I'll be honest with you - I've been struggling a lot with overwhelm, and my mental health has taken another dive. The energy in the collective has been so intense these days, I've been having a hard time holding myself together. And so I've had to prioritize my Self care in ways like I never have before. Enter bath time.
If you've been following along on my Instagram stories, you may have noticed I've been spending a lot more time in the bath. And to be real, it's been a game changer for managing my mental health during the madness that is 20201 (see what I did there? lol). I've been setting aside almost every day to draw myself a hot bath, and allow myself to connect with my body, ground my emotions, and settle the mind.
Okay, I know what you might be thinking... sitting in the bathtub can be mega-boring. I get it - I have the attention span of a goldfish sometimes. But trust me when I say that I've found ways to turn my baths into the most magical, and even transformative, self-care ritual in my day.
In this post, I'm going to share with you some of my favourite ways to connect with yourself during your bathing rituals, as well as three DIY recipes with made with simple, all natural ingredients. Don't have a bath? No worries! I'll be providing alternatives where you can use all of these self-care techniques.
Set an Intention
Before drawing your bath, choose an intention for what you're looking to have this bath do for you. Do you want to relax and unwind? Find inspiration? Feel nourished? Connect with your body? Connect with your Soul? Soothe aching muscles? Feel like god/dess? When you set an intention for your healing ritual bath, you can use tools that are better aligned with how you want to feel.
Make it Special
Your bath time is especially for you, so make it what you want it to be! Light a candle or two to set the mood (I personally love natural beeswax candles - these ones are sustainably sourced in Ontario). Light up some incense if that's your thing. Grab a bo
ok, or your journal. Put on some music, or a podcast aligned with your intention. Make yourself a yummy beverage of choice, and grab a glass of water (you'll usually find me triple fisting with a bulletproof coffee, a smoothie, and a glass of Berkey filtered water). Heck, even grab a lil snack if you want! Fresh fruit and dark chocolate anyone? Um hi, can you say luxurious? Essentially, bring anything you feel you need to realize the intention you set for your bath. I even bring crystals to adorn the sides of my bath tub (trust me, if you have some crystals around the home, give it a shot. It'll take your bathing experience to the next level).
If you're going to make ritual bathing a regular part of your routine, one thing you can do to make your life easier is make a bathing box! For example, I've repurposed a small plastic storage box to carry and store all of my usual bath time gear (oh my gosh, I just realized I am describing a bath caddy LOL... but allow me to carry on). Some items I keep in my bath box are:
Dried lavender petals
Fractionated coconut oil
Clear quartz, amethyst, and citrine
A few essential oils (I change them up depending on my mood that week)
A face mask (in case I don't whip one up before hand)
A non-toxic candle
Sometimes I use all of these items, sometimes I use one or two of them. But regardless, it eases the burden of creating this time for myself when *almost* everything I need is in one place, and ready to be put to work!
Self-Massage & Lymphatic Drainage
Okay now, we've set the scene for this gorgeous bath you've just prepared for yourself. Now it's time to get into the good stuff. One of my favourite free healing tools in the bath is a gentle self-massage. And for a few good reasons! First of all, the simple act of self-massage encourages me to connect with a body in a non-judgmental way. I allow my hands to roam freely, honouring each surface, fold, and curve. I give myself permission to feel into my femininity. I hold myself in the moment, and honour the space I take up. This practice has allowed me to observe and appreciate my body for all it does for me.
Another amazing reason to participate in gentle self-massage is to encourage lymphatic drainage. Are you ready for a mini lesson in human biology? Our lymphatic system is a network of vessels that carry debris, white blood cells, as well as cellular / metabolic waste. The lymphatic vessels are highly interconnected with our blood vessels. However, while the circulatory system has a heart to pump blood through our bodies, our lymphatic system does not. Lymph (the collection of fluids carried in our lymphatic vessels) is moved through our bodies through movement. To reel it back in... when we partake in a gentle self-massage, we are physically move the lymph through the vessels for it to be filtered.
Some helpful tips for improving lymphatic drainage via self-massage include:
Be gentle - your lymph is just below the skin, and doesn't need much pressure to be moved
Always massage toward your lymph nodes - these small organs are what filter lymph, and are found in high movement areas in the body, namely in your neck, groin, armpits.
If you have breasts, gently massage towards your armpits. This is especially helpful if you experience breast tenderness and/or swelling near your period.
Don't forget about your face! Gentle face massages can help to encourage draining sinuses, and relieve tension in the jaw and forehead.
If you don't have a bath, have no fear! There are several ways you can incorporate self-massage into your self-care regimen. The easiest way to take advantage of a gentle lymphatic massage is right after you've turned off the water in the shower. Simply massage toward your lymph nodes (as described before), using the water from the shower to allow your hands to glide gently across your body. Another option is to use this technique when applying your favourite moisturizer to your face and body! I've been lathering myself in my handcrafted Root to Rise Face + Body Whip these days.
Before we jump into the recipes, I want to give a wellness hack for those who may not have a bathtub. And that is the ever-so lovely foot bath! First of all, a huge shoutout to my best friend, and soul sister Danielle for introducing these into my life. It's like all the goodness of a bath, without the hassle of needing a tub! A dream? Nope. It's real, and I'm going to teach you how!
