Welcome to HuffPost Canada’s (almost) daily guide to helping you pick up an easy, everyday ritual that can make your life a bit better, in a small but significant way.
Canadians are stressed out, anxious, and are feeling disconnected from each other. Every Monday through Friday, we’ll share a tiny tip to help you feel good. We’ve got your back.
Today’s Habit: Take a bath.
For whenever you’re feeling: Stressed out, physically exhausted, mentally tapped out.
What it is: Well, it’s pretty simple: Run a hot bath. If you feel like you need something extra, fill the tub with bubbles, bath bombs, Epsom salts, or essential oils. Even better, spray a calming scent in your bathroom for some extra zen.
How it can help: We get that it can be hard to carve out the time to take a bath, especially when there are so many things fighting for our attention during the day.
Most of us take showers, usually because it’s the quickest way to clean ourselves and get out the door. We’re not saying to never take a shower again, but taking an extra 10-15 minutes soaking in a tub a couple times a week can do wonders for how you feel.
Some even swear to a bath’s healing properties, the practice of which is called balneotherapy, or the treatment of disease through bathing. However, there are not enough studies to back claims that baths can cure diseases and ailments.
“Although very few of the claims for healing baths are backed by rigorous scientific studies, the anecdotal evidence for their efficacy is abundant,” said Minneapolis-based dermatologist Bailey Lee via WebMD.
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But, there have been studies on the therapeutic effects of the Dead Sea in Israel, “where a combination of high water salinity and UVA radiation from the sun has proven effective in treating skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo,” notes the website.
But let’s just assume you’re not suffering from a major ailment and move on to the simple benefits of hot baths.
1. Taking a bath can lift your mood and help you relax. According to psychologist Neil Morris, who surveyed 80 people who took a bath every day for two weeks, bathing can diminish feelings of depression and pessimism because “Baths give you the chance to stop the day for a few minutes, in a way that showers can’t. There is a wonderful combination of isolation, quiet and comfort.”
Submerging oneself in hot water “gives us connotations of being in the womb, and it is very comforting,” Dr. John Harcup, chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee for the British Spa Foundation, noted via The Telegraph.
2. Taking a bath can help ease muscle pain. If you’re experiencing muscle tightness or soreness, a warm bath with Epsom salts sprinkled in can help those muscles relax. Epsom salts are a great addition because they help reduce inflammation in the joints and help muscles relax.
Where you can do it: In your bathtub. If you don’t have a tub, find a local community centre that has a pool and see if they have warm water pools or jacuzzis you can relax in.
How it makes us feel: Super relaxed, warm, happy.
And that’s your tip of the day.
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