Taking a shower and meditating are tried-and-tested mood-lifters and relaxation techniques. So what happens when you combine both?
Quarantine fatigue and work-from-home stress these days have been taking a toll on my mental health. Normally, my outlet to destress after a tough day (which seems to be every day amid this crisis) would be to go to the gym but clearly that’s not an option. I’m probably one of the many who has seen headlines about how meditation eases mental fatigue (in fact, I wrote some of them in the past) but I wasn’t meditating religiously until I tried it in the shower.
Yes, the shower has always been my safe haven. It’s where I pretend I’m at a concert or sing along to the beats echoed on my speakers. But in the past days, I’ve allowed my speakers to play more shower meditation routines, which have helped me transition to a deeper sense of calm. And it’s proven to be true.
Mindfulness expert Shauna Shapiro said that the shower is one of the easiest places to meditate because this is where you feel your senses (smelling, hearing, touching) more, which helps you stay grounded in the present moment and make your practice more vivid.
The shower is also probably one of—if not the most—private places in every home, so there’s less opportunity for distraction. It’s a place where I don’t have to force myself to sit and worry my attention span can’t handle the practice. (No offense to those who like to meditate outside the shower, I just can’t do it). The shower is an ideal place to take a break from reality (especially now that my room is currently my office) and as licensed therapist Kaleigh Mancha observed, a time when you can imagine water droplets rinsing away anxiety and stress to help wind down.
“Wind down” are the words I would best associate with shower meditation practice. Sleep specialist Chris Winter believes that showering in warm water is also a natural aid in promoting better sleep since it eases mood and improves the body’s circadian rhythm (the cycle that controls metabolism and sleep). Ultimately, what makes shower meditation extra special is that I get to unwind in the most private place at home by doing simple breathing exercises. So with this, allow me to share my shower meditation practice:
Control my environment
I ask myself: What would make me feel calm and comfortable? Normally, I use scented candles or my diffuser (preferably lavender) and I turn away from distractions, including my phone. Make sure that the shower also operates at the most comfortable temperature, preferably a hot one.
Clear my head before entering the shower
The thing about meditating in the shower is that I’m away from a place that causes me stress (that is, my room that has become my office). So before I enter this safe space, I pretend I don’t have deadlines to chase or another day of work to conquer in a few hours.
Breathe, control, breathe
Make sure to take deep breaths that fill the lungs and let the chest rise and fall slowly. I do this 10 times straight. It also works to listen to meditation music while in the shower.
Dig in the environment and get loose
The shower is a place where people can cry, relax, sing, and be themselves without having to worry about anyone. Instead of treating this as just a normal part of my routine, I use my time in the shower to practice self-care and escape from the real world for a while. And trust me, it’s one of the most important and exciting mental health exercises I’ve discovered during quarantine.