After my laptop is closed and I’ve put all the lids back on my paints the anticipation grows because I know what tonight holds for me. An hour of alone time with a good book, a subtle playlist, and a bath filled with ingredients to heal and nourish.
My baths are not your childhood bath time (although I’m not against so fun toys to play with in there!) Each week I combine a variety of ingredients to make the perfect bath that fits my needs for that day to enhance the relaxation. I live for these baths. I schedule them in to ensure that they won’t be missed and then I think about them all day long. They seem to be even better in the winter when the weather is cold and the idea of being engulfed by warm water sounds like a dream. Yes, bath time is my favorite act of self-care which is why it’s a weekly occurrence.
Benefits of a Bath
As soon as my body hits that hot water I can feel it let out a sigh of relief (sometimes literally). The space created to take a bath is one of pause. A clean bathroom with mood lighting, candles lit for an extra soothing feel, and scents that promote relaxation. I set a playlist of music based on my mood set to the lowest volume so that I have space to think or can easily read without getting distracted.
But this feeling of ease, stillness, and relaxation is more than just because of the aesthetic of the room. “Hydrotherapy in water at 32°C (90°F) has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. It can also slow the production of the stress hormones cortisol and aldosterone.
A hot bath can also help you breathe a little easier. Studies report improved oxygen transportation when the chest was immersed in hot water.” That means that the hot waters are actually changing your brain chemistry as you sit there and take it all in.
By regularly taking a bath you’ll find improvement in stress, anxiety, pain, depression, bowel movements, healthier skin, and less fatigue.
Combine that with any herbs, essential oils, or salts that you’ve added to your bath and your body is literally absorbing nourishment to help support you in your day-to-day. All that from an hour in the tub.
What to put in your perfect bath
In the cupboard next to my bathtub is a shelf filled with goodies to create my perfect bath. A variety of essential oils to use for aromatherapy during my bath time. Bath salts to absorb toxins but also to help enhance minerals in my body. Oils to moisturize my skin and bubbles to give you that Hollywood moment in your tub. There is no right or wrong way to make a bath. Fill it with water that doesn’t burn you when you get in, add some ingredients that speak to you, and soak up all its goodness for about an hour.
Relaxing Essential Oils
There are too many essential oils in the world to count. But some of my favorites for a bath are lavender, eucalyptus, Lemon, Orange, Cinnamon, and Clove. Depending on the day I’ll add one more two of these oils to my bath to breathe in their relaxing scents. Different essential oils have different potencies so you’ll have to play with how many drops of each you want. But usually, I add about 10 drops of any one of these to my bath.
Mineral Adding Bath Salts
Fun fact, you can add any kind of salt to your bath. But these three are the salts that I usually go for in my baths.
Sea Salts “can stimulate circulation, ease muscle cramps, help relieve stiffness in joints, aid with arthritis or back pain, and soothe achy, overworked legs and feet. Plus sea salt helps cleanse and detoxify the largest organ in the body—your skin.”
Epsom salts are naturally occurring magnesium sulfate and aren’t actually salt. They are a great way to absorb more magnesium, which can help with sleep and digestion.
Himalayan salt (that pretty pink salt we all love) also delivers magnesium but not as much as Epsom salt provides. It has antimicrobial properties which can help support skin inflammation such as acne and eczema.
Oils to Nourish Your Skin
Dry skin is a constant struggle with me and sitting in a hot bath can sometimes make those problems worst. To help ease that struggle I like to add a bit of oil to my baths so that when my skin touches the surface of the water it’s kissed by moisture. You don’t need anything fancy, just your favorite kinds of body oil. In most cases, this is 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil, although sometimes I’ll get fancy and add almond oil.
Herbs For a Perfect Bath
Think of your bath as the world’s biggest tea pot. When you add herbs your skin will absorb their healing properties just like when you ingest it with a cup of tea. The best way to get all the benefits of herbs in your bath is to boil water in a pot and throw the herbs in. Let them soak for 15-30 minutes and then add that water to your bath. While you can always bundle fresh herbs or put dried herbs in a stocking or nut bag, the temperature of bath water won’t pull out all their nutrients, so boiling water first and letting them soak will provide the strongest source of nourishment.
These are a few of my favorite herbs to add to a bath:
Chamomille, Lavendar + Rose Petals
Chamomille, lavender, rose petals are all great herbs to add to a bath. These flowers enhance a calming feel, have a great fragrance, and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re feeling especially burnt-out or are suffering from a cold I highly suggest combing chamomile and lavender for your bath time ritual.
This amazing herb not only adds a pop of color to anything you’re making but provides a plethora of health benefits. It’s particularly helpful for the GI tract and can support you if you’re prone to UTIs or currently have one. But with all it can do inside your body, it can do even more on the outside–Supports inflammation of the skin, promotes healing of wounds, and reduces the soreness of bruises.
All herbs in the mint family (Peppermint, Spearmint, Catnip, Holy Basic) support your gut health while also aiding you in your winter blues. Choose from any one of these mints to release yourself from being stuck in your mind.
Eucalyptus is one of those herbs that I’ll let hang over my showerhead to add some aromatherapy to any shower. It works the same in your bath too. Add some eucalyptus to calm your nerves and let your stress melt away.
Make Bath Time Your Self-Care Time
Self-care doesn’t have to be some unachievable goal but a simple 60-minutes a week set aside to soak in the tub. These small rituals have the ability to refresh your mind and body allowing you more space to get creative and take back your days. This week plan ahead for your version of a perfect bath and get a few extra fun things to put in it. Whether that’s herbs, oils, bubbles, or salts, find something you can look forward to soaking in and then put on a soft playlist and grab a non-work-related book and have a little you time.