Remembering a Slower Time

A Seasonal Soak Goes a Long Way Toward Getting You There

By Shel Pink

If you find slowing down difficult to do, don’t worry. You’re not alone. It takes some practice to slow down in this modern world. More and more, it’s easy to forget that we’re not doing something wrong if we do stop. There’s always email to answer, errands to run, Netflix to watch. We are surrounded by communication, information, and entertainment at all times. It can feel like a barrage. Even if our body can slow down, getting our brain to follow suit is an entirely different matter.

Not How We Were Made

To avoid getting swept up in this fixation on busy-ness, it’s important to remind ourselves that this is not how we were made. It’s not how we were meant to live. Think about how the world worked at pretty much any point in history up until a little over 100 years ago.

Since there were no alarm clocks, you would wake up with the sun and perhaps some animals as your cue. Breakfast—and all of your nourishment, for that matter—would consist of whatever was seasonal and available.

“Work” likely blended in with life in general, and involved tasks around the home and your land. It’s likely that at least some of this work was outdoors, so that you could soak up sunshine and fresh air as you completed your tasks. You moved from one undertaking to another, one at a time. There was no multitasking or incessant stops and starts due to rings and vibrations and pings coming from the phone in your pocket. In fact, I’m willing to bet that work was actually quite meditative because it was uninterrupted.

Your workday typically ended with the setting sun. You would perhaps spend some time with your loved ones by the light of a fire and some candles. Your entertainment for the evening was one another. Before long, after a day of working and without artificial light, it was time for an uninterrupted night’s rest until morning light came around again.

A Slow Soak to Take You Back

We may not be able to live in that slower world anymore, but we can find our own moments to practice slowing down. Your massage therapist helps you slow down in the treatment room. At home, a perfect slow-down activity is a good soak.

Baths are profoundly healing for body, mind, and spirit. When you’re in need of that slow-down moment at home, try this soak routine:

  1. Begin by setting a relaxing mood for yourself. Dim the lights and add some candles for ambience. Play some relaxing music, a spoken meditation, or maybe even a recording of poetry. 
  2. Run the water to a temperature of your liking. As the water is running, evenly disperse an 8-pound bag of magnesium chloride flakes. These flakes are great for a host of issues, including reducing symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, and chronic pain; relieving mental and physical tension; as well as alleviating skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. I use the entire contents of an 8-pound bag per bath to maximize the benefits of the magnesium. I use magnesium chloride flakes all year long, as well as an essential oil specific to the season (see box). 
  3. After you’ve added the essential oil, swish your hand through the water to further disperse the oils. Soak for 20–30 minutes. During the winter and fall seasons, you can use a seasonal scrub on your body while lying in the bath; in the spring and summer months, you can use a dry exfoliating powder prior to immersing yourself in the water. 
  4. When you finish the bath, pat yourself dry with a towel and apply the appropriate seasonal oil to lock in moisture and spritz your face with a seasonal mist to receive a powerful combination of nourishing benefits to your body, mind, and spirit.

Slowing down is your birthright. Whether it’s that overdue massage or a good soak, it’s imperative you find moments to slow it down. Remember, you were never built to be on hyperdrive.

Essential Oils for the Slow Soak

No matter the season, essential oils added to a bath are a great way to enhance, and slow down, the experience.

Winter: 3–4 drops of lemongrass essential oil 

Spring: 3–4 drops of rose essential oil 

Summer: 3–4 drops of holy basil essential oil 

Fall: 3–4 drops of orange essential oil

Shel Pink is founder of the SpaRitual brand, and a leading educator in the professional beauty care sector. This excerpt comes from her book, Slow Beauty (Running Press), available from Amazon.