Reestablish a bathing routine for the new year and “reconnect” to the process, “take your time and be present where you once absently moved through routine”, suggests Fahey. Let yourself “indulge in the feeling of having nowhere else to be and truly relax”.
Momentarily step away from the world and recreate an inviting “spa” environment at home with our gentle suggestions:
Be it a bath or a shower, immersing oneself in a warm body of water is incredibly therapeutic. Before spas became a luxury outing, society viewed them as a healing, therapeutic necessity. Today, the notion of a spa connotes a more indulgent attitude. Yet the benefits remain the same. A heated bath activates our parasympathetic nervous system, slows our heart rate and initiates a calm and relaxed response, allowing our entire beings to unwind. Research shows that bathing at a higher temperature has a positive effect on mental health, helping prevent and defeat depression and lift mood. One study even found that a hot bath can have as much of a positive impact, if not more, on depression as physical exercise as a rise in body temperature releases serotonin, the body’s natural mood-boosting hormone, meaning we feel happier when we bathe or have a hot shower. However, to protect your skin barrier and avoid inflammation, aim for a water temperature between 37 - 40˚C (slightly higher than the body’s natural temperature). Extremely hot water can cause dryness and aggravate skin conditions. Fahey also suggests “taking a glass of cold, crisp water when you bathe to stay hydrated as the temperature rises”. So, dip a toe, an ankle, a body into a hot pool of water and submerge under the surface. Allow the warmth to slow time and enter a state of utter relaxation.