I’m writing this from the Las Vegas airport, headed home after a 36-hour trip to LA. I’m beat and ready to be home, sleeping comfortably in my own bed. In times like these I crave quiet isolation. I’m not one to check into the spa for a massage or even a facial — for me, unwinding happens best in a familiar place.
Often, that familiar place is soaking in a hot, relaxing bath. A bath relaxes the body and mind, hydrates the skin and dissolves stress. Oh, and it’s basically free — a bonus as that’s one less thing to stress out about.
So, what does it take to create the perfect soaking experience? Well, here are a few ideas…
How to Have a Relaxing Bath
1. Toss your towel and robe in the dryer.
A clean and dry towel and robe are crucial to a complete bath experience. Ideally, you’d wash your towel and robe just before you take the bath.
If that’s not realistic (and let’s face it, it’s not), the next best thing is to toss your towel and robe in the dryer for 10 minutes before you step into your bath. Because stepping out of a warm bath into a fluffy and toasty robe is nothing short of dreamy.
2. Choose your timing.
If you are truly going to relax, you can’t hop in the tub when you have a bunch of to-dos hanging over your head. You’ll be trying to force a calm state of mind, and that never works.
You don’t have to complete your to-do list, but you should time your bath just after you’ve finished an important task. Consider the downtime your reward for marking another thing off your list.
3. Set the scene, addressing all the senses.
Baths are sensory experiences, and they’re most enjoyable when you address each of your five senses. The hot water takes care of the touch aspect, but here are some ideas to round out the experience.
- Sight. Candles change up the scene in your bathroom. They add a soft, flickering glow that tones down life’s hard edges.
- Taste. Bring snacks or your go-to beverage to the experience. I like a chilled club soda, either with or without the vodka. I’m not a chardonnay drinker, but I imagine that would also complement a warm bath. Avoid red wine as you might get overheated.
- Sound. Try a relaxing playlist or the sound of ocean waves gently crashing on the shore (courtesy of a meditation app). You may also simply pay attention to and enjoy the sound of your tub filling.
- Smell. A scented candle or aromatherapy oils work perfectly. You could even release a few sprays of air freshener. The key is to create a scent that’s just a little different from your normal bathroom smell.
4. Draw your bath.
Every girl likes her own temperature, but the rule of thumb is to run the water a bit hotter than you can sit in for the first half of the bath, then turn the water cooler for the second half. Only fill the tub about 1/2 full. That way, you have room to add more hot water while you are in the bath.
5. Treat the water.
Bath oils work double-time. They’ll sooth your skin and smell great too. Even better, reach for an aromatherapy bath oil, which can calm the body and mind.
If you’re an athlete, you’ll enjoy bath salts or epsom salts for $4. These can alleviate sore muscles and bruises.
6. Apply your at-home facial.
You’re planning to sit still for the next 20 minutes or so. Why not apply a deep moisturizing or clarifying facial mask?
7. Grab a good book.
Most women I know have a hard time doing nothing — it’s like we’re geared to get things done and we feel guilty if we’re not completing some task. The funny thing is we’re better at getting things done when we allow ourselves guilt-free downtime.
Reading is my way to enjoy “doing nothing.” The way I see it, learning something new and/or experiencing life from someone else’s perspective is productive. So even though I’m not doing organizing my closet or doing laundry, I’m still doing something.
8. Moisturize and towel dry.
As a last step, rinse off, pat yourself dry with your warm towel and apply your favorite moisturizer. The moisturizer will feel as if it’s locking in the residual water, leaving your skin feeling smooth and soft.
Do you have any amazing bath rituals or favorite bath products to share? Let us know in the comments!