Seven years ago I found myself going through one of the hardest times in my life. Within the span of that single December in 2011, both my mother and husband were undergoing major surgeries, my father had suffered a stroke and my grandfather was dying. I was playing the roles of caretaker and nurse, breadwinner and housekeeper, going from one hospital to the next and then onto my grandpa’s house all the while maintaining my work schedule.
The emotional and physical stress were taking their toll on me and I honestly didn’t know how much more I could handle. By the end of the month, my husband and mother were home and recovering well from their surgeries and my dad had regained almost full mobility. On New Year’s Eve I received the call that my grandfather had passed away. I drove over to his house and held his hand and said my goodbyes and finally wept for everything that had happened in such a short amount of time.
When I returned home, I was freezing and tired and I felt like a shell of a person. My husband held me as I sobbed and asked what I needed. The only thing I could think of doing that might provide me any comfort at all was a hot bath.
And that is the moment I fell in love with the ritual of bathing.
Up until that point in my life, I had never been a bath taker. But an instinctual voice in my head that night told me to fill my never before used tub and simply soak. Lowering myself into that warm water and allowing it to soothe my frayed nerves and tense muscles changed my life. I now take as many baths a week as my schedule permits. Whether I use them to relax or refresh, baths help me focus solely on myself and what I need. They’re my way of simultaneously escaping and surrendering; both a necessity and a treat.
If you’ve been searching for a way to take care of yourself and haven’t made a habit of baths, I urge you to give it a try.
Below are my tips and product suggestions for making the most of bath time:
Step No. 1
First things first, I draw my bath. I like them extremely hot, but choose the temperature that feels right for you. I always add a cup of Epsom Salts to help relax my muscles and a few drops of an essential oil from Saje for a little aromatherapy. Sometimes I will pour in a bit of an all natural body wash like PLANT Apothecary’s Be Well Eucalyptus and Bergamot so I can have some bubbles.
If I’m feeling super indulgent, I sprinkle in the Calming Bath Soak from True Moringa, a blend of oil-infused dried rose petals and chamomile. Bathing amongst floating flowers makes me feel like a queen!
Step No. 2
While my tub is filling, I light my favorite candle from Le Feu de L’eau. I also gather a tall glass of cold water and a book and set them at the side of the tub.
Now I am ready to step in. Ahhhhhh that feels so divine!
Step No. 3
Once I’m in the tub, I like to soap up with a beauty bar from Skin Owl. The Matcha one is amazing and smells great. It doesn’t contain pore-clogging oils so I use this on my face too!
Then I use the Sweet Orange Papaya Scrub from Meow Meow Tweet concentrating on my elbows, knees and feet. I love this scrub because because it isn’t too oily and therefore, doesn’t leave a residue. I like to exfoliate my face as well. I have sensitive skin and the Amala Hydrating Face Polish is super gentle and has the most beautiful scent of jasmine.
Whether I use them to relax or refresh, baths help me focus solely on myself and what I need.
Step No. 4
Once I am done with my scrub-a-dubbing, I apply a face mask, sometimes two. Yes, I take full advantage of my bath time! I love starting out with a clay mask like Asarai Earth Tones to detox and brighten and draw out impurities. I lay back and let it work its magic. Once that’s rinsed, I follow with a moisturizing mask to hydrate and soothe. I have been using both the January Labs Moisture Renew Mask and the Amala Rejuvenating Collagen Mask. The steam from the tub will do wonders to boost your mask’s efficacy.
Now, it’s totally up to you how long you want to soak but I tend to stay in there until the water gets cold or I turn into a prune. Stay in for at least 20 minutes to reap the benefits of your me time.
Step No. 5
When I’m ready to get out, I make sure to be very careful. I tend to get lightheaded when exiting because there is a drop in blood pressure when you go from hot to cold too quickly. So my trick is to let the water drain while I am still in the tub to help my body temperature regulate.
I pat myself dry and apply a moisturizer. If I am in the mood for something super rich, I apply Soapwalla’s Luxurious Body Oil or the Body Mousse from OSMIA. It feels like a cloud! I wrap myself in a robe and let my body drink up the hydration.
However, if I need to get dressed after my bath, I prefer to use a lightweight formula that doesn’t feel sticky underneath my clothes. Essentiel Moisture by Adele is absolutely lovely and absorbs so easily!
Now simply enjoy the feeling of taking time for yourself and bask in the relaxation your spa retreat has given you.
What helps you relax and de-stress at home?
Images via Beth Cath