Baths are on my short list of Ways to Stay Sane. Taking a bath is my absolute favorite way to relax, unwind, decompress and spend rejuvenating time alone and disconnected from the world. As such, my fancy bathroom with its old black-and-white claw-foot tub is one of my favorite rooms of the house.
I like to think I’ve got luxurious baths down to an art, because I have so much experience and enjoy them so thoroughly. If you are not yet convinced of the joys of taking a nice hot bath at home, try these steps and report back.
1. Notify interested parties
For me, this involves telling my husband I will occupy the bathroom for an hour or two, and hinting that perhaps he might want to check on me after a while to see if I need anything. (He’s awesome like that.)
For some, it might mean starting a movie to occupy the kids, turning off your phone, putting a “Do not disturb” sign on the door or kicking the cats out of the room*.
2. Collect your essentials and place them in reach of the tub
This includes but is not limited to:
- Fluffy bath towels
- Beverage (depending on the season, this is hot tea, iced tea, a rhubarbarita, wine or just plain ice water)
- A decadent snack to nibble on, like dark chocolate with sea salt
- Shaving cream and razor
- Some lovely-smelling sugar scrub (perhaps some vanilla sugar, or fresh lemon?)
3. Run your bath
When choosing the temperature and what you’ll put in the bath water, consider the season and what your body and skin are asking for. For example, on a cold winter day, I might choose a piping hot bath with lots of bubbles and relaxing aroma. In the summer, I trend toward slightly cooler water, and like to add epsom salts to relax sore muscles and oil to moisturize my skin.
You can add essential oils to your bath too, but make sure to dilute them first! I learned the hard way that when you drop the pure oils right in the water, they will burn your skin. Mix them with salts, oil or bubble bath first.
4. Prep your skin
This step is optional for some, but I think it’s the key to raising the bar from regular old bath to at-home spa. Start by brushing your skin, which stimulates circulation, drains your lymphatic system and exfoliates dead skin cells. You can either use a brush or a loofah, starting at your extremities and brushing towards your heart. Kris Carr has a delightful how-to on her blog with more health benefits of dry brushing.
Next, treat your skin to some moisturizing oil, with or without some added essential oils if you desire. Any all-natural oil will work just fine; sometimes I use sesame or jojoba, my other standby is olive oil because I always have it.
To give your face a special treat, you can do a mud mask or peel-off mask (for DIY ideas, try this search on Pinterest.)
5. Sink in
Sink into the tub with book, audiobook, or delicious silence if you prefer.
While soaking in the tub, you might find it nice to closing your eyes for a good think, or engross yourself in a story, via book or audio, to get your mind off your day. Relax, enjoy the water, and soak in the sweet solitude.
6. Soap up
After you’ve gotten nice and wrinkly, you can shampoo your hair, shave your legs, pull out your favorite soap and get your self squeaky-clean and feeling pampered. This part, for me, is all about the scents; the more I love the aromas I’m surrounded with, the happier I am.
7. Drain & rinse
When you’ve had enough soaking time, drain the tub, dry off and rinse/wipe down the walls of the tub. Taking 30 seconds to do this after your bath will be much easier than waiting until it dries as bath scum that takes elbow grease and scrubbing to clean later. (You can thank my mom for that little tidbit; it really does cut down on cleaning time later on.)
8. Take a deep breath and re-enter the world.
I usually pad upstairs and slip into bed to continue my book. Once you’ve had a lovely bath, it’s easy to extend the feeling of relaxation to the rest of your day.
Tell me, darlings, what’s your favorite book? I’m looking for things to read in the bathtub, and my “to-read” pile is getting rather low–leave recommendations in the comments, please!
* Alternately, you might choose to let the cats in to the room, if you’d like to see them flirt with the danger of falling in, which my cats seem to love. Charlie has fallen in twice, and both times it was amazing.