While I’m normally pretty even keel, I’m vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed when there’s a lot on my plate or when troubling things are going on in the world or when time moves far too fast for my liking—eek! I know that sounds like a lot of instances of me feeling overwhelmed, but I promise I do okay most weeks.
Lately, however, I’ve been feeling more stressed than usual due to a combination of things—moving (honestly, a high-quality problem but you know how it is when your stuff is all over the place and you keep forgetting to call the irrigation people), ingesting a lot of news (still working on the balance of staying informed and feeling like a wave of little horrors is drowning my psyche!), and a slew of things to tedious to enumerate—but I’m sure you have your own version of that spinning around your head. Jennifer’s piece about stagnated Qi really hit home.
Like many, I’m guilty of sacrificing my downtime and self-care to scramble around until I’m ready to collapse. While we can’t be perfect wellness mavens every day, too many days in a row of this inevitably leads to burnout, frustration, and anxiety. For me, my anxiety manifests in waking up in the middle of the night to worry about things as if they’re truly dire (often they’re not) and crying spells shortly after waking. While the triggers for these moments are often kind of embarrassing (like worrying if I’ve been writing enough entries in my baby journal or hoping it’s forgivable to have some crumbs on my kitchen floor), I realize that my intense reactions are my body’s way of letting me know something’s got to give. Can anyone else relate?
When this happens, I know I need to check myself into some personal rehab during which I carve out some protected time to do something truly pleasant and restorative that will help me recharge my batteries (mental, emotional, and physical). After having a baby, bath time became this ritual. A good, hot bath soothed my sore body and allowed me to indulge my senses with essential oils, bath salts, body oils…all of that good stuff!
The following is my ultimate stress-relieving, anxiety-reducing bath ritual. I’m overdue for one—maybe you are, too?
If possible, avoid fluorescent light. I enjoy taking baths in natural light or with candles, depending on the time of day. However you manage it, try to rest your eyes.
Seriously consider what kind of stimulation you’re inviting into your bath ritual. What you consume translates to the kind of energy that enters your psyche. You know best what soothes your spirit. I tend to avoid reading in the tub—these days even a fun magazine is too much to think about. Instead, I listen to relaxing music—like Weightless–or nothing at all.
I love bath salt! A classic Epsom salt is a great choice as it relaxes your muscles while helping build your magnesium stores, which are depleted when you’re stressed. When I’m feeling truly fancy, I treat myself to Thesis Dead Sea Bath Salt Rose Garden. This beautiful blend contains dried rose petals and does indeed smell like a rose garden. The salts helps condition skin, making it feel so soft!
Exfoliate the old fashioned way with a natural scrub like this relaxing Kosmatology Botanical Bliss Sugar Scrub. A sugar scrub is a lovely way to boost circulation—plus, it helps you get a closer shave when you scrub then shave.
Lavender is an obvious choice, but I like to get a little creative with the essential oils in my bath—Frankincense is a beautiful healing fragrance, for example. If I’m looking to feel refreshed, I’ll use a woodsy blend—maybe a little spruce and cedarwood! A few drops go a long way, but if you’re concerned about the oils coming into contact with your skin, you can diffuse the oils in your bathroom using a steam diffuser (just don’t place it near the tub where it could fall in!)
Yes, sip something special while you’re in the tub. While a glass of wine makes a nice treat, I’m in favor of herbal tea as alcohol doesn’t ultimately contribute to mental wellness. I enjoy a rooibos chai blend or something with chamomile and flowers like this Evening Repose Tea with chamomile, peppermint, and lavender. Also, I was recently turned on to Wild Rituals Chagaccino, an herbal coffee replacement developed by a yoga instructor and herbalist. The earthy blend contains the medicinal mushroom Chaga as well as cacao, burdock, dandelion, and chicory. It’s warming and restorative.
Body oil can be added to your tub, and it will leave your skin lightly moisturized when you step out, or you can save it for post bath to seal in moisture. My favorite is Palermo Body Hydrating Body Oil with Ylang Ylang and Geranium.
What’s your favorite way to self-heal?
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