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What Is Bathing For?

By Ann Richardson March 31, 2024 Lifestyle

I am exceedingly clean. I take a shower every morning and a bath every night. I wash in all the right places. My mother would be proud of me. But all this bathing has nothing to do with getting clean.

There are so many other reasons to pursue these activities.

The Morning Shower

I used to wake up bright and shiny and ready for the day. Indeed, I would wake up so fully alert that I knew there was nothing for it but to get up and do something – usually work. Even at 5 a.m.

I would trot up to my study (I was self-employed), pull out whatever I was working on the day before and carry on – usually writing something. By the time my husband woke at the more normal hour of 7 a.m. or so, I could tell him I had done two billable hours.

I loved this time – it was so peaceful. In the summer months, it was already bright outside.

This early waking was particularly frequent during menopause, when hot flushes (hot flashes in the US) suffused my body in the early hours of the morning. That was a long time ago.

Alas, no more. I wake up feeling very sluggish and sometimes fall back asleep or fall into that hazy land that is neither awake nor asleep. It sounds nice, but I don’t really like it all that much.

And when I finally crawl out of bed at 8.30 or 9.00 am, I need something to wake me up. For most people, this is strong coffee.

For me, it is a hot shower.

There is nothing like the pounding of water all over your body to wake up your nerves and help you feel alert. I am no longer sluggish. My mind has switched into gear. I am ready for the day.

Getting clean is just a happy by-product.

The Evening Bath

So I go through my day, whether visiting friends, writing, cooking or any number of other things we old people do with our lives. All good.

I am never bored. There are more things to do with my time than time to do them. Sometimes, I am out visiting or doing errands. Or, on the weekends, welcoming one of my grandchildren.

Once a week, I do my yoga, which is important to me. I have been practising yoga for over 30 years and really love it, particularly headstands.

But at the end of the day, whatever the business of that day, I am very tired. I need to get some energy. Sometimes, my whole body aches with general weariness. In the summer, I need to cool off. In the winter, I need to get warm. All reasons for a bath.

So, I run my bath and have a soak. It is delicious feeling the hot water – and I like it very hot (damn the expense) – seep into my pores. It is relaxing and energising at the same time. I find myself far away.

I often lie there and think. And, strangely enough, a lot of my best ideas for articles come to me there. Being in water seems to stimulate my brain cells. Immediately after, I am often in search of some paper to write down the ideas before I forget them.

It is a very special time. Quiet time. Me time. My husband knows he shouldn’t disturb me unless it is an emergency.

And getting clean is just a happy by-product of the whole experience.

The Small Things in Life

I have written recently about how trivial things can be incredibly annoying. A number of readers agreed.

But trivial things can also be incredibly rewarding. You can have your cruise or your once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world.

Just give me a shower in the morning and a bath in the evening, and I am a happy woman!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you like a shower or a bath? Why? Do you see these as simply a means to get clean or is there more to it than that?

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23 Comments
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Angela Waddell

I ( Love ) my hot bath every night with my Epsom salts, I also use the Lavender oil after bath time. It is a peaceful time for as the calm really is greatly appreciated for my body ,mind and spirit. Thank you for all your reviews.

Linda Gorchels

I have not used a bathtub in a long, long time, but I’m considering getting an air and/or jet tub for muscle and arthritic health benefits. Has anyone used them for that purpose?

Last edited 16 days ago by Linda Gorchels
Anne

I take a hot epsom salt bath or bath bomb with a couple of candles after a grueling day, a tough work out for sore muscles or a cold day (which is rare in Houston). I have several different kinds. Sometimes it is just a soak without soap to avoid over drying. Otherwise, a morning shower.

SimpliSandi

I love reading your articles. They bring me much joy!

Ann Richardson

Thank you. If you will allow me to probe, do you mean the articles published on SixtyandMe or do you mean the articles by me, Ann Richardson? I have always been curious whether readers are conscious of the many individual writers on this platform. You can tell me the truth, it will not distress me if you say the former.

Hilary

To be honest, I am not conscious of the articles’ authors, when I know I should be! I will be better…

Ann Richardson

There are about 100-150 (perhaps more?) writers here and I imagine we are all different, but I don’t really know. Most readers are probably more interested in the topic than the writer and that is very reasonable.

Sharie

I, too, am a bath person. I shower twice a week when my hair needs washing and then soak in the tub 3 or 4 nights per week , always slathering on coconut oil after. I only skip a day if I haven’t been out of the house or haven’t done a sweaty workout. Cannot get into bed feeling sticky with sweat or, worse, feeling gross from riding public transportation or being in doctors’ offices or stores all day. Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of different bathing plans, from less frequent to timed showers to even using one of those solar shower pouches to limit the quantity of water. At one point, I ended up with a staph infection. So, back to nearly daily bathing for me; I make other environmental concessions but must support my personal health. For those interested or worried about their environmental impact, I’d recommend the WWF footprint calculator.

Hilary

Thx Sharie! I took the WWF footprint calculator quiz. Fascinating! Glad I did it.

The Author

Ann Richardson’s most popular book, The Granny Who Stands on Her Head, offers a series of reflections on growing older. Subscribe to her free Substack newsletter, where she writes fortnightly on any subject that captures her imagination. Ann lives in London, England with her husband of sixty years. Please visit her website for information on all her books: http://annrichardson.co.uk.

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