My husband, Matt, and I are contemplating our next move, and I’m spending entirely too much time on real estate websites. Sometimes I rush through my morning journaling so that I can see what new places popped overnight. I have a ritual. Look at the list price. Consider any additional costs. Does it include parking? Utilities? Flip through the photos to confirm that the bathroom has a bathtub. And if it doesn’t, I move onto the next listing. Yes, I’ve become the kind of person who views a bathtub as a dealbreaker.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when baths transitioned from pastime to lifeline. The transformation was born out of necessity. I have a bad habit of pushing off important work until Sundays after church…grocery shopping…and my afternoon nap. That system works. Until it doesn’t. And it all fell apart during the holidays. I fell apart during the holidays. Emotions were high, and my energy was low. I wanted a pause button, but life leapt into fast forward. Sunday evenings felt more and more pressure-filled.
Somewhere in the midst of that whirlwind of a season, I took a bath. And in taking that bath I took a step forward. Dedicating time and space for my own self-care gave me the tiniest boost . So I took another bath. And another. Before long, I had a standing date with myself on Sunday nights. Then I extended the date by not doing work after I left the tub. Eventually, I had a ritual.
My Sunday nights now look something like this.
Work until around 9 pm. The tasks vary. I might be wrapping up a client project or batch processing for my businesses. I always spend the last 30 minutes tying up loose ends so that my mind is clear of any niggling to dos. My goal is to not look at my computer again until Monday morning.
Run the bath water. I like mine to be as hot as I can stand it. According to Matt, it’s pretty unbearable. My temperature runs low, so I take whatever warmth I can get.
Give Matt a kiss, and tell him that I’m going to take my bath. It’s “me time” for both of us. He’s normally working on a project in the office or blowing off steam playing a video game while I’m chilling out in the tub. We each get the space we need.
Next, I pop a melatonin. My bed time isn’t as consistent as it should be on the weekends. This is my reset button.
Once I’m back in the bathroom, I switch the water to cold and add in bath salts. I light my candle. Sometimes Matt lights the candle for me. He is always thrilled to see me doing anything involving rest, and lighting the candle is his small show of support.
I post an Instagram story. It feels vaguely symbolic, but I have no idea what it represents. This is the last time I’ll look at my phone for the night. My water is now the perfect temperature. I step in.
There’s more than enough room for me in the bathtub. I bring my thoughts, my tired body, my ideas. I read a book or a magazine. Sometimes I rest my journal on the tub’s ledge and write.
The warmth of the water works its way into my bones, and the melatonin slowly winds down my mind until I reach a rare state of calm. I stay as long as I need to. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s an hour. I leave when my body tells me it’s ready.
After the bath, I massage a balm into my skin. It’s this wonderful mixture of shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera that removes any final tension that the epsom salt couldn’t resolve. The scent lulls me to sleep. Each stroke feels like a thank you. Thank you, body, for carrying me through another week. Thank you, spirit, for always reminding me what you need. Thank you, mind, for listening.
In this peaceful state, I am reminded that there is a perfect place out there for me and for Matt, a place with a bathtub, hardwood floors, and a decent kitchen. It will find us, and I’ll keep finding comfort in my Sunday evening ritual.