I’ve been taking a lot of hot baths lately. Long ones. Often with a bowl full of grapes to eat (seriously) and always with a book. It’s my coping mechanism when anxiety hits. My son constantly chides me about the book part; he doesn’t approve of the curl of moistened pages, finds it disrespectful to the book. I understand, but persist. Steamed book pages are the least of my worries. More on my mind each time I fill the tub is the fact that living in Tucson AZ, over half of my water has to be piped in from long distances; the fragility of tap water in the desert. I curl up in the steaming water, skin turning red, fingers and toes wrinkling, and I feel bad for the trees outside that could use this water more than me. (I’m thinking about a method of pumping water out of the tub into a portable basin that can transport the bathwater to the thirsty plants outside. But that hasn’t happened yet.) When not fretting over wasted water I fret over all the other things I could be doing with the time. (I did mention these are long baths). Illustrations to be finished. Emails to be answered. Housework to do. (Blog posts to write.)
A shower would be more efficient.
But sometimes there is anxiety to be dealt with and hot water up to my chin is required. I appreciated Theodora Goss’ experience of emerging from Depression and Sandra Wickham’s practical advice to rest when you are sick and Andrew Romine’s admitting to not writing through stressful times. I’m finding comfort and solidarity in the repeated message to “take care of yourself!” (Incidentally, I also quite enjoyed Christopher Cokinos’ essay about the hypocrisy footprint of a nature writer owning a pool in Tucson AZ.) So, I’m taking baths. Later, when the anxiety bores of getting soaked and leaves me for drier climes, I’ll get back to taking showers and being all efficient (and maybe actually figure out that bathwater recycling device.)
Meanwhile, what’s your prefered coping mechanism for dealing with anxiety?