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Hil's Humps & Hurdles

For my birthday this past December, my best friend Megan gave me a wellness journal called This Is My Year, designed to take the difficulty out of documenting all the ways you’re doing good things for yourself. Like anyone close to me had discovered, 2018 was a year of burning the candle at whatever end I could possibly manage. I was frustrated. I was exhausted. I was eating poorly and not exercising, two things that would have mortified me at the beginning of the year. I had gained about twenty five pounds and felt like garbage a lot of the time. I was, in short, a mess.

This was Megan’s gentle way to nudge me in the right direction. She had been on the journey of self care and self renewal and wanted the same for me, her oldest friend. She had clearly put a great deal of thought into this gift, and I thanked her for it, for the thought and for what the book could symbolize in the near future.

“There’s no set start date, but start it in the New Year,” she said.  “It’s only a few days away anyway.”

I said I would, however secret my begrudging attitude was, because I hate it when people tell me what to do. But I knew she was right. I started that little notebook on January 1st, jotting down my exercise, diet, water, and sleep/rest for the day. Those have been easy. However, the biggest box on the page’s little pre-made table is self-care. What am I doing daily to take care of myself? This is left open to interpretation. One thing I’ve been getting back into, though, is taking a nice, long bath and jotting that down whenever I do it. It feels like a huge accomplishment when I do that.

I’m not a bath person. I’m a shower girl, in and out clean so I can get back to my daily life. But bathing really allows me to focus on getting clean, getting a few pages into the latest book I’m reading, or simply taking a break from whatever is troubling me. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, but for the sake of my journal’s pages (and myself, I suppose), I’ve given it a good college try. I’ve even learned a few things along the way to optimize my time in the tub.

Here are a few tips I’ve gathered from my trips to the bathtub this year that I’d like to pass along to you.

  1. Turn on any vent you have in your bathroom. You don’t want black mold forming because the steam got trapped.
  2. Be careful with any books you bring to the bathtub. I have lost one or two favorites because they’ve slipped out of my hands and into the water.
  3. Don’t take a bath if you’re sleepy. This might seem like a no brainer, but when you’re in that warm water, it seems like it would be no big deal to drift off. You have to look out for that!
  4. Getting out of the bathtub should be done slowly and with a wall or bar to support you. It doesn’t matter if you’re eighteen or eighty, slips happen!
  5. Make sure you have a bathmat to step onto and find something to wrap yourself in right away. It’s going to be cold once you get out!
  6. If you have a journal like I do, remember to record that you took a bath. It’s important to take the time to acknowledge that you deserve good things. You deserve to take time out of your day to treat yourself to a moment alone without the pressures of your world looming over you.

Whether I’m in the bath or out, I’m taking 2019 to listen to my body and mind, which I did not do in 2018, and to externalize that in the form of the written word. It seems to be working so far. I hope that this year, you find whatever brings you peace in your busy schedule, even if just for a few minutes. Might I recommend a soak?