I Used to Be Anti-Baths — Here Are 4 Key Reasons I’m Now a Convert
When I began my apartment search this winter, I found myself disappointed by the prevalence of one single feature: a walk-in shower. A year ago, I didn’t mind washing up in my New York City box-sized walk-in shower, a feature that remains popular among younger generations, who often prefer the convenience of walking straight into their shower and avoiding the fuss of stepping into a bulky tub. However, after living in my parents’ home for almost a year, I’ve come to learn that I cannot live without a bathtub.
Don’t get me wrong: Showers are plenty convenient, and provide a number of benefits on their own. It took me a while to come around to liking baths, too — it wasn’t until I stumbled upon a bath soak I loved at Target and began a twice-weekly bath ritual that I became a convert.
Fast forward six months, and now bathing is a non-negotiable for me. Here are four key reasons why:
A bathtub can be a place of solace.
When I began to shelter in place, I became less compelled to take showers. Cleansing my body no longer presented itself as a task, and beyond being mindful of my water consumption, I had no reason to rush the process. (After all, where could I go? Who would I see?) I still shower after I soak in the tub, because this allows me to finish exfoliating my skin and cleanse every inch of my body without concern. But I now regularly make time to soak for 30 minutes, too — and that makes all the difference.
In the early days of my bathing habit, I also yearned for a form of relaxation and spiritual healing as my family and I waited out a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. A nightly bath wouldn’t fix the problems of the world, but I found a small and affordable way to relax the first night I sprinkled the Raw Sugar bath salt into a full tub and stepped into the warm water. After I laid back and propped a tiny pillow behind my head, my whole body eased.
You can enjoy a bevy of activities while bathing.
Drawing a bath twice a week has allowed me to experiment in all the ways one can enjoy a bath. Sometimes I’ll listen to an audiobook or prop up my computer on a rolling cart beside the tub to watch one of my favorite shows. I’ll light candles and drink wine. I’ve poured bubble baths, tossed in bath bombs, and scattered new soaks. During a period in which not much is going on, I found a beneficial activity that permits me to unwind and enjoy whatever else I’m doing simultaneously. I discovered some breathing room where I felt like I had none.
Baths provide both mental and physical health benefits.
Unsurprisingly, partaking in a hot bath every so often can provide a host of mental health benefits. A 2017 study found that hypothermic (aka ice) baths can alleviate stress and improve people’s sleep, especially for those who struggle with depression. Don’t want to sit in cold water for too long? Studies on balneotherapy, a traditional mineral bathing method, also indicate baths can alleviate mental fatigue, leading to a sharper mind.
Soaking in a tub doesn’t only improve your mental health, it positively impacts your body, too. Taking a bath for under an hour may help regulate and stabilize your blood pressure, which can boost your overall heart health. Warm baths may also help you breathe easier as immersing your body (past your chest) in water can help with your oxygen intake. According to Healthline, a 2018 study even found that hot water immersion “may help reduce inflammation and control blood sugar levels in much the same way exercise does.”
A bathtub/shower combo offers plenty of versatility.
The pandemic has forced many to reconsider their lives, values, and must-haves, including myself. I can’t imagine squeezing myself into a square, alcove shower again, or living without my weekly bubble baths.
A bathtub/shower combo offers the best two-in-one deal. You can set any mood you want. Do you need to clean up and get to where you’re going? Take a quick shower! Did you have a long day, and now you just want to chill, light some candles, and read a good book? Take a bath (and then a quick shower to rinse yourself off afterward)! With the convenience of a bathtub, I can choose to clean myself however I want, whenever I want, without compromise. In my eyes, that’s a lavish necessity.