Warming rituals and relaxing spaces

On the second day of the cold snap, I decided nothing would help restore my frozen limbs quite like a hot bath.

I lowered myself into the hot water, at first one frozen toe at a time. Then foot, then ankle, then calf. I felt the gentle burn of warm water on my cold skin, resigning myself to the feeling and giving in to it, inch by inch.

Once finally submerged in the tub, I thought about the comforting ritual of baths. It’s more than just being warmed on a cold night. Baths take us all back to our childhood, to the leisurely play of splashing around in a tiny ocean of our own that boasted no fish but plastic alphabets and rubber duckies. What a calming luxury of time and freedom. And for me, soaking in a hot bath for no reason other than to feel warmed to my core reminded me of all those nights I’d resort to the tub, exhausted after hours of training in the pool and long days of school.

Do I even deserve a bath right now if I’m not sore and tired, with a few hours of math homework and reading ahead of me? I wondered. (Deeply rooted Catholic guilt is a powerful thing.) I enjoyed the soak anyway.

A few days later, the cold became too much, so I decided to take some time to myself in the bath once again. It was then I realized how much I want to bring stillness and quiet back into my life in 2018. I can’t think of a more perfect way than a long soak to calm my mind, and it almost goes without saying that I love simply being in water. And self-care is so important! I know this goes well beyond things like bath bombs, glasses of wine, and cliched, basic-white-girl rituals, and I’m thinking about what else I can do to slow down and truly relax.

Some other ideas I have in mind for this year:

Returning to doing my own manicures and pedicures. It doesn’t save me any time at all, but there’s something really satisfying about getting the polish just so and taking the extra time to do something yourself. It doesn’t hurt to save some money… and then use it to buy even more nail polish. Ha!

Cooking at home more often. In the spirit of the previous list item, making a great meal is something to be proud of. This also falls squarely in the intersection of things I like: making things with my own two hands, delicious meals. Unadvertised benefit: fun activity for introverts to recharge! 

Baths, for staying warm reasons, relaxation reasons, and cozy reasons. Baths are pretty hygge, right? And then at the end of it, I guess you’re clean, which is nice.

I know no one needs or even wants an update on adventures in leisurely baths, but as for the other things on my self-care radar, I will probably continue to document some things here.