You’d think people spent more time taking pictures of their bath bombs than they spent in their baths. The pretty coloured water inundated Instagram just a few years ago, and walking past a Lush store still produces a Pavlovian horror in me. Who could be so basic as to think a bath was anything special, a joy so rare that it must be shared with everyone on social media?
The truth is, baths are special. If you, too, survived student accommodation, you may also have longed for a release from noisy flatmates, unwashed dishes, and all that stress from exams that didn’t matter that much. If you were anything like me, you dreamed of the bath nestled away in your friend’s twelve person Murano flat, and longed for just half an hour soaking in a comatose state, steam in your sinuses and heat embracing the muscles that ached from hunching over books (the fact that the bath was the only redeeming quality of a twelve person flat was overlooked, of course).
I never took baths before uni, but after moving out of student accommodation, I’ve settled into a comfortable habit of a bath a week. The time I get to spend with a glass of wine, a scented candle and my meticulously curated bath playlist is easily the best way I can think of to finish the week. There’s something about taking time for yourself that’s intoxicating; everybody needs a space where they don’t have to think about deadlines or responsibilities, and where ordering a pizza can feel too extravagant and watching a film can feel too time-consuming, a bath is the perfect middle ground between needing to wash and a bit of much-needed self care. Showers are a necessity – baths are a treat.
Besides, despite all the downfalls, a bath is simply the easiest way to give yourself some time off. But if you’re worried about all the wasted time, there are always podcasts and lecture recordings to make you feel productive while you relax your muscles. There’s no need to be absolutely on top of your game at all times, but there are ways you can simultaneously chill and work. If you find it hard to escape burnout culture and the compulsion to always be working, a bath might just be your route into learning to give yourself some much needed time off.
Obviously, there is more to it than just #treatyoself. Water preservation is a concern, with the average bath using 80 litres of water compared to a shower’s 62, and if your water is metered rather than a set price, a bath is a luxury some may not be able to afford. That’s not to mention your flatmates getting annoyed at you hogging the bathroom for a full half hour. There are any number of reasons why you might shower day-to-day, but isn’t that what makes a bath all the more special? We all cheat on our environmental and financial concerns every so often, whether that be getting an Uber instead of walking to reduce petrol fumes, or buying name brand groceries instead more economical options, and we don’t beat ourselves up too badly – and why should we? A bath every once in a while is a drop in the ocean compared to the waste caused by water companies themselves, so why do we insist on chalking the blame up to the general user rather than the biggest offenders in the environmentalist game?
So maybe people posting pictures of their Lush bath bombs isn’t so bad after all. It’s all a bit of fun, and there’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself every now and then. Stick your favourite relaxing soundtrack on, precision engineer your perfect water temperature, and just lay back. You deserve it!