When life gets stressful, one of the most widely recommended solutions is to enjoy a moment of relaxation in a warm soapy bath. There are numerous therapeutic benefits of an indulgent soak, both for the body and the mind, however, relaxing in the bath isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
In a world where more and more of us feel as though we’re constantly on-the-go, it’s unsurprising that a relaxing bath just feels like sitting in hot water and thinking about our ever-expanding to-do lists.
So, to really help you practise some well-earned ‘me time’, we’re sharing our recipe for real bath-time relaxation.
The benefits of bathing
An indulgent and luxurious bath can be truly revitalising, but if you’ve got a lot on your mind, you’re struggling to sleep, or you’re simply overcome with stress, then there are ways to promote a real sense of calm through bathing.
In a similar way to full body massage, immersing yourself in warm water can aid deep muscle relaxation and reduce tension and headaches caused by stress. A soothing soak in the tub can quieten the mind, boost your mood, and be a natural way to induce sleep by the time you get into bed.
Dedicate time to yourself
The first rule of thumb is to find some uninterrupted ‘me time’. Set aside at least an hour for your bath, leave the smartphone on silent and don’t bring it into the bathroom with you. If you have kids, it’s also worth making sure that they are occupied and that everyone at home knows you’re enjoying some relaxation time.
Having a long, soothing soak in the tub isn’t another task to tick off the list; rather than seeing is as another in a long line of jobs to be done, see it as a way of enjoying some much needed ‘me time’. Just as you might set aside an hour to watch your favourite TV show, think of taking a bath in the same way, putting aside time to rest, relax and wind down after a hard day.
Set the scene
So, you’ve got the kids occupied, put your phone on silent and buried it at the bottom of a drawer, and you’re about to kick off your shoes and run the bath… only to find damp towels and discarded clothes on the bathroom floor.
Quick tip: If you’re constantly battling a cluttered bathroom, then check out our eight top storage tips here.
To allow you to truly unwind, your bathroom needs to promote a sense of serenity too. Beyond a swift tidy up, you can quickly transform the space into a spa-like sanctuary.
Start by lighting candles around the room. You don’t need to choose scented candles, as a bath by candlelight is relaxing in itself, but to create a truly harmonious environment, aromatherapy candles such as lavender or eucalyptus can help to induce a real sense of calm.
Also, opt for some soft, ambient lighting which can really set the tone and help you unwind too. Check out our over-cabinet and wall lights, which can help you maintain a gentle level of brightness in your bathroom that is perfect for a relaxing bath.
Test the temperature
To feel relaxed in the tub, you want the water to be warm enough to soak in for at least half an hour without it getting too cold, but not so hot that it’s uncomfortable and you start to feel more stressed! The best way to check the temperature of the water is with your wrist rather than your hand, as this will give you a better idea of how comfortable the temperature will be once your whole body is immersed in the water.
Recipe for relaxation
Drawing a bath using specific products to encourage relaxation will do wonders for washing your worries away. Start by adding about two cups of Epsom salts to your tub, as these have both cleansing and relaxing properties. The high magnesium content of the salts works to sooth the muscles, reduce inflammation and relax the nervous system.
Next on the list is essential oils. Floral scents such as iris, rose, and lavender can help you to slip into a peaceful, calmer state of mind. If you’re using aromatherapy candles, be sure to use the same scents, as conflicting smells will have an impact on your stress-free atmosphere.
Lavender proves to be one of the most popular choices for a relaxing bath as it softens the skin and can help combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Add around eight drops of lavender essential oil when you’re about halfway through running the bath. This helps the oil to disperse evenly in the water as the bath continues to fill up.
Relax – no, really!
Relaxing can be a lot more difficult than it sounds, mainly because so few of us actually find time to simply stop for a moment and seriously chill out. Different people relax in different ways, so here are just a few different suggestions that might help you to truly unwind in the tub:
Close your eyes
Probably the simplest suggestion is simply lying back, closing your eyes, and emptying your mind. A cooling eye mask can work miracles in easing a tension headache. A soothing face mask and a couple of slices of cucumber on your closed eyes can also do the trick.
Read a book
Reading has been proven to be a very relaxing activity, so escape the stresses and strains of the modern world by losing yourself in the pages of a book. Be sure to choose something that captures your imagination or interest to allow your mind to either escape to another world or become fully immersed in the subject.
If your hair looks as frazzled as your mind feels, then now is the perfect time to revitalise it with deep conditioning hair treatment. After shampooing your hair, comb the treatment through your hair, wrap it up in a towel, and leave for 20 minutes before rinsing.
Alternatively, listen to some chill-out music. We know panpipe hits aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so pick something that you’ll actually enjoy listening to that’s also soothing enough to help you unwind. You might like to put together a playlist of chill-out tracks to listen to while you’re in the tub.
Dry off, chill out
Ensure you’ve got a dry, fluffy towel or bathrobe to hand to dry yourself with once you’ve stepped out of the tub – you need to leave the bathroom feeling warm and comfortable. A robe hook fitted to your heated towel rail is perfect for keeping your bathrobe warm and dry as you bathe.
It’s important not to jump straight back into an endless list of jobs once your tub time is over. Instead, put your feet up and relish a little more ‘me time’ before jumping into bed and enjoying a restful sleep to top it all off.