Your Mental Health Needs More Baths!
I’ve noticed that when I’m stressed, anxious, or depressed, I feel it in my body. It makes my back, shoulders, and neck hurt, but then I also get other random aches and pains in places that have no reason to hurt—like my body is trying to figure out where to put it all. As if the mental burden of these problems wasn’t enough, right?
I find that yoga helps a lot, but in all honesty, I’ve been really bad about getting a daily practice in and am still trying to figure out a new routine. Something else I’ve noticed in recent month that helps me release some of this body stress are baths!
I LOVE baths. These days I like to take at least 1 a week, usually on the weekends when I have a little bit of down time. And if I’m having a really rough week, I’ll take one in the evening during the week too, to help me step away from the adulting and chaos for a moment.
I started by taking Epson salt baths that I mixed with essential oils and dried flowers to help with soreness after my long weekend runs. But when I started tapering off my anti-anxiety meds, I found that they also helped with my anxiety and stress.
Turns out I’m not the only one who find baths helpful either...
If you do a quick Google search on “baths and mental health” there are a slew of articles and studies done on the subject. Turns out it’s a pretty popular topic!
Here are some of my tips for a bath that improves mental health:
Use bath bombs or bath salts with essential oils in them. They’re more fun than just a bath full of water, they make your skin feel good, and they smell incredible! Aromatherapy really does do wonders and gives you something to tune into when you’re trying to get out of your own head.
Epsom salts help with aches and pains in the body, so if you carry tension like I do these might help. Plus, they have magnesium in them which is useful if you’re deficient.
Dried flowers take a bath to a new level and makes them feel more like a treat. I always make sure add them to my homemade bath bombs and bath salts.
Make yourself a cup of herbal tea to drink while you soak. Chamomile is really easy to find at a local grocery store and will help you chill out a bit. It’s one of my go-tos when my anxiety is starting to spike.
Music is always a nice touch. Adding another sensory element will also help you get your head in a better place. Just make sure you’re not blasting heavy metal or 90’s emo…
If you aren’t using any scents in your bath, candles can give you that aromatherapy element. If you do use a bath bomb or scented salts, lighting a few unscented candles adds to the ambiance.
I have a bad habit of keeping my phone in the bathroom when I take baths, but if you can give yourself a digital break, I’ve heard that is a good idea. It’s something I’m working on…
If you’re trying to relax in a bathroom that needs cleaning or tidying you may end up getting distracted by the new tasks you’ve just mentally added to your to-do list while staring at the makeup containers on the sink or the clothes all over the floor. Even a little tidying pre-bath can help.
Since I’m taking the time for a little self-care, I like to do a facemask while I soak too. Makes all my skin happy.
Rubber ducks, loofahs, face rollers, etc. Throw a few extra things in that you enjoy and will help you relax. I personally have a few small, rubber ducks that look like flamingos that I like to have float around the bath. I think they’re fun and they make me smile.
Pull a clean, new towel for yourself to dry off afterwards.
Last but not least, relax your face. We tend to carry tension in our face, especially if the RBF is strong. Just let it go! Release the muscles in your forehead, cheeks, and unclench your jaw.