first when it opened last spring in Rice Village, and more recently when, after outgrowing that space, it moved to a pop-up in the Galleria to become the first of its kind in the country located inside a mall. And at this time of year, when the Galleria turns even more hellish (we mean that in the most loving way possible, of course) than usual, we can think of no better place for such an establishment.

Exhausted holiday shoppers and overextended retail employees alike can come here to recharge for a REM-optimal 26-minute nap on organic mattresses in private, sound-proof pods with Houston themes, like the Beyonce Suite—think glam vibes courtesy of furry pillows and plush throws—or the NASA Suite, bathed in otherworldly blue mood lighting. And, this Black Friday, Nap Bar is offering a BOGO deal, because...well, Black Friday. As Guillory says, "stay woke. Take a nap."

Nap Bar, 5085 Westheimer Rd. #2881.

A comfy chair, great book, spectacular view, and direct infusion of rejuvenating vitamins and minerals—just what the doctor ordered.

Image: Abby Ledoux

Get your fluids

Performance & Recovery Drip at Aurea IV Hydration Spa

Lay back, relax, and ignore that needle in your arm—soon, you'll feel so good, you won't even notice it. This brand-new, ultra-luxe "drip spa"—one of several hydration stations, if you will, that have popped up around the city for IV fluids on-demand—is perched at the top of a Museum District building with what is possibly the best view in all of Houston, or at least the best view you'll get when someone is trying to locate your vein. In our case one recent Saturday, that someone was Aurea's highly skilled nursing director Staci Roeber, and finding a vein was a cinch. Once Roeber started us on the "performance and recovery" drip—chock-full of pretty much every vitamin in the book plus minerals and amino acids meant to rehydrate, rebuild, and replenish the body—all our worries swiftly melted away.
For one glorious hour, we reclined in a cozy custom chair, book in-hand (and IV in-arm) as the magic solution, plus one "boost" of B12 for energy, infused into our bloodstream. The effects were near instantaneous—in a move totally out of character, we eschewed our typical late-afternoon nap for a marathon trip to Kroger followed by a week's worth of dishes, a month's worth of laundry, and exhaustive vacuuming—and lasting. The energy boost (not to mention mood improvement) lasted well into the week, and we're already clamoring for our next infusion. Speaking of which, Aurea offers a whole menu of fluid blends targeting everything from PMS to jet-lag, so you're bound to find a drip that cures what ails you.
Aurea IV Hydration Spa, 1801 Binz St., Suite 510.
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