“I never feel so much myself as when I’m in a hot bath.” – Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Taking a bath is an underrated form of magic. It’s an act of cleansing, a water meditation, and a form of pragmatic self-care no matter how you look at it. And while I’m not much for brewing potions, I dedicate much time and energy to drawing the right kind of bath to help wash away whatever stress I’m facing.
One of the beautiful things about preparing a bath is that there really isn’t a wrong way to do it. You don’t own bath salts? Who needs them! Out of candles? Not the end of the world. Sometimes you may not even want all the frills. The one thing I recommend for drawing a bath, to tap into your inner-witch, is to come with intent.
Bathe with Intention
I’ve never been very good at meditation. I get bored or fall asleep or start fiddling with something. I don’t meditate well and maybe this is just me, but when I take a bath, I get the most out of it when I’ve come to my bath with a plan.
That plan might mean unwind after a long workweek or calm a headache that’s come on. Sometimes the plan might just be to read a bit of a book or to plot out a story in my head. A good bath is more than just sitting in hot water. Bringing intention into it is part of what makes it potentially a transformative experience.
Set Aside Some Time
Only you will know your schedule. Make sure that you aren’t rushing through your bath. When you’re watching the clock, you’re not relaxing. Give yourself a few hours. This may seem obvious, but it’s one of those make-it-or-break it points of contention for me. On days I don’t have time to really take a bath, I just don’t take one.
Gather your Supplies
I use the word “supplies” loosely. Obviously there’s nothing you need to have for drawing a good bath, but still, I like to keep a few different things on hand in case of a bad week. I collect bath bombs, bath salts, dried flower petals, essential oils, body scrubs, face masks, bubble bath, and scented candles. In a bath, you can use all of these things or none of these things, but with that said, I’d never use all of these things at once. I tend to believe less is more when it comes to drawing a bath.
I believe in drawing baths to match the intentions I bring to them. If it’s for self-care, out comes a body scrub, extra washcloths, rose petals, bath salts, essential oils, candles, and maybe even a glass of wine for maximum pampering. If I want to wash away some kind of emotional problem, I might opt for a bath bomb or bubble bath (or a foaming bath bomb for the best of both worlds) and play a comforting soundtrack in the background to relax to. For an aching back, I reach for lavender bath salts and a sea sponge.