Anodyns In Life

“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die, or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: “I’ll go take a hot bath.” ~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar … 

For me, there is nothing quite like a warm bath, shower, or hot tub–especially after a vigorous sport game. Not only to relieve any muscle aches and pains, but also to help to lower my stress, keep me centered, and to refresh and revitalize my soul. There have been numerous mornings where I felt it impossible to get out of bed and get going, yet after a hot shower, I was awake and ready to take on all of what the day requires of me. And even during some of the most stressful times of my life, a hot bath has provided that perfect relief from the turmoil that has invaded, surrounded, and filled the very sinews of my being.

Of course, society often encourages us to trust expensive remedies and cures–after all, we get what we pay for, right? Advertisers, marketers, psychiatrists, doctors, pharmaceuticals, and many other companies and individuals rake in large amounts of profit each year from this more than $35 billion dollar industry. The paradox is that it is so easy for us to search for complicated fixes, when a simple hot bath might be more than enough to help us gather our wits or begin down the path towards self-help. Of course, there are some things where a bath can only provide a small amount of relief–clinical depression or cancer for example. But if we do not allow ourselves the opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy the soothing effects of hot water on our skin, we may never know just what a hot bath can do for us.

I have heard mention before that hot bubble baths are a waste of time and that only lazy people and self-indulgent hedonists have time for that. However, having personally experienced the healing power of a hot bath or shower, this minimalized view is simply astonishing to me. I even had someone question me once, in all seriousness, if a man taking a bubble bath is inherently gay. I simply made mention back that if one is not comfortable or able to enjoy life–without suffering the stereotypes of our society–it would be at their own loss.

As I grew up, it became much more difficult to fit into a normal tub, or to submerge myself entirely. For this reason, I must resort to showers much more often as a better way of cleaning myself. But this fact has simply helped me to appreciate baths and hot tubs even more. Do yourself a favor, and give yourself the luxury–or fulfill the necessity–of a nice, hot, relaxing bath with no interruptions and perhaps some soft music playing. Baths are not just for women, and they are not just for special occasions. They are about taking care of yourself and giving yourself the chance to soothe your mind, body, and soul.

Take a relaxing hot bath; if you cannot fit in the tub, substitute it with a hot shower.

Questions to consider:

Why do so few people allow themselves the time to take a long, hot bath?

If taking a hot bath can help to relieve stress and calm the mind, then why are they not used more often by the people who can use them?

How can we make sure that things like baths are part of our regular schedules in our lives? How can we prioritize them?

For further thought:

“We start to realize that there are anodynes in life that help us through the day. I don’t care if it’s a walk in the park, a look out the window, a good bubble bath–whatever. Even a meal you like, or a friend you want to call. That helps us solve all this stuff in our head.” ~ Al Pacino


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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