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  • Writer's pictureNina Dudko

The Importance of Mental Health

Updated: May 7, 2020

Working a 40-hour workweek and going to grad school full-time can get exhausting really quickly—both mentally and physically. Lately, I’ve been slacking on making it to the gym during the week, and I’m still working on finding time to get maybe a 45-minute workout in. Sitting in a chair for at least 10 hours a day is not healthy.

It is also stressful on your mind. Work can get hectic; school can feel overwhelming; even social life can be too much effort. It’s important to hit that reset button every now and then and reconnect with yourself, to make time to take care of yourself mentally and physically.

Sometimes I take a day or a weekend to deep-clean my apartment, or spend some time by the pool (but now that summer is over I won’t be doing that anytime soon). And one of my favorite ways to reset is to take a trip to Spa World in Centreville, VA.

This Korean spa is the perfect place to disconnect from the outside world. Featuring two unisex bade pools, spa rooms, and a restaurant, this oasis of relaxation is a great way to spend a few hours or an entire day. There are even mats in the main spa room with headrest pillows for you to take a nap. That’s right—a place where you can nap in the middle of the room on the floor. It’s fantastic.

I usually stalk Groupon for a discount (as I write this, I am going to Groupon to check if there’s a voucher and huzzah there is). Admission is about $40 without the additional massage services, but with the Groupon, it’s $20. That’s a huge deal.

(Image courtesy of Groupon)

The bade pools have hot tubs at temperatures ranging from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The caveat to the bade pools is that you are walking and floating around with naked women or naked men. This is a great opportunity to become more comfortable with and appreciate the great variety of human form. The hot tubs and pools have jets that massage your muscles and relieve any knots you may have from a stressful life. You can also schedule a massage and body scrub for additional fees.

The facility provides you with a uniform to walk around the main spa room and restaurant area (no, you are not walking around naked the entire time). The spa rooms are dome rooms lined with assorted materials and kept at different temperatures. I love going from the hot rooms to the cold rooms. I personally don’t do well in heat or humidity for a long period of time, so I spend 5-10 minutes max in the extremely hot rooms.

Some of the rooms, like the jade room pictured above, have gorgeous designs and are soothing. The spa rooms are a great place to sit and meditate and sweat out all those gross toxins from drinking at happy hour or that birthday when I had two slices of pizza because it’s always someone’s birthday at the office. My personal favorite room is the red clay ball room. It’s like a ball pit, except the balls are much smaller, warmer to touch, and harder. If you don’t step on them the right way, it feels a lot like walking on Legos.

It’s a smidge hard to meditate or drift away in empty thought since I’m fidgeting with the balls all around me. Playing with them with my hands and toes, it’s not the quietest room. Definitely a fun room to lie in since the balls conform to the shape of your body much like a memory-foam mattress—except the red clay gives you mini massages as you wiggle around to find your comfortable sweet spot.

During my most recent visit to Spa World about a month or so ago, I tried their restaurant for the first time. They offer a variety of Korean specialties like bibimbap, which is a rice bowl with vegetables, meat, and egg, or mandoo, which are dumplings. I tried their Sizzling Stone Bibimbap with beef and it was literally sizzling. The dish came in a hot stone bowl and you could hear the noodles and egg sear. It was a spicy hot bowl packed with tons of flavor. It did take a while to eat since it was scalding hot, but the aesthetic is fun. It is also served with miso soup and an assortment of pickled vegetables called panchan, which include various kinds of kimchi.

I love Spa World. I always leave feeling rejuvenated and I sleep so well afterward. However, I don’t go home without making a pit stop at H Mart. After running around H Mart’s aisles for half an hour and coming away with oodles of produce, I go home and pass out. My mind is at ease, my body is replenished, and I just feel happier.

If it weren’t so far away, I would go almost every other weekend. Mental health is so important, and I think it needs more emphasis. When our brains are drained our productivity is reduced. Take a minute to meditate, read a good book, or treat yourself. A mentally healthy you is a happy you.

How do you take care of your mental health? Let me know!

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