Rituals. Routines. Schedules.
For a long time I thought I could live without them. After more than a year out of teaching, it turns out that I thrive on routine.
And even though my routine has changed over time, there is one part of my week that has stuck around: SUNDAY. NIGHT. BATHS.
There’s a bit of a story here. So, please, indulge me as I tell it.
When my then boyfriend (now husband) and I moved in together, the house we were looking to rent had a jacuzzi tub. Being someone who lived in an apartment for seven years with the world’s smallest tub, the idea that I’d be able to bathe with all my parts covered by water sounded like luxury.
At the time we rented the house, I was still teaching. This was pre-pandemic. October 2019. My anxiety was bad. I hated my job. I needed a break. But there was no way to stop the train from moving forward. So, most nights, I’d fill up the tub and lay in the warm water and thought about the kind of life I wanted. There were also tears. Lots and lots of tears. And lots of watching old episodes of The Barefoot Contessa on my phone while envying the seemingly simple life of Ina Garten.
Then, in March 2020, the world shut down. I finally had a break at the expense of public safety. But at the same time, I finally learned what life could be like without the stress of being in a classroom everyday. I was hooked, and I had to find a way to make my work from home situation permanent.
I applied for writing jobs with tutoring centers because I wanted to be a writer and I knew my niche would be education, having been in the classroom for thirteen years. But we went back into the classroom in April of 2021. I had a new job at that point, but wanted to finish out the year before resigning. The energy it took to show up to teaching, the energy it took to be Ms. Neilsen, wrecked me.
I’d come home from school on Friday afternoon, put my pajamas on, and fall into bed until Sunday at 2 PM, when I’d say to myself, “You have to get up.”
I’d light the candles around my tub, fill her up with warm water and Dr. Teal’s Rose scented Epsom salt and lavender bubble bath, and soak while listening to Paul McCartney sing “It’s Just Another Day”.
“So sad/so sad/sometimes she feels so sad”
I’d sit in the tub with my Sunday scaries, surrounded by suds, and I’d sob. But at the end of it, I always felt better. Lighter. Ready for whatever came next.
When I finally left the classroom, I was hit by another wave of anxiety and depression that I hadn’t been anticipating. And during that time, I held onto my Sunday night baths. Light my candles. Fill the tub with warm water and bath salts and bubbles. Listen to Paul McCartney and classical music. Read What to Do When You’re Feeling Blue. In the winter, I’d time my baths for 4 PM, right as the sun was about to set. And I’d soak until the day went dark.
No matter the kind of week I’ve been having, my Sunday night soaks are one of my favorite parts. They are somehow healing, probably because they are something I do just for me. A small moment before dinner gets cooked and the week begins to just sit, surrounded by music and candlelight and the scent of lemon and lavender.
For a long time, I didn’t have rituals that were mine. I didn’t really have outlets for stress and anxiety. Mind you, I definitely thought I did. My panic disorder, however, would beg to differ.
But these baths are mine. A small, simple gesture of kindness to myself.
Because we all deserve kindness.
That’s it for now. Wishing you a week of peace and happiness filled with rituals and routines that feed your soul.