If you're like me, a bath is one of the easiest ways to feel more relaxed and at ease. I take them for muscle pain and when I feel like I can't fall asleep and, in both situations, they are typically an immense help. However, I don't like to linger in the tub for too long. I start feeling hot pretty quickly, so I like to stay in for 10-15 minutes. However, it's important to maximize that time! Here's how to have the best bath of your life.
Set the scene.
Start with a squeaky clean bath tub and remove all products from the edges unless you plan to use them during the bath. Dim the lights and set the scene with as many candles as you can safely burn around the tub. I suggest choosing one scented candle paired with several smaller, unscented tealights. Arrange all of your desired products on a pretty tray to keep nearby and pour a glass of ice-water or chilled herbal tea to enjoy while in the tub.
Choose the soundtrack.
Continue creating a relaxing environment by choosing the right soundtrack. For me, a blend of music and ambient noise works best. The music is up to you---it could be zen. new-age spa music, classical, jazz or acoustic folk. Pick the music that makes you feel most at ease. Lately for me, that's been this compilation of Studio Ghibli piano songs. Consider pairing the music with a background of ambient noise. I use the Relax Melodies app which allows you to layer ambient noise to create a real sense of environment. Some combination ideas using this app are: jazz music + urban rain + city ambience for a vintage New York feel; acoustic folk music + campfire + night + wind in trees to feel like you're out in the woods; or zen music + ocean + winds + wind chimes for an oceanside spa vibe.
Pick your products.
Start by choosing a bath product to mix with your water. This could be an oil, a soak, a foam, or a salt. If your aim is to relax, I suggest choosing scents like lavender, vanilla, and coconut as opposed to eucalyptus, pine, and ginger which are more likely to wake you up or make you sweat. Actually, just the thought of a ginger bath makes me feel anxious. Next, pick a body soap, a hair mask, and a face mask to multi-task (or multi-mask, ha ha) while you soak. I also suggest using a dry brush before you get into the bath to stimulate circulation and slough off dead skin cells.
Manage your state of mind.
Most importantly, try your best to reach and maintain a relaxed state of mind. No bath soak, candle, or face mask will put you at ease if your mind is racing. Try breathing techniques like alternate nostril breathing or the 4-7-8 breathing technique (breathe in for 4, hold for 7, breathe out for 8). Take your mind off of any anxieties by repeating a mantra or going through the alphabet a few times. Take lots of deep breathes and, like meditation, leave the bath when you are still in a state of peak relaxation. This way, you will carry it with you through the rest of the day rather than soaking for too long and being thrown back into a state of stress.