Counter-Attacking Insomnia Consumption: [Lush Cosmetics Bath Cocktail]

This Lush cocktail with its zesty and mildly earthy aroma is comprised of: a generous splodge of B-Electro shower gel; a large chunk of Pink FUN and ½ a Green Bubbleroon. It was late afternoon after another bout of insomnia that I was inspired to create this cocktail. Tiredness was finally starting to creep in and an afternoon sleep would have continued the insomnia cycle. Exhausted and unmotivated to do anything, I knew I had to enact some opposite to emotion action in a bid to improve my sleep-deprived state, without giving in to sleep.

Thus, I sought out one of the few things that can brighten my mood and get me moving – sifting through my Lush Cosmetics collection. As my eyes were feeling irritated and my muscles ached from lack of sleep, the answer seemed relatively simple; create a rejuvenating Lush bath cocktail.

NB: As with all my Lush and therapy posts, at the end of this piece I amalgamate the Lush cocktail discussions with mindfulness skills I practiced. Additionally, these posts are designed to allow for skim-reading for anyone wishing to try out the cocktail minus mindfulness – or my babble.

The products:

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I was not in the mood for Lush’s more obvious uplifting scents such as, Dragon’s Egg bath bomb or Brightside bubble bar, despite my need for a refreshing pick-me-up. I was, however, in the mood for a sugary Lush bath fix from a product such as, Creamy Candy bubble bar. Rummaging through and sniffing all the potentially uplifting products I could think of, my senses were drawn to B-Electro and Green Bubbleroon. Both these products share mild earthy notes as well as sensory awakening citrus elements; which are the most noticeable components of these two products. The beauty of these products is that neither offer a solid, citrus only scent. Nor do the citrus elements provided by B-Electro and Green Bubbleroon match each other.

The citrus aroma of B-Electro derives from the use of grapefruit oil, whilst Green Bubbleroon’s citrus offerings come from lime oil – its most notable ingredient. Although lime is the forefront scent of Green Bubbleroon, the lime oil within it is tamed by inclusion of ingredients such as, Bergamot Oil with its sweet and lightly floral notes. Thus, giving Green Bubbleroon its soft earthy aroma. Similarly, the infusion of grapefruit oil with jasmine absolute’s floral and heady notes give B-Electro its uplifting yet earthy citrus scent.

As I also sought my sweet fix, Pink FUN was thrown in as an element of compromise. Consequently, the components became a 2:1 uplifting to sweet ratio. As to have too small an uplifting element would be counterproductive to the goal of easing my aching muscles and being able to stay awake until a more suitable hour.

Mindfulness: Personal Overview

Mindfulness can be used as a means of distraction during times of anxiety, intrusive thoughts, high emotional distress and for relaxation. As such, all mindfulness exercises discussed throughout this post and blog can be practiced exclusively for relaxation purposes; to enjoy some much needed ‘me time’ away from day-to-day routines and commitments.

In this post, I have included a summary of the skills used and how they were practiced during difficult times. I have done so in the hope that they will be of use to others, by providing a mindfulness ‘recipe’ combined with personal experience(s). As discussed in my previous posts, Lush Cosmetics has been a firm part of my therapy and an important means for me to practice mindfulness. Hence, Lush products are the main ingredient of the mindfulness cocktails. Finally, I find the sensory skills practiced during difficult times far more effective than exercises such as a ‘body scan’.[1] Therefore, the sensory style exercises are featured within each recipe, opposed to body scan category of exercises.

To learn more about mindfulness and its core concept please see this sticky.

Mindfulness Recipe:

Whilst I was not in dire need of emotional recovery per se, I practiced the following mindfulness skills for the purposes of relaxation and self-awareness so as to reconnect my cognitive senses with my physical being. The skills discussed below can be used both in times of distress and within an everyday ‘me time’ context. On this occasion I predominantly used them for the latter.

Lying the water, I conducted a breathing focussed version of body scan, as I have never been able to bear putting into practice the exercises body scan involves. For a multitude of reasons, it is too personal and physical for me, one example is due to my ED as my body disgusts me. But I digress. Practicing the breathing mindfully exercise and my experience of the mindful Lush cocktail are discussed within the final two sections of this piece.

How to practice the breathing exercise:

In your Lush bath, close your eyes and inhale/exhale deeply two to three times. The purpose of this step is to centre yourself and become more physically comfortable. Once you are in a comfortable position, turn your focus to your torso and notice the physical sensations deriving from each breath. Such noticing could be the way your abdomen rises and falls. Just notice the movements and sensations without attaching labels or commentary to what is occurring in that very moment. Repeat this for as long as is comfortable to do so. This is known as breathing one-mindfully.

Continuing your mindful breathing, move from the torso to notice sensations you experience from the hot bath water either throughout your whole body or areas you feel comfortable with. The following are examples of things you can practice noticing during the breathing exercise: Does the water feel soft? Is your skin tingling from the heat? Can you feel any muscles untangling? The main element to remember when practicing this exercise is to notice these things one-mindfully and non-judgmentally, by feeling/noticing any sensations or movements without allowing mental commentary to be occur.

If you notice any thoughts arriving such as, ‘oaft, this is hot’, bring your focus back to your breathing. Focussing on your breathing and not allowing thoughts that enter the brain to stick, by continuously bringing the focus back to your breath is to participate in the exercise one-mindfully. This practice allows us to live in the present moment, noticing what is happening internally and externally without judgment or feeling the need to change it. As this exercise focusses heavily on breathing, the best way to end it is to take a few deep breaths and slowly bring your focus back to the external environment by slowly opening your eyes whilst breathing.

NB: There is no time scale for this exercise, when you feel it is time to end, do so. Additionally, one thing you will most likely become aware of is how fickle and easily distracted the mind can be. If you become distracted, do not worry because it is normal for this to happen. With practice and over time you may find that distracting thoughts occur less often, as they become easier to unstick.

Conclusion:

Whilst the rich and sensory awakening properties of B-Electro and Green Bubbleroon did uplift my cognitive functioning somewhat, it failed to be invigorating enough to keep me awake. The combination also failed to relieve my aching muscles, as the ingredients within each product do not hold strong enough properties to infiltrate through to muscles.

However, the combination of Lime and Grapefruit oils do offer a brain boost with their refreshingly citrus aromas. Whilst the aforementioned earthy notes provide a soothing depth to the cocktail. Consequently, this Lush cocktail would suit someone who is in pursuit of a complex scented bathing experience, as well as a gentle mental uplift; opposed to someone who is completely sleep deprived like I was.

The component of this bath cocktail I find has the most beneficial effect on tired muscles is the relaxation effects of the mindfulness exercises. The water/body sensation and mindful breathing approach is my preferred method for mindful relaxation, as the breathing exercise allows the body to unwind and detangle itself through noticing areas in most need of TLC.

Did you try this cocktail and love/hate it? Did you use the cocktail with the mindfulness exercises or own its own? I would love to hear your opinions on this Lush cosmetics bath cocktail.

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[1] See sticky for details of body scan exercise or for more about body scan and how to do it, see http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/resources/the-body-scan/

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