This has been the most stressful year I can remember in recent history. If you've ever needed any kind of catalyst to prompt you into regular self-care, this is it. 

While the well-heeled may be able to afford sending themselves off to a luxury spa on some private island, most of us can't. However, there's no reason you can't create a sanctuary right in your own bathroom.

Of all of the technological advances we’ve had over the centuries and decades, the thing I remain most grateful for is warm, clean, running water. For me, taking a hot bath can cure many an ailment—both physical and emotional. According to lifestyle and design expert Alexandra Stoddard, “the healing properties of water have been known almost forever—they were described in a report in Sanskrit, dating from 4,000 B.C.” I believe it. Even Winston Churchill is known to have loved taking long baths.

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Sometimes we’re in a hurry and we need to take a quick shower, sure. However, I’d love to see more people rediscover the joy that is taking a nice, long, soak in the tub.

Bathing is not just about “getting clean.” That’s perhaps the main reason baths are an indispensable part of my daily ritual. In fact, our entire morning routine can be a bit of a metaphor for “waking up” to the world and our lives within it. Have you ever noticed how during your mundane moments of shaving, washing your hair, brushing your teeth, and so on, that you’ll get some of the most interesting insights or ideas? I certainly have.

But in order to get the full experience, I advise taking a few more steps to create a fully luxurious, healing experience. Try to invest in making sure the products you’re using aren’t filled with harmful chemicals. Invest in some old school Epsom salts. Find scents that you sincerely find uplifting, relaxing, or rejuvenating. Aromatherapy is a real thing, so take a bit of time selecting the products you use.

If it’s been awhile, invest in some new towels. Mis-matched or clearly overused rags and towels will diminish the experience for you. Thankfully, these can be purchased for not much money and it can make a huge difference.

Don’t just rush through the bathing process. Take time on each step, almost like it’s a meditative process. If you like to read, take a book with you and give yourself time to soak.

It’s one of my favorite activities that I enjoy every single day and I think you may, too. And this year, it almost feels like a necessity.

Other tips for self-care? Continue below...