Find out how to make your showers extra stress-free and splendid


This article is part of SELF rest week, an editorial package dedicated to doing less. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that taking care of yourself, physically and emotionally, is impossible without real downtime. With that in mind, we’ll be posting well into the New Year to help you get into the habit of taking breaks, relaxing, and slowing down. (And we follow our own advice: the SELF staff will be OOO during this time!) We hope to inspire you to relax and unwind, whatever that looks like for you.

You don’t often hear showers described as « luxurious ». Baths get all the glory when it comes to lavishly lathering up, while showers are generally utilitarian: you get in, get the job done, and get on with your life. A routine shower can be refreshing and soothing, sure, but it doesn’t necessarily feel self-care. If your days are busy, showering might seem like another thing on your to-do (or not-to-do) list. Many of us shower before work, at the gym, or during other busy times, so we’re often in a rush. (I don’t know about you, but I never feel completely relaxed if time is of the essence).

The only truly relaxing showers I take are after my Sunday morning runs. Not only is my body sweaty, exhausted, and craving a constant stream of pressurized hot water, but by then I’ve generally eliminated most of my weekend chores, so that I can enjoy my most coveted luxury of all: time. When I can take my time, my mind is suddenly less focused on what I need to do next, shaving my legs is less tedious, and I’m actually happy to be where I am.

The way I look forward to weekend showers got me thinking not only about ways to increase their luxury, but also how I could bring some of their revitalizing energy into my daily routine, even when I’m busy. Whether you’re jumping for a quickie or have all the time in the world, I hope this list of tips – from the experts and from my life – will help make your shower experience a little more luxurious, and a plot more relaxing.

1. Focus your attention on what is right in front of you.

Mindfulness has been show have a de-stressing effect on the mind and body, as SELF has previously reported, but you don’t need to do a formal meditation practice to reap some of these relaxing benefits. “Informal mindfulness practice can also be like simply listening to your senses during mundane tasks, like taking a shower,” Beverly Ibeh, PsyDa licensed clinical psychologist with Successful Psychology Group who specializes in mindfulness-based therapy, says SELF.

To shower more mindfully, take stock of your thoughts, says Dr. Ibeh. Maybe at first you’re rehearsing for a work presentation, worrying about your plans after the shower, or anxiously replaying something that happened in the past. By simply noticing your thoughts, you can distance yourself from them a bit, which can make it easier to pay attention to your surroundings, Dr. Ibeh says.

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