Writer and editor Kari Molvar spent the bulk of her career working her way up the mastheads at glossy magazines like SELF, Allure and Cosmopolitan. When she moved out of NYC in 2009, she launched her freelance career, and since then has become a regular online contributor to T: The New York Times Magazine, and her work has appeared everywhere from Vogue to The Wall Street Journal. Recently, we spoke to the CT-based girl mom of two (Chloe is 9 and Jemma is 7) about her new book, Be Well: New Space and Bath Culture and the Art of Being Well. Here’s a bit more about this beautiful book (a perfect Mother’s Day or hostess gift), how Kari practices self-care and more.
What is Be Well about, and why is it so timely?
Be Well is about the history of ancient wellness rituals—everything from the hammam to the onsen—and the modern appreciation we still have for these self-care practices. In these stressful, turbulent times, I think we are craving ways to find more balance. Even if you can’t visit a spa in Thailand, I wanted to include ways to achieve inner calm with at-home tips and interviews with inspiring people in the world of wellness.
What was the “aha” moment or inspiration behind the book?
I think self-care seems like a new or trendy concept but in fact, it dates back millions of years! The ancient Greeks, in fact, believed in holistic living—eating well, exercising often, and keeping your mind sharp. Here we are in 2020 and that’s still so relevant!
What was most surprising to you in doing your research?
It’s interesting that most wellness rituals involve water—whether it’s soaking in the mineral-rich thermal waters of a Japanese onsen, having water poured over your body after a full-body scrub in a Middle Eastern hammam, or unwinding in a Finnish sauna, the heat of which is created by throwing water over hot rocks to release a purifying steam. I think water is so cathartic and healing, which explains why so many different cultures have been drawn to its therapeutic powers.
What is your favorite spa you’ve ever been to?
This a tough one! I think Canyon Ranch in Lenox is still my favorite—I love the mix of Eastern and Western techniques and I experienced my first reiki massage there about 15 years ago now—and it’s still the best I’ve had (I truly felt a transformation energy around my body). Also, the food is delicious; it didn’t feel “healthy” just packed with fresh flavors and local ingredients. I would live there if I could!
How do you practice self-care regularly?
I’ve started going for daily walks, a low-tech but surprisingly effective way to mentally release stress and tension at the end of the day. I also run on the weekends, for the mental health benefits more than anything else. And I recently bought a light therapy box since being surrounded by light makes me feel happier and more energetic.
How are you teaching your daughters self-care?
We love doing nighttime yoga with Anna Greenberg on the Peleton app, which has been a fun and very effective to help my older daughter unwind! My youngest is still grasping the concept of yoga. I also started them on a daily face washing routine, which is important self-care and very relaxing!