Clear out the clutter from your brain-and your closets-with a battery-recharging weekend at home.
Your needy friend wants to talk again, you noticed some jiggly new junk in your trunk and you’re so pressed for time you snapped at your grandma on the phone. Yes, your life’s a mess, but this isn’t Hollywood—you can’t call in sick with “exhaustion” or escape to a cush rehab facility. Our prescription: a weekend spent at home, in lockdown, where you can reboot, recharge and get your life in order.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
- The Life Audit by Caroline Righton ($14.95 at Transitions, 1000 W North Ave, 312-951-7323)
- Sleep Tight soothing bath salts ($4 at Aroma Workshop, 2050 N Halsted St, 773-871-1985)
- Yogi Tea's Green Tea Rejuvenation ($4.60, Kramer's Health Food, 230 S Wabash Ave, 312-922-0077)
- Traditional Medicinal's Nighty Night Tea ($5.46) and organic raw kombucha ($2.59, Kramer's)
7pm You’re too tired to cook, but you want to start Mission: Recharge on the right foot. The global obesity pandemic doesn’t appear to have caught up with the Japanese yet, so you order in from Rise Sushi (3401 N Southport Ave, 773-525-3535; call for delivery area). You bypass fattening tempura and play it lean with edamame ($4), cucumber salad ($4) and “Chirashi Rice” (assorted sashimi over sushi rice, $15).
7:45pm You plate up and allow yourself 30 minutes of Reno 911! while you eat. (Don’t they say laughter is the best medicine?)
8:30pm Bath time. Instead of Calgon, you got the good stuff from Lincoln Park’s Aroma Workshop: Sleep Tight bath salts with lavender, neroli and rosewood. (For more at-home spa remedies, see “Retreat-ments.”)
9:45pm Now that you’re calm, clean and collected, you’re ready to see how you got so frazzled in the first place. Pick up your newly purchased copy of The Life Audit. Skim over the introduction, which explains why auditing every aspect of your life, from family and relationships to your career and self-image, will help you identify what is worth your time.
10:30pm Forget Ambien. Either self-help tomes are nature’s sedative or your bath salts did their job, because your eyelids feel like ten-pound dumbbells. Lights out.
8:30am You brew a cup of Yogi Tea’s Green Tea Rejuvenation, fortified with something called “cat’s claw” (which, thankfully, is a vine bark—not clippings from a vet clinic). This exotic ingredient is said to contain antiaging properties, which boost your DNA and promote memory function. You resist running to Aldi for a can of Jolt.
9am One goal for this weekend is to rid yourself of the hunchback you’ve acquired from your desk job. Michael Flockhart, who teaches at Chicago’s Yogaview and Wilmette’s Niyama studios, arrives to conduct a private hatha-yoga session (312-961-3306; one-hour private session $75–$110). You begin with breathing exercises, then progress to asanas (poses) to unkink your frame. Sixty minutes later, you feel looser and taller—take that, hunchback.
10:45am Today’s agenda requires instant energy, so you chug a bottle of raw kombucha, a Chinese tea that’s said to rejuvenate and revitalize. It might be a placebo effect, but this bubbly, orangey beverage seems to be working.
11am The fact that you can walk into your local Dunkin’ Donuts and order “the usual” is another sign your life needs a makeover. So you’ve booked Dave Grotto, licensed dietitian-nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Housecall (630-415-9825, nutritionhousecall.com), for a consultation and kitchen makeover. He ferrets through your cabinets and fridge; food items that win his approval are anointed with a smiley-face sticker…junk foods get frownie faces. You bid a wrenching farewell to Little Debbie, and Grotto leaves you with a grocery list, a meal plan and his new book, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. Kitchen makeover: $250.
1pm It’s lunchtime, but thanks to Grotto your pantry is a ghost town. You order in from Cousin’s Incredible Vitality (3038 W Irving Park Rd, 773-478-6868), a restaurant that specializes in Mediterranean-influenced gourmet raw food. Its customers typically buy a week’s worth of prepared meals at a time, but Cousin’s will deliver a single meal for a $10 fee. Today, you’ll have Cousin’s Delight—a hummus platter with curry-marinated vegetables, pine nuts and goji berries ($12).