To make a foot bath, all you really need is a large bucket / container (big enough to put your feet into), some hot water, a comfortable place to sit, and a towel. Here's how we do it. The first step is to add some hot water to the bucket / container of your choosing. You can heat the water on the stove, or fill it in the sink. But make sure it's hot enough for your liking! Next, get a towel and place it where the bucket is going to be, ideally in front of a couch, chair, bed, etc. Put the bucket on the towel, sit down, and put your feet in the bucket (be sure not to burn yourself!). And that's it, that's all. If you'd like, you can spice up your foot bath by using any of the following recipes, by adding a tea bag or two, some crystals - whatever! This is your time, so make it yours and make it special.
DIY Better Bath Salt Scrub Recipe
Alright, now it's time for the good stuff. The first recipe I'm sharing with you is for Better Bath Salt Scrub. And here's the best part - all you'll need are 3 ingredients (4 if you're feeling fancy).
Here's what you'll need:
1 cup magnesium Epsom salts (I got mine from Shopper's)
1/4 cup Fractionated Coconut Oil (I got mine here)
10-15 drops doTERRA essential oils (you can learn more about oils here)
Dried herbs or flower petals (optional)
Some essential oil combinations you can try are:
4 drops Lavender, 4 drop Frankincense, 4 drops Wild Orange
4 drops Frankincense, 4 drops Citrus Bliss, 2 drops Ylang Ylang, 1 drop Roman Chamomile
4 drops Peppermint, 4 drops, Lavender, 4 drops Eucalyptus
3 drops Ginger, 3 drops Citrus Bliss, 3 drops Frankincense
What to do: In a small jar or bowl, add the Epsom salts and essential oils. Gently stir with your finger and allow the oils to distribute throughout the Epsom salts. Next, add the fractionated oil, and mix well with your fingers until the mixture is well-incorporated. Top with your choice of dried herbs or flowers, and voila! You're ready to enjoy.
How to use: In the bath or shower, use your fingers to scoop a generous amount of the salt scrub into your hands. Gently massage into the skin, and inhale the aromas. Continue this at your own pace, until the rest of the mixture has been used. Gently rinse away the mixture with the bath water, or wipe away with a damp face cloth. You could also use this recipe in a foot bath, and give your feet and legs some much deserved TLC.
DIY Shea Butter Hair Mask
Next we've got the most simple hair mask you've ever heard of. And all you'll need is some shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils of your choosing!
What you'll need:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp shea butter
3-5 drops doTERRA essential oils.
Some of my favourite essential oil combinations for haircare to try are:
2 drops Cedarwood, 1 drop Sandalwood, 1 drop Lavender
3 drops Rosemary, 1 drop Peppermint, 1 drop Lavender
1 drop Patchouli, 2 drop Lavender, 2 drops Tea Tree
What to do: Open your chosen essential oil bottles. Next, scoop the coconut oil and shea butter into the palm of one hand. Add a few drops of essential oils to that same palm, and begin to melt the mixture by rubbing your hands together (this process can be a little messy, so you might want to do this over a sink). Once the mixture has began to melt, start applying to your hair.
How to apply: I typically start near the roots, and work my way toward the roots. If you end up needing more to saturate your whole head, simply take equal parts coconut oil and shea butter and repeat the steps as above (no need to add more essential oils though - a little goes a long way). Once your hair is saturated, tie your hair up in a bun or braid. You can leave this mixture in your hair for as long as you'd like. My sweet spot is 30-60 minutes! When you're ready, give your hair a wash (sometimes I'll shampoo twice), and condition. Style however you'd like!
DIY Magnesium Mud Mask Recipe
Okay now THIS is the recipe I've been waiting my whole life for (I mean, I didn't know I needed it, but trust me... once you put this on your body you will understaaaand). Not only is it super simple to make, but it left my skin feeling so fresh and clean! Even after washing and moisturizing this morning, I'm still glowing!
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp witch hazel (I got mine from Shopper's)
1 capsule of magnesium bisglycinate (I used Pure Encapsulations*)
2 tbsp bentonite clay (you can find this at most health food stores, but you can also find it here)
5-10 drops doTERRA essential oils
Some essential oil combinations you can try are:
3 drops Lavender, 3 drops Frankincense, 1 drop Helichrysm, 2 drop Sandalwood
4 drops Frankincense, 3 drops Ylang Ylang, 1 drop Roman Chamomile
3 drops Turmeric, 2 drops Wild Orange, 1 drop Sandalwood
3 drops Patchouli, 3 drops Lavender, 2 drop Cedarwood, 2 drops Tea Tree
*Want to save 10-25% on some of my favourite essential oils, or high quality supplements? Book a discovery call to find out how I can cook you up!
What to do: Add apple cider vinegar and witch hazel into a small mason jar. Next, open the magnesium capsule, and empty the powder into the mixture. Discard the capsule. Stir with your fingers (or a clean fork) until the magnesium begins to dissolve. Next, add the essential oils and bentonite clay. Mix with your fingers until the mixture forms a paste with a thick, creamy, clay-like consistency. And that's it! Time to bask in all your mud mask-y glory. You'll have enough mixture for 3-4 face masks, or one epic face / upper body mask.
How to use: Using your fingers, apply liberally a to your face and body, avoiding the eyes. Let the mask sit for 10-20 minutes. When you're ready, use a damp face cloth to gently massage away the mask. This mask can be applied in the bath, before a shower, or anytime you have a few moments to just be.
So there you have it, folks!
Thank you so much for reading this blog post. If you've made it this far, I hope you're feeling inspired to take action and do something that will fill your cup today. Remember, the world is a better place with you in it. You're worth taking care of. Much love, Ally Z. CNP