Mar. 27. 2015
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Part of living whole and eating well isn’t just based on what you eat, there’s so much more to it than this! We, myself included, all need to take a little more time to ourselves, to relax, rejuvenate, de-stress, and pamper ourselves for everything we do. Trust me, you deserve it! I’ve been working so many hours, basically from when my eyes are open till when shut, and it’s realllllllly easy to overwork when you absolutely love what you do- so I can’t complain there. Luckily, over the years through learning what it’s actually like to “burn out” from work, and through practicing meditation has allowed me to stay pretty in tune with my body (i.e. I can hear it loud and clear when both my body and mind need a break). So even though I’d much rather spend a break by the beach, traveling with loved ones, or in a 5-star spa; I’m much more realistic and maybe that day will come after the cookbook eh? Here’s my way of treating myself in my own home, I truly hope that you all take the time to do this for yourself too and show your mind and body some extra love!


I think like most of you, if I had the chance to go take a spa day every day… or at least every week, I’d be in heaven! But, real life hits and it’s simply not feasible; so here’s how I achieve a “spa” anytime at home when I’m feeling overworked, stressed, or just need to take some time to myself to mentally and emotionally reboot. I hope you all find these fun and useful to taking back some of your alone time or grab your group of girlfriends or if you can get your love to do this along with you.



Whether it’s lighting your favorite candle, incense, essential oils in a diffuser, or spritzing your favorite perfume; certain smells can be incredibly relaxing.

My favorites: lavender essential oil | peppermint essential oil | Paddywax candles Vetiver and Cardamom scent | Diptyque BAIES scent (heaven on earth, pricey but worth lighting on special occasions)


Fresh flowers.

I have a thing for fresh flowers and truly believe that every woman should either buy herself fresh flowers every week or should be bought fresh flowers (no exception)! They bring such a lovely, subtly romantic, and special vibe to your space and for less than $5 a week you can pick up some beautiful ones; better yet if you can get them from your garden.

〉 My favorites: white hydrangeas, white/pink peonies, and white or light colored garden roses. I line fresh plants around every corner in our home and fresh flowers are always on our main tables and my desk.



There are so many simple things you can try right now to make showering and taking a bath that much more enjoyable and special. My favorite being hanging fresh eucalyptus in the shower, I do this by tying a bunch together then hanging it upside down over my shower faucet so when the water comes trickling down, the scent and oils of the eucalyptus plant fills the bathroom. It’s so lovely and the steam of the shower is like an instant diffuser.

Other favorites to try: Add fresh rose petals or rose water to a bath for the most amazing scent that carries on your skin for the rest of the day. Oatmeal in a hot bath can help calm the skin and provides a nice calming smell as well. Epsom salt baths are some of my favorites for helping aid the body in detoxification (our skin is one of the largest detoxification organs we have!) and it’s great for sore muscles.

〉 My favoritesHerbivore Botanicals Calm Dead Sea Bath Salts | Osmia Organics Tea Bath | Fig + Yarrow Oat Milk Bath Tea | Original Organics Spring Bath Salts



Try any body and facial exfoliant, paying special attention to your hands and feet, two body parts that we often neglect during daily pampering or in our daily beauty routines!

〉 My favorites: Nude Skincare vitamin C mask | DIY Citrus Coffee Body Scrub | Napa Organics Prune Walnut Scrub | Fig + Yarrow Alpine Pumice Foot Treatment



Slather your skin in something that’s not going to add chemicals to your cells, try my favorite simple concoction, coconut oil mixed with essential oils. Mix it on your skin while it’s still moist and allow it to soak in before getting dressed; I find it’s best to do this at night or when you can relax in your robe for a bit!

Try thisCoconut oil mixed with lavender essential oil or rose essential oil



Make simple and healthy food to snack on for yourself or whoever is enjoying the spa day at home with you. Try smoothies, soups, juices, and bliss balls/truffles.

〉 Try making these: Simply Infused Water | Almond Coconut Date Truffles | Beauty Green Smoothie | Creamy Ginger Green Smoothie | Cashew Lime Green Smoothie | Stripped Green Juice | Carrot Orange Soup



Create a “sauna” feel in your home by running the shower very hot (don’t get in yet!), closing the bathroom door, and turning off all fans. The steam naturally will start to build up. I typically will do this by closing the drain so that my bath fills up at the same time the shower is running with hot water and by the time you’re ready to hop in, the water has cooled down just a touch (you can always add cool water). Trust me, it’s such a nice feeling. Or you can splurge like I did and get one for your house- infrareds are the best- you can order yours here!


Clean space, clear mind. 

It’s hardly a spa at home if you’re worrying about all the dishes you have to do, picking up random things, vacuuming, etc.; be sure to clean house and tidy up before you take your “spa” day to enjoy in complete and FULL relaxation. Plus, it’s nice to have your mind clear from to-do’s about the house when you come. Read my post of How to Create an Inspiring Workspace to help you clear the clutter!



Set the mood with your favorite songs, records, playlists and more. Trust me, the simplest of things like music has the power to change your mood in an instant. Whether you want something upbeat and energizing, or my favorites which are more chill, relaxing and instrumental.

 My favorites: Pandora station of Alt-J, James Vincent, Yann Tiersen, easy listening, Billie Holiday



I know for me, like many of you, it’s hard to find the time to even sit and read a book! Take this time to read your favorite book or tackle that stack of books you’ve had waiting for you- take it to the couch to relax or go outside to enjoy the fresh air! I’d love if you’d all comment below with your favorite books this year, I’d love to add to my collection those that are not work related or have nothing to do with food (haha!).

I hope you all take some time this weekend to relax and create your own spa at home. Share with me your spa creations so we can all enjoy this together! #nutritionstripped so I can see or post them to the FB page!

xx McKel


Check out my latest article in the March issue of SHAPE Magazine as pictured above!