Courses and Travel

Bonnie Friend on a week-long initiative with the goal of giving yourself a break

Earlier this year, a study claimed that, statistically, women suffer more stress-related, mental-health problems than men, with the juggling of our many, many different roles cited as one of the main causes of the problem. For anyone familiar with the inner workings of the female mind, this is unlikely to come as a surprise.

Marvellous although we are at multitasking (although having walked into a lamp post once while checking my phone I am afraid that I myself am a poor example of the age-old belief that the sisterhood has so masterfully protected), the increasing feeling among many that one has to simultaneously pull off the roles of homemaker, career girl, socialite, and a catalogue of things in between, all while looking as though we were born with manicured nails and a blow dry to rival Kate Middleton’s, is, frankly, a little bit overwhelming.

Worst of all, that’s just the pressure to fit each of those moulds, before you actually start trying to put it all into action!

As a bit of a stereotype, but one that seems to be pretty widely justified based on that tried-and-tested ritual of simply chatting to friends and other women (tea and cake optional, but I find that they help), it isn’t just the external pressures that are a problem, but those little voices inside our heads are constantly rattling on and telling us that we could or should be doing better.

From that extra pound we think we should lose to the plethora of other criticisms our internal monologue hurls at us in a never-ending stream of abuse – “you should be thinner, faster, nicer, a better mother, sister, wife, girlfriend, employee. It’s 9am, why haven’t you conquered the world yet? You’ve had time!” – it yells in a shrill and ever so slightly snotty voice, that is both ongoing and self-destructive.

So the girls at had a bit of a think, because this simply seems like an unworkable message to keep sending to ourselves, and in among all the things we feel pressure about, there are some really wonderful things we all can do.

To be honest, women in the 21st century… well, we kind of rock (she says, feeling guilty at the overt, if collective, self congratulating assertion), and that is something to be celebrated and enjoyed.

How then, can we get rid of some of that negative energy and bolster ourselves to achieve our best and be happy that we have done what we can?

Our conclusion is very simple, we all need to devote a little time every now and again to simply doing something to be a little kinder to ourselves. Now this doesn’t have to be a big thing, or cost a lot of money, and it is important that it doesn’t just become another thing you are adding to your to-do list.
#bekindtoyou Women’s Wellness Week from September 16 to 20 This is about setting time aside, whether it’s half an hour or a whole day, to regroup and give yourself a break – go for a walk (or round of golf) in the fresh air; cut the umbilical cord to your iPhone and turn it off; have a bubble bath and read a good book – perhaps add a glass of wine for good measure; or simply tell yourself that whatever you did today, you did just fine.

These are the things that can make a huge difference, and have given rise to the formation of the first #bekindtoyou Women’s Wellness Week from September 16 to 20, which will explore a number of aspects that affect women’s well-being, from menopause to body confidence, as well as fundraising for cancer support charity, Look Good Feel Better.

The ultimate purpose of the week, however, is to assert this importance of giving yourself a break, and importantly for a lot of us, pointing out that that time out can actually prove to be more productive to our goals of world domination than constantly banging away at the tasks at hand without respite.

Of course, it will come as no surprise to you that I would be lying if I didn’t think that spas themselves have a fundamental role to play in the #bekindtoyou idea, not just because they are unequivocally relaxing, but because what is often so difficult for many of us is finding a physical space that allows us the psychological legroom to relax.

The spa environment being separate from the worlds we are in day in day out, is one that we can associate with being a little calmer. Not only that, but it is a place where you can feel safe to let your guard down; the image of cuddling up in a fluffy white robe is about more than feeling cosy, it’s about everybody in the same environment being just as vulnerable as everyone else – no make-up, no armour and not caring – simply coming to terms with themselves and enjoying it without interruption.

So that’s the idea, and I hope you join our wonderful group of women during #bekindtoyou Women’s Wellness Week to share what you’re doing, and encourage other women to take a little time as well, but mostly, I just hope that you do something that makes you happy. After all, if you’re going to take over the world, or at the very least dominate the golf course, you’re going to need to feel good to give it your best shot!

Tell me what are you going to do to #bekindtoyou? On Twitter @spabreaks is launching the first #bekindtoyou Women’s Wellness Week on 16th September. Visit or go to

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