A bit about bathing
So much more than just an indulgence
You probably already have a bathing routine at home, but it is probably something like jumping into the shower, mind-racing with the must-dos for the day, as you quickly drench yourself in shower gel, clean your teeth, and stay in as long as time allows before you cautiously climb out into the chill, followed by a quick dry-down before the day begins. It may not be exactly like that, but we're sure you get the gist! If your relationship with bathing looks anything like this, you have a bathing routine, not a ritual. The difference is that a bathing ritual is something that you carve out time for.
Rather than an indulgence, think of your bath as an opportunity to give your mind and body a break. Just taking this small step and thinking ritual, not routine, will add a sense of importance and weight to this self-care superstar. This isn't a new principle, long before it became the scented bubble bath that is common now, bathing was first and foremost known as Hydrotherapy - a therapeutic treatment for body and mind. More recently, studies have shown that people who take regular baths, as opposed to showers, experienced significant benefits including reduced stress, fatigue, and pain, as well as improved skin condition and reported feelings of health.
We love a good bath and we take bathing pretty seriously at Woolacombe Bay Hotel; not only are many of our in-room tubs pretty spectacular (think freestanding with seaviews to die for!) but also, hidden in The Alchemist Spa, you’ll find a private bathing suite with a giant copper tub - big enough for two! When you book a copper tub bathing experience, your bath butler will draw your bath and add your choice of oil so you can simply sink in and relax.
As we are all staying at home and keeping one another safe, our lovely spa therapists have shared their top tips for creating the perfect bathing ritual at home...
Dipping a toe in...
+ Not all of us have the luxury of having a giant bathtub in our homes to luxuriate in. Not to worry, we have included tips below to help you adapt this ritual for showers, where possible.
Carve out some time
& COMMIT TO REGULAR BATHTIME
Think about how frequently you'd like to give yourself this time and consider whether it could perhaps be at the same time each week so you can start to build a habit. Ideally, aim to devote at least 45 minutes to your bath (less if you suffer from chronically dry skin), and plan to go to bed afterwards. Ask family members to respect this (that means no interruptions)! As you set this intention, pause and take a moment to remind yourself that you deserve this gift.
+ If you are creating a shower ritual instead you should still allocate yourself regular time for your 'special showertime', but you may not need 45 minutes!
Clear away clutter
Visual clutter can increase stress, so give yourself that extra bit of bath zen by hiding it from sight; we have a tendency to balance lotions and potions around the edge of the bathtub for convenience but now is the time for space - keeping things in a basket is great for this. Even if you don't have the space to put stuff away, you can always pull the shower curtain/screen to enhance the environment of your space.
Set the MOOD
Candles, scented essential oils and room diffusers can really help to set the mood. Light a candle or position a room diffuser in your bathroom, keeping the door closed for at 15 least minutes before your bathing ritual. This will help the scent to build and, when you step into the space, ready for your dip, this will signify to your mind that something special is about to take place.
We particularly love Natural Spa Factory's Oud Room Diffuser for bathing rituals. Oud (pronounced:’u:d - ood) is derived from the tropical agar tree, which is thought to originate in Assam, India. The beautiful, dark, fragrant scent evokes the warm and balmy breeze of a Middle Eastern night.
+ If you are planning a shower ritual instead, we recommend doing this in your bedroom beforehand. Before you step into the bathroom, pause for a few minutes, close your eyes and just breathe, noticing the scent and gently reminding yourself that this time is for you.
Oud Room Diffuser with Black Reeds (available to buy online)
FILL YOUR TUB
Ideally, your bath water should be close to body temperature or a few degrees above. Adding a good bath oil or essential oil can help to invigorate, relax or relieve tension. Our favourite bathtime ritual oil is Natural Spa Factory's De:Stress Bath & Shower Oil with Gotu Kola. The unique mix of essential oils in this blend will help boost mind and clear mental fog. Relieve feelings of anxiety, unwind and be cocooned in antioxidants. Featuring scents of gotu kola, mint, organic fennel and lavender, it's the perfect bedtime treat. Simply add 5-10ml to a warm bath.
+ This can also be used as a shower oil. Add a few drops to the floor of your shower (be sure to step gingerly into the shower or use a non-slip shower mat), turn the shower to warm so that steam starts to accumulate. Once things get a bit steamy, turn the shower down so it's a comfortable temperature and hop in.
CLIMB IN & QUIET YOUR MIND
For the first few moments of your bath (or shower), allow yourself some time to quiet your mind. Perhaps try repeating a mantra or affirmation (consider using the phrase “I am present” or “I love myself”), or simply focus on your breathing as you soak. Box Breathing, also known as Square Breathing, is a popular technique. Taking slow, deep breaths can heighten performance and concentration in stressful situations, as well as being a powerful stress reliever. Here's how:
Inhale for the count of four
Hold for the count of four
Exhale for the count of four
Hold for the count of four
Repeat until you are able to do a few rounds of the breathing routine without your mind wandering. If your mind does wander, acknowledge the thought, thank your mind for it, and remind it that you don't need it right now. Let it pass you by, imagine it's a train passing - this thought doesn't need to stop at the station this time.
Since you'll be soaking in the bath for at least 15 minutes, there's time to incorporate some often-skipped personal care steps. This is a wonderful way to treat yourself to something special. Take time in the tub to exfoliate rough spots, apply a facial mask, deep condition your hair or simply clean your body from head to toe. We love face masks from the Natural Spa Factory, or you can make your own using a few ingredients from your kitchen - here are some great recipes for DIY face masks:
+ If you are doing this as a shower ritual, you may like to pop your face mask on before you start your shower, gently rinsing away at the end. The steam will help open up the pores, allowing your face mask to better work its magic. When rinsing your face in the shower, either use a cloth or splash your skin as if washing from a sink.
APPLY NIGHT REPAIR OIL
If you are planning to climb into bed straight after your bathing ritual, take a moment to apply some Night Repair Oil to your face and neck, first. Skin repairs faster at night with the increased production of two key hormones: HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and Melatonin. Give your skin a natural boost with Natural Spa Factory's Dusk to Dawn Night Repair Oil. It features skin repairing neroli, regenerating rosewood & vitamin-packed sweet orange - leaving your skin glowing and hydrated the next day.
CLIMB INTO BED
No matter how much time you actually managed to take for yourself, soaking in warm water regularly for as little as 10 minutes can be an incredibly beneficial experience both physically and mentally - a little self-care goes a long way! If you are having your bathing ritual just before bedtime, a nice addition is some 'Sleepy Time Pillow Drop' from Natural Spa Factory - a couple of drops of lavender oil on the underside of your pillow can help induce sleep.
"Go for long walks, indulge in baths.
Question your assumptions.
Be kind to yourself.
Live for the moment, loosen up,
scream, curse the world,
count your blessings.
Just let go, just be."