I really love taking baths. In the winter, it's probably my second favorite activity, after sleeping. I love to add bubble bath, take a good book and lounge in the warm water until my skin gets all wrinkly.
Bath time is a relaxing ritual, a sacred space where I wash off the worries and stresses of the day and indulge in some escapism, both in my mind and through my senses. If you want to transform your bath time from simply washing to totally relaxing, I've got some tips for you.
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Dim the lights
Low lights are perfect for telling your mind and body that it's time to wind down and relax. Unfortunately, not every bathroom comes with a dimmer (like mine, sadly). So when it comes to blocking out the extra aggressive light, I've developed some tricks.
One thing I do is close the shower curtain. It certainly keeps a lot of the light out and gives me a nice sense of enclosure and safety. I also sometimes light a candle and turn off the lights, so my bath time is lighted only by the flicker of the flame.
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Add a relaxing smell
It's well-known that aromatherapy can work wonders with stress and anxiety. I rarely take a bath without a carefully chosen bubble bath or bath oil with a smell that makes all the difference to my mood.
I have a preference for the relaxing properties of lavender, bergamot and jasmine, but do your own research and experiment with different scents (essential oils can be blended too) to find the one that's just right for your bath ritual.
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Listen to soothing music
While I'm not particularly fond of listening to music when I read (something I do often in the bath), some people find that music relaxes them. So adding music to your bath time ritual is another way to make it the relaxing moment it ought to be.
Soft jazz, ambient electronic or classical are all perfect choices for relaxing in the bath. Keep the volume low--just enough so you can hear it--and let yourself be taken away to a more relaxed place.
If electricity and water are a worry for you, there are plenty of shower-safe bluetooth speakers you can buy. Change the volume and skip tunes directly from the speaker rather than your expensive iPhone or iPod.
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Take your time
The most important thing to relax in the bath is, I think, to take your time. This is a special moment, one that can't be rushed. Don't plan your bath time while the kids are up or when you expect important business calls. Interruptions are only going to stress you out even more.
I personally like to take a bath an hour or so before bedtime so my body can absorb the heat and relax into a nice somnolent state. This schedule has helped with bouts of insomnia throughout the years, and I go a bit crazy when I don't have a bath to relax in.
Make sure everyone in the family knows that this is your special time. Close the door. Start your music. Read your book. You deserve it.