As a digital journalist, I am not someone for whom switching off is easy - both actually and metaphorically. Try though I might, my phone - and all the tantalising tales trapped within its walls - is pretty much always within reach, and I check it consistently throughout the day (slightly manically, it has to be said) just to make sure I don’t miss anything.
And even when I’m not on the phone, my mind ticks over making mental lists and forming sentences - basically just thinking all the thoughts. It’s constant.
Two things shut it up - and both involve my phone being out of sight and out of mind (the two sadly don’t always occur together, and I recently went on a long haul flight without any signal and found I desperately missed the quiet pings of information materialising in my palm).
The first is a bath. In my book, there’s nothing quite like a bath for an instant change of pace, and when I’m in one (especially one containing deliciously-scented water), the virtual world melts away.
The second is during a massage - but not just any massage. A rubbish one where there masseuse just slides oil over me doesn’t still my mind in the slightest. I am a fan of a firm grip, and need a masseuse to combine precision in targeting those tense muscles with hardy hands for me to really switch off.
There’s one big, fat problem with the massage thing: though one with the right masseuse will leave me feeling euphoric and unburdened of my knots, the commute home always undoes all the good because I find that within five minutes of being jostled around on the tube my zen-like state quickly evaporates.
The answer? The home massage. They’re brilliant - all you need is a room (they bring the bed), and a body burdened with aching muscles and you’re good to go. And if you’re anything like me, chuck your phone in another room to make sure you properly make the most of the moment before rolling into bed or onto the sofa afterwards in a state of superior relaxation.
Here are the best home massage companies to hit up in London (and, yes, all offer a fully firm option if your proclivities align with mine):
These guys offer a huge variety of massage styles. Opt for acupressure if you’re after a really remedial massage.
Massages from £70 for 60 minutes.
Perfect 10 boast masseuses who'll visit super early and very late, so if you’re super busy, you can still find time to tend to your poor, overworked muscles.
Massages from £60 for 60 minutes.
The Urban Massage team are trained in loads of different massage styles, so if you’re pregnant/exhausted/in pain, they’ll know what to do.
Massages from £49 for 60 minutes.