Tough day? Or has it been a long week? Perhaps an entirely rubbish month? Whether it’s work, family or friends stressing you out (or maybe a little of all three), sometimes the only thing you can do is put everything else on pause, and excuse yourself for a couple of hours. Some people like to go on long walks, others will take themselves off to a quiet pub for a drink. In my opinion, there’s no better respite from the world than sinking behind a mountain of bubbles in a bathtub filled to the brim. Those who have already been enlightened to the pleasure of grabbing a book, closing the bathroom door and stepping into a toasty private pool will already have a recipe for the perfect soak. For the uninitiated, here are the seven steps you need to create a haven and find your zen. 1. Prepare the room Take five minutes (just five, I promise!) to get the bathroom fit for purpose. I’m not saying that you need to bust out the marigolds and bleach, but you deserve better than an over-filled bin and yesterday’s laundry. Once the worst offenders are sufficiently dealt with, you can mask the rest by switching from the bright overhead light to accent lighting or candles. 2. Prepare yourself Actively relax with a short meditation before your soak. Take between five and ten minutes to sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and become mindful of your body and surroundings. Concentrate on taking deep breaths, and become aware of the different areas of your body. Find where you are carrying tension in your neck, back or shoulders, and gently shrug it away. Give yourself a gentle foot or hand massage, and if you start getting distracted, focus your mind by counting slowly and deliberately from 10 to 1. 3. Run your bath Some people are happiest in tepid baths, while others like to feel like they’re swimming in lava. Be comfortable by all means, but keep in mind that the recommended temperature for a relaxing bath is about 37°C (or 100°F) – so say the Bathroom Discount Centre. Any hotter and your nervous system will get twitchy, and you’ll struggle to unwind properly once you’re out of the water. 4. Indulge your senses Treat your taste buds by preparing a few little indulgences to enjoy during your soak, like freshly chopped fruit, a few pieces of chocolate or a glass of wine. Splash out on some sumptuous bath products, like a nourishing soap, Epsom salts and a deep conditioning mask for your hair. Find a music playlist to help you tune out the rest of the house, and light a soothing scented candle or aromatherapy oil to alleviate any anxiety. 5. Block out distractions The golden rule is to leave your phone in a different room. Your eyes need a break from screens, and it will help your mind to focus on the present. Let your household and anyone who might be trying to get in touch know that you won’t be available for a couple of hours, then turn your devices to flight mode. Grab a book if you like, or just enjoy the alone time. 6. Stay chilled A hot bath will make you sweat, and it’s common for drowsiness or headaches to kick in if you soak for too long. Make sure you have a tall glass of cold water nearby to help you hydrate, and have a cooled washcloth to hand for releasing heat in your forehead, hands and feet . 7. Plan your escape There’s nothing worse than enjoying a restorative soak and then realising you’ve left your towel at the far side of a cold tiled floor. Make sure to keep it within reaching distance, or at least draped over a radiator to make leaving your bath a pleasant experience. Once you’re dry, spoil yourself one last time with a luxurious moisturiser, and slip into a snuggly dressing gown before returning to the world. About the author: Mike James is an independent writer - specialising in business management and online security. When not working, Mike likes to escape the stresses and challenges of this role by keeping fit, eating healthily and relaxing with water based therapies. Or, as the Romans said: Salus per Aqua (aka 'SPA').