Stress affects us in many different ways, and as we age the effects of stress become more apparent. Taking the time to limit any stress causing factors can greatly improve your sleep, your skin, your appetite and digestion as well as your attitude and feeling which does greatly affect your relationship with others and their opinion about you. Not only does your attitude affect you but it affects all of those around you, so make sure that you are promoting the most positive attitude that you can by doing something as simple as taking a little time for yourself.
After a stressful day I like to take a long bath in the over-sized garden tub that adds to the relaxing atmosphere in my bathroom. Often people are in too much of a hurry to relax and enjoy a bath. Either its a run through the shower, or a quick scrub in waist high water. Not in this case. I start by adding fresh gardenia and rose petals to the tub before I add any water. The visual of the flowers being picked up and swirled around in the water is very calming and conducive to letting go of the constraints of the day. Bubbles are a must-have for me at the end of a long day; I turn the water up as high as it will go and then I add some of my favorite skin softening bubble bath and let it fill up until its half-full.
To make this stress relieving technique work to the fullest of its ability, you must leave all of your ties to the world outside of your bathroom door; no phones, televisions or newspapers are allowed. If you have kids it can be difficult to make the time that you need for yourself. This is where your spouse, family or a close friend comes in handy if you just cannot wait until your little one is sleeping to let yourself relax.
Throughout the day your eyes have been exposed to a great deal of light, and too much light can give you a headache. I always prefer to use candle light; it is both relaxing as well as saves money on your electric bill. Sometimes I add a bit of extra light by turning on a bedroom light on or leaving the closet light on if I want to read a book during my soak. Rarely do I bring a book into the bath with me, the point is to relax, not strain my eyes; wearing my glasses in the bathtub is not very stress-relieving.
Nothing is more soothing to me than the sound of music. If it has been a particularly stressful day I enjoy listening to Opera or Classical music, particularly Sarah Brightman’s “Symphony” CD. Music can be a huge stress relieving tool; it is uplifting and often a spiritual experience. I do enjoy fast and heavy music but most of it is not good for relaxing, especially after a particularly stressful or tiring day.
Some find that a glass of champagne is a relaxing touch when soaking in a long bath, but I don’t care for drinking around water, so for me a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup is my elixir. As the ice cream melts, so does my stress as the bubbles cradle me in their soothing embrace.
Meditation is a good way to relieve stress, but even if you don’t practice it regularly you can still reap the benefits. A little positive visualization goes a long way. When you are finished with your bath and you let the water out, picture all of your worries being carried by the flower petals down to the drain where they are whisked away leaving you with only peace and harmony.