By Susan Towers
For many of us, nothing is more rejuvenating than spending the day at a spa for the ultimate in pampering.
One favorite treatment on any spa menu is the bath. Whether salt, mineral, mud, or aromatherapy, it’s where all the body’s tension disappears.
Baths can create the atmosphere to practice mindfulness, which is simply focusing on the moment and thinking of nothing but our body and how we are feeling. I always emerge feeling tingly and fresh, and definitely ready for the next day.
But as most of us know, with the demands of career, work, children, home, and even extended family, not to mention money, it’s not always easy to escape to a spa whenever we have the urge.
So instead, my advice is take a second look at your own bathtub. With imagination and creativity, you can turn your bathtub, and entire bathroom for that matter, into a personal spa.
What you need for this transformation
- Fragrances, salts, bubbles, oils, flower petals, or whatever gives you that feeling of tranquility and escape.
Creating the atmosphere
What relaxes you? I encourage having music in the room. You can stream your favorite tunes through your smart phone, or bring in your radio, or CD player for those who have them. It’s important not to have any advertisements to interrupt your ability to relax.
And by the way, listening to a ball game, cooking show, or a political discussion shatters the mood and is therefore not allowed. For safety’s sake, keep any electronics on a counter way out of reach.
Burning incense or essential oils is another way to set the stage for relaxation as we breathe in satisfying aromas and let our worries fade away. If you enjoy gardening, bring in a few of your houseplants and position them around the room. Green is said to be a relaxing color representing energy. Houseplants will thrive in the humidity of the bathroom, especially if sunlight comes in during the day.
I create mood with a combination of scent candles and seashells. Candles come in so many scents. I go for vanilla, lavender, and Japanese quince for their gentle sweetness. You might like cinnamon or spice, apple, or tangerine. It’s all a matter of individual preference. I like to mix tall and short candles around the bathtub. Having them burn while you are in the tub can be dramatic.
For me, a spa-type bath is not complete without shells, and luckily, I have collected many over the years. Observing them closely, and taking in their subtle colors and shapes, can help one focus on the moment and bring us closer to our inner self.
To create this sense of mindfulness, you may want to temporarily remove all the daily “stuff” in the bathroom that reminds you of errands and responsibilities, such as the stuffed hamper. A tidy room will let you focus on the sounds, the aromas, and items that relax you, and the bath itself.
Have ingredients ready
What are you going to put in the bath? Bubbles are a natural, but then there is so much else. When I was a little girl, I had always heard about the curative powers of Epsom salts for strained muscles. Recognition of their health benefits has escalated over the years, and now Epsom salt is an ingredient in all kinds of salt or mineral baths on the market.
The bath products seem endless. It’s up to you to decide what you enjoy most. For me, I am a believer in Epsom salts, whether on their own or in the product that appeals to me that day. I even found one recently at my favorite florist shop that included dried rose pedals, which went right into the bath with the salts.
Bath oils feel wonderful, especially in the winter when our skin gets so dry. They do have a tendency to quickly flatten the bubbles, but I don’t mind. They, too, come in all kinds of aromas.
Bubble-bath products are endless. When I am on vacation, I enjoy stopping at the stores that carry many different brands of bath bubbles. You can find all kinds online, too, as well as in your local drug store. I find that reading labels and ingredients is fun and gets me focused on a pending bath.
Putting it all together
Decide when you are having your personal, spa-like soak in your bathtub and let everyone in your household know that you and the bathroom are off limits. Set up your atmosphere decorations and your bath ingredients. Close the door, turn on the music, run the water to the perfect temperature, pour in the ingredients, and relax to your heart’s content. Listen to the running water, watch the bubbles form, and savor the sight of the tranquil environment you have created.
- Please make sure you don’t fall asleep! You might want to set an alarm. If you are feeling dizzy, let someone know so he or she can help you out of the bathtub.
- Always drink plenty of water before and after your bath and avoid alcohol.
- Use a non-slip mat in the bath and have a non-slip rug next to it so you avoid a dangerous fall.
- If you have a chronic medical condition, ask your doctor if it is safe for you to take a hot bath.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Susan Towers and www.shutterstock.com