I think that a nice hot shower is one thing I will never, ever take for granted. This morning, as the hot water covered me, I thought about the month and a half, when I washed and rinsed my hair, along with my one white summer linen sleeveless dress, my underclothes, and one of two pairs of socks every night, with only two bottles water, potable or not. I had a system. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast on August 29th, 2005, I had no earthly idea of what was going to happen in any of the next few moments of my life for the next month and a half. For quite a few of them, I thought that the last of them were about to be just that. This led me to being “in the moment,’’ a lot! That is a strange but welcome gift from Katrina.

Another was my gratitude list. When surrounded by loss and trauma on every level, I first did a status check over and over again. It is a survival technique for me. What grew out of it was a gratitude list. This became something I actively worked on. It became part of my standard operating system, and hot showers were in the top five at all times. It still is.

Sometimes during the day, while I was working during that month and a half after Katrina, if I needed to rinse off the extreme funk from life or death, I would just walk into the front bay of Gulfport, Mississippi. I learned to keep soap and a small towel in my backpack among other things. This taught me that just because it wasn’t early in the morning or late at night before bed, I could hop on in and refresh myself.

I noticed that since this experience my showers last a little bit longer, and I relish my one big perfect cup of Joe in the morning,  a little bit more than I ever did. When everything changes in your life, what are the things that don’t change for you? For me, my coffee every morning, my prayer/gratitude time, and bathing are what NEVER changes in my life. Somehow, I managed to make coffee every single morning. The peace that came from this repetition became something I could not do without, even still.

People treat bathing as a side effect of being dirty. It can also be a first response to relieving pain, calming nerves, or even clearing the mind or helping you to fall asleep. Sometimes taking a shower helps to give me clarity when I am upset or confused.

Hey–just try it. The next time you are tired and cranky, hop in the shower. If your back hurts–jump in. If you feel your head hiding in your shoulders, let the warm water loosen your neck muscles. What I am saying is…it’s good for more than just good hygiene.

Did you know that a shower or bath can open and stimulate your lymphatic system and help relieve pain? When your lymphatic system is stimulated, it bumps your immune system up.

Let the water hit your chest first.  This helps open and relax your chest area so that the lymph can move. You might notice a big or little sigh or yawn. This is a sign the body and tissues are relaxing and letting go. It’s a natural process to need to breathe in deep when your muscles start to relax.

Next, rest your palm on the wall and let the water hit your underarms.

After that, allow the water to hit your hips. Some people sit on a shower chair; perhaps you could let the water hit the inner portion of the hip and thigh. I would not forget to let the water land on your lower back and tail bone.  I love this.

Finally, put your face, neck, and collar bones into the water and rest your hands flat on your chest. I usually feel a slow letting go of tension…this is gold. Take all the time you need.

I know there are “bath people” and there are “shower people.” I’m a water person, so both are fine.

There are times when I need a salt bath, and my deep and wonderful bathtub foots that bill. Sometimes, I make it an event. When I want to really relax I’ll put 3 -12 drops of Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang-Ylang, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Sweet Marjoram or Vetiver in my bath. You may combine them, as well. Sometimes I’ll grab some Lavender, Patchouli or Chamomile right from my garden. These days, many people have fancy electric diffusers and use those. I have been known to just put some drops on a tissue and stick one part of in the air-vent. When I need to wake myself up and energize myself, I’ll use Peppermint, Eucalyptus, or Rosemary.

If I need an attitude adjustment, I might use Orange, Spearmint, Bergamot, Lime, Grapefruit or Clary Sage. If I don’t have oils with me, there is nothing wrong with cutting up a grapefruit, lemon, lime or an orange even!

Here is a great blend. Get some Clary Sage oil and vegetable oil or castor oil (cold pressed), and where ever you are having spasms or pain, apply it directly. This blend will stop spasms in their tracks! Then, hop in the warm shower.

During these deeply disturbing and conflicting times, I tend to take longer showers and more salt baths. Realizing that God is bigger than all this upset and trauma/drama also helps. I mention the “Power of a Shower” to you all because I see that sometimes we might need to tweak our S.O.S. (Standard Operating System). I also turn off the news. Brace yourselves–I even turn off my phone. When I am really doing well, I don’t just turn the sound down at night; I turn it all the way off.

I will leave you with this. If your life has more stress in it, then take a look at your S.O.S (Standard Operating System) and upgrade it a bit. You can design your own support system. You might need to if there is a lot going on in your world, and you are a little more stressed than usual.

NOTICE: Be aware that there are essential oils that cannot be used around dogs and especially cats. Call your vet and do some research. I share this because of my own menagerie, and I have to be careful.