f ever there was a ritual to be cherished, it’s taking a long and relaxing bath. Just thinking about it is a real spirit-lifter. What better way to shed the cares of the day than in a comforting tub? No time, you say. Well, sometimes you just need to make the time.
It’s not so hard if you organize a bit beforehand. To achieve the desired effect, you need more than just a quick dip in the tub. The key is in the ritual of it all–the preparation, the accoutrements, the follow-up, and most of all your attitude.
Baths have actually always had a ritual aspect to them. The ancient Romans spent hours in public baths socializing or transacting business. Cleopatra regularly luxuriated in baths of hot milk. Mary, Queen of Scots, used heated wine to fill her tub. But you don’t have to get that fancy to make bathtime the most anticipated part of your day. With just a little forethought, and a few simple touches, you can transform an already enjoyable experience into a heavenly one.
Here are a few bathtime tips that will enhance your pleasure:
Remember, you’re making this a ritual. That means doing it more than once a month. Be sure the family knows that you’re changing the weekly routine: On Monday and Wednesday nights at 8:00, Mom now disappears for awhile. Turn off the phone, find someone (or something) to occupy the kids, tell your husband/boyfriend to take a hike. And remember don’t rush because you’re worried that dinner needs to be on the table or you’re due at the theater in an hour. A ritual bath should not be pressured.
Get the bathroom ready before you undress.
Naturally, you want everything as comfy and cozy as possible before you enter the tub. Have plenty of extra large and fluffy towels at hand (a towel warmer is a great purchase if you ever want to buy yourself something frivolous). Make sure you haven’t left your robe somewhere else in the house.
Get out your loofah, nail brush, and eye mask.
Light a candle. Put on a mellow CD (not near the water!). If you’re a perfectionist, use a drain block to fill the tub to the brim and have a small plastic pillow available to support your neck. A glass of Pinot Noir or cup of herbal tea completes the scene.
Test the water temperature first.
You don’t want to slide into a bath that’s too hot or too cold. Use your foot, not your hand to feel the water; your foot is much more sensitive to temperature variations.
Adding a few drops of one or more floral essential oils to your bath only enriches the experience. As you soak, the oils will soften your skin while the scented air calms your mind. Try combining several oils in the same bath. Play with different combinations, but remember, a little goes a long way.
For example, after a stressful day at the office, try 5 drops of rose oil and 5 drops of lavender oil. Or, for something extra feminine, add 3 drops each of rose, jasmine, and neroli oils to the water.
Relax in the afterglow.
There’s no question that when you emerge from the tub you’ll feel revived and relaxed. Make a point not to let that feeling fade too quickly. If you can, head straight to the bedroom and sneak under the toasty covers. Maybe your significant others (husband, boyfriend, kids) won’t find you. Or maybe they can just snuggle up with the newly rejuvenated you.