So long stress! How to turn your bath into a calming oasis
Have you ever had one of those days? Work’s stressful and horrible, (the commute home even worse!), your feet ache and your head’s not far behind. At home, the house resembles a bomb site, the cat’s MIA and your eight-year-old casually reminds you her school books need to be covered in contact paper by tomorrow… eeek!
Now imagine leaving these aches and worries behind you to sink into a soothing mini-sea of serenity; a place where you feel supremely calm, warm and nurtured — ahhhhhhh…
With a little preparation, it’s easy to transform your very own bathroom into a private, healing haven, a million miles away from everyday stressors.
Well, head down the hallway and take the first door on the left —your humble bathtub awaits! Yes, the bathtub. Taking a bath is not just for the kids and rubber ducks. With a little preparation, it’s easy to transform your very own bathroom into a private, healing haven, a million miles away from everyday stressors.
We humans have been bathing for a long, long time, both to keep clean and to relax, and it was — think ancient Roman baths — (and still is in some parts of the world, for example Japan) often a communal affair. Now, with our busy lifestyles and advancements in plumbing, most of us favour the option of a quick shower, not to mention washing in private!
Evenings are ideal for a good soak, and a bath makes a wonderful addition to a regular wind-down routine.
Here’s how to create a calming bathtub experience:
- Set the scene
Soft lighting and ambient music can create a Zen-like atmosphere in even the smallest of bathrooms. Switch off the lights and use a few gorgeous candles instead. Decide if you want to bathe in silence or, if you want a little background noise, arrange a soothing playlist. Experts say music of around 60 beats per minute mirrors a healthy resting heart rate, triggering the brain to synchronise heartbeat with the beat of the music.
- Get the water temperature “just right”
When a tense body slides into a warm bath, the hot water increases the body temperature, helping to unravel tight muscles and soothe grumpy joints. The perfect bath should feel pleasantly warm when you hop in, not uncomfortably hot. If you want to get technical about it, expert bathers recommend a temperature slightly lower than the normal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.
- Time it
Plan to soak for 10-20 minutes, and remember you may need a hot water top-up to maintain the ideal temperature during your tub-time. Oh, and fill the bathtub nice and deep so you can submerge everything but your head!
Rev up the relaxation vibes by adding 1-2 cups Epsom salts. The magnesium content in these salts helps relax muscles and may reduce inflammation.
- Breathe easy
Inhaling certain aromas sends a swift signal to the brain to relax. Lavender, bergamot and frankincense essential oils are all well regarded for their relaxation-inducing properties. Add a few drops of your chosen oil to a room diffuser, or directly to the bathwater to reset your emotions to “chilled”. While ensconced, take a few moments to tune into your breath. Simply observe the natural breath entering and exiting your nostrils. Notice the speed, depth and length of the breath. Notice any fragrance in the air around you, notice the temperature of the inhale, then the exhale. Identify where in the body you feel the breath — the belly, chest, throat? Be with your breathe for a few minutes, simply noticing what is.
- Emerge gently
When you’re ready to face the world outside of the bathroom, use your fluffiest towel to dry off and hop into some comfy clothes or your pyjamas. If you’re not yet ready for bed, spend the rest of your evening enjoying quiet, gentle activities. Have a cup of herbal tea, read or simply reflect on your watery experience.
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