2:15pm A daily stress since, like, forever has been the disarray in your apartment’s teeny closets. Cynthia Ivie, owner of professional organizing company White Space (312-275-4000, getwhitespace.com), arrives to assess the mess. Since your project is small—two 3' x 8' closets—she designs a solution on the spot. One of her experts will return tomorrow to pimp out the spaces with Elfa components. And since White Space is all about simplification, it also offers personal errand-running such as grocery shopping. You hand over the list Grotto gave you, and Ivie arranges for a delivery later tonight. Closet build-out: $1,500; grocery shopping: $30–$75.
3:30pm You revisit Righton’s book and remember why you bought it. Instead of hippie-dippie psychobabble, there are straightforward worksheets, which assess everything from your finances to your relationships. One of them has you list your friends and family in order of importance. (This has incendiary evidence written all over it; you make a mental note to buy a shredder.)
6:30pm White Space arrives with your groceries. You begin creating your first Grotto-endorsed meal: roasted watermelon salad, Moroccan chicken and Greek potato salad.
8pm The Life Audit advocates cutting out empty activities, which you interpret as a commentary on your hourly visits to PerezHilton.com.
9pm Tonight’s bedtime elixir is Traditional Medicinal’s Nighty Night Tea—a caffeine-free chamomile blend that purports to alleviate tension, irritability and restlessness. You spend the rest of the evening completing The Life Audit’s personal-image assessment, which is supposed to help you determine if your wardrobe choices and grooming habits inspire self-confidence. You determine “no,” and give thoughtful consideration to purging the Mexican poncho you scored on spring break ’97.
10:30pm Nighty-night indeed.
10am Breakfast is Grotto’s Brazilian-style acai bowl: antioxidant-rich acai berries topped with cinnamon-walnut granola.Noon White Space closet diva Courtney Bierman arrives to do her magic. She removes the existing crap—a single overpacked rod and a rickety upper shelf. Then she begins installing the components that she purchased, which will take much of the day.
1:30pm You leave Bierman to her work and chow down. Today’s lunch is your second entrée from Cousin’s Incredible Vitality: The “Akdeniz burrito” ($12)—a sunflower seed and tahini mixture with mango, red peppers, sprouts and spicy guacamole, wrapped in Swiss chard.
3pm The constant demand for your time, from friends to family to work, takes its toll on you. So you seek the advice of Dr. Alison Miller, a professional life coach (773-878-6412, lifeessentialscoaching.com). She either meets clients at her office or consults over the phone, so you dial in for a prebooked, 45-minute initial coaching session. She asks what you find pleasurable, nurturing and invigorating, and you set a goal to make more time for these activities. (You hope in the future you can avoid the type of mental meltdown that caused you to lock yourself inside your apartment in the first place.) You conclude by booking a follow-up session in 30 days to track your progress. Initial consultation: $110–$150.
4:15pm Massages are one of your favorite stress relief cures, so you’ve booked a one-hour rubdown with Appease (630-550-3746, appease2you.com), a company that brings salon and spa services to you. Your massage therapist puts her table in the living room, lights candles and turns on a white-noise machine, transforming your place into a comfy cave. You enjoy 60 minutes of Swedish massage. One-hour: $75.
5:30pm The health trend continues. For dinner, you whip up Grotto’s black-bean soup and a spelt wheat burger.
6:30pm Bierman is finished with your closet transformation, and your wardrobe is now organized by color and type; snow boots, outerwear and laptop bags all have a home. And White Space has taken your reject pile of clothes to a nearby charity.
7pm Your 48 hours of self-devotion are officially up and you’re all aglow. You’re energized, your shoulders no longer ache, your pantry and fridge are stocked, and you’ve got the right outfit—and attitude—with which to greet Monday morning.