My answer to nearly every problem in life is “Take a bath.” Stressed out? Take a bath. Bored? Take a bath. Feeling uninspired? You got it—bath time! Ever since I was a little kid stealing my mom’s precious almond-scented Jafra oil, I’ve been soaking away my cares in the tub any chance I get. (Sorry, Mom.) Nothing is more comforting than submerging yourself in a hot bath full of luxurious bubbles or rich oils and letting Calgon (or whatever brand you choose) take you away for an hour or so, and since we’re all stuck at home anyway, there’s no time like the present to start a bathing routine. Here are my tried-and-true tips.
Give the bathtub a quick scrub before (and after) your soak; you don’t need to go all Martha Stewart on it, just spray it down and rinse thoroughly. I personally don’t shower before a bath, but if that’s your thing, go for it! (I do recommend doing a quick Google to see which cleaning products are best for your tub; certain materials, like porcelain, need to be treated carefully—especially if you’re in a rental.)
This means pets, kids, work responsibilities, your phone…anything that could potentially disturb your soak is persona non grata. Have your partner watch the kids for an hour (lock the door if you have to), turn your phone on mute, and focus on you.
The ultimate bath is all about creating a relaxing environment: think an aromatic candle, low lights, and a clean, fresh, fluffy towel and robe waiting for you post-bath, plus some rich, emollient body cream. Grab a glass of wine (in a plastic glass, please!), a mocktail, or a sparkling water for the ultimate in unwinding.
Figure out what kind of bath you’re yearning for. A classic “tons of bubbles and candlelight” moment? An invigorating bath to help you get focused and reset your mood? A post-workout soak to soothe sore muscles? A ~*sensual*~ bath with a partner if your tub fits two? Decide your vibe and go from there.
From bath bombs to bubbles to oils and foams, the sky is the limit here. Dr. Teal’s makes, in my opinion, the best budget-friendly Epsom salt bubble bath in the world in a variety of aromas and formulas to suit your every need. For an earthy, invigorating bath, I love the patchouli-green Vitabath, and for fun, I reach for the retro Lemon Up. You can even throw it back to childhood and suds up with Mr. Bubble or Johnson & Johnson if you want! As for oils, I like the legacy brand Kneipp—especially their Dream Away blend with valerian and hops to help settle the mind—and Jo Malone for the ultimate “treat yourself” moment. Just remember to clean the tub thoroughly if you use oil to ensure no one slips and falls.
Maybe you’re planning to do a hair or face mask while you bathe. Great idea! Multitasking in the tub is encouraged when it’s beauty-centric, so mask away. (My go-to is Renée Rouleau’s Triple Berry Smoothing Peel.) If you’d rather keep your hair dry, my ultimate favorite is the AQUIS hair turban, which keeps hair protected and just so happens to be extra photogenic.
Some prefer to watch a show or movie on their iPad, but I’m firmly Team Book. A trashy paperback is always a good option, but I also enjoy a slim novella or a book on Kindle because they’re easier to hold as you bathe. I recently read Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn in the tub and loved it.
If you’d rather try meditating, why not cue up a guided meditation app and go through a few exercises as you soak? The key is to relax, so if eating Cheetos and drinking wine is your preferred relaxation mode, by all means…go for it! This is your time, so maximize it and let the warmth of the water and your bubbles and potions transform your mood. Don’t you feel better already?
Kara Nesvig grew up on a sugar beet farm in rural North Dakota and pretended to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz for about three full years. Things haven’t changed much, except she now lives in an adorable ’20s house in St. Paul with her husband, their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dandelion and many, many pairs of shoes. Kara is a voracious reader, Britney Spears superfan and copywriter — in that order.
BY Kara Nesvig - February 14, 2021
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.