I’ve never been very good at taking care of myself. I’ve struggled with healthy food choices and making sure I get physical activity every day. There was a time in college when even showering seemed to be optional. But over the past few years I’ve really changed my tune. I make wise choices and hit the gym several times a week. Yet, when it comes to the simple acts of self-care, I still find ways in which I need to tend to my self-care more.
I’ve incorporated a relaxing, stress-relieving, and revitalizing practice into my self-care routine: a weekly bath. Mela, the Massage Master of Magus, advised me to take a bath after getting a massage from her. I bought some Epsom salts and headed home to do just that. I put on some soft music, dumped in my bag of salt, added several dashes of essential oils, and had the best bath I’d ever had. No lie. No joke.
The following day I went to Liz, Magus co-owner and Head Herbalist, asking what I can do to make my bath-time even better. She suggested I take the Minerals for the Bath class. I did just that and was not disappointed. I learned all about the different kinds of salts and what kind of aromatherapy oils I could add to the bath salt to make my experience even better. I picked up a copy of 500 Recipes for Aromatherapy by Carol Schiller (which has the most ridiculous late 80’s/early 90’s cover) and started blending my own bath salts.
I now take a bath every Tuesday night. It relaxes both my muscles and my anxieties. Epsom salt is especially good at removing lactic acid from the muscles. I work out several times a week and have noticed that this helped keep my mucles free of soreness and relaxed, yet toned. Now that it’s the dead of winter, I’m able to get warm and the essential oils I’ve blended up make me smell like the spirit of Christmas incarnate. My favorite is to put about 25 drops of Juniper Berry, Fir, or Coriander is wonderful and warming additions. For a more healing and soothing bath try Rosemary and Tea Tree. I’ve added Eucalyptus Oil to the Rosemary and Tea Tree for a friend who wanted that cool and awakening blend.
Self care allows us to be more present in our everyday life. I’ve known practicing self care to be vitally important, especially for caretakers in need of taking care of themselves. Taking just 20 minutes for yourself can really help with burning out. I’ve seen dear friends implode because they we devoting too much time to their jobs and their social lives, rather than taking time to practice self love. And it can be practiced in so many forms. This includes making real commitments to going to the gym more often, making better and more flavorful choices of food, and devoting time for myself when at home.
I’d never been a bath taker. Maybe once or twice a year just to be good to myself. We’ll not anymore! Baths are now an essential component to how I take care of myself. They are phenomenal way to nurture and distress. I’ve even noticed a difference in my performance in the gym and at work. I couldn’t recommend a better self-care practice.
– by Markus K. Ironwood