At the end of a hectic day, nothing is more enticing than a long soak in a warm bath for a slice of ‘me time’. Take time out to lie back and unwind, and let the sensations of the warm water dissolve away the day and any muscular tension. The best way to ease into the relaxation zone is to create a personal bath time ritual. If you don’t have one already, here is our essential checklist:
- Create the ideal atmosphere: Prepare your space by dimming the lights and burning a few scented candles. Soothing soft background music can help facilitate a relaxation response and send you into a state of calmness. And let your family or flatmates know that you are having some ‘me time’ so you are not disturbed.
- Dry brush your skin: Before you submerge, using a skin brush or loofah, dry brush your body. This not only increases circulation and removes dead skin, but also helps oil penetrate and moisturise the skin.
- Soak in it: While bubbles may look pretty, what tired muscles and a stressed out body will appreciate are a few scoops of Epsom salts. Essentially magnesium and sulfate, these minerals are readily absorbed through the skin and are renowned for reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function, flushing toxins, and helping to lower the effects of adrenaline in the body.
- The essentials for nourishing the skin: Blend 7 to 12 drops of an essential oil in a carrier oil such as almond oil and add it to the bath. Choose an essential oil to suit your mood, but lavender, marjoram, rose, jasmine and bergamot are best for stress and anxiety, and chamomile has a calming effect. Alternatively, for sensitive skin, a few drops of oil in an oil burner could be a better option.
- Hydrate: Leave the glass of wine or bubbly for another day, and hydrate with a cup of your favourite herbal tea. Herbs known for their relaxation properties are chamomile, lavender, passionflowers, hop flowers, lemon balm, catnip, linden flowers and spearmint. Opt for chamomile straight up or look for tea blends that use any of these herbs.
If you prefer to dip your toes rather than your body, a soothing footbath can have the same calming and restorative effect on the mind and body.