Never Mind the Muscle Aches: Post Decorating Recovery and Reconnection [Lush Cocktail]

This skin tingling, sweetly spiced Lush cocktail comprises the following Lush products: Think Pink bath bomb; ¼ Holly Golightly bubble bar and a generous splodge of Aura Suavis shower gel.

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After an afternoon of decorating, I was a knackered, muscle aching grump. The only viable solution to remedy this situation was to have a ridiculously hot Lush bath. Cue reaching for my muscle tension cure-all, Holly Golightly. To further aid muscle rejuvenation, I thought the fruity spearmint qualities of Aura Suavis would be a refreshingly complex scent addition. I promise its use had nothing to do with the fact that I had just received three bottles from the latest Lush Kitchen batch 😛

As I am not a fan of the harsh scent that belongs to Freeze shower gel, I find that Aura Suavis is an excellent middle of the road alternative. This is because it provides the same sensory awakening properties with its spearmint element as Freeze does with its use of peppermint. However, it does so without the giving off the same overpowering and singular toned scent as Freeze.

Sensory awakening and muscle healing aside, Think Pink bath bomb brought this combination together, as it heightened the sweetness that was already provided by Aura Suavis. Plus, it is a wonderful vanilla infused addition for those who prefer sweet baths.

On a side note, I have noticed that my bath cocktails of late seem to have a recurring theme with regards to muscle aches and search for their healing. Strangely, I would prefer these aches to be the result of the insane amount of anxiety I have to contend with daily, opposed to them being age related. I am too low an age to be suffering from age related aches and pains, at least this is true in accordance with how I perceive my mental age. Haha! The products are discussed in more detail below.

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:

The chunk of Holly Golightly was placed in a sieve and held under running water for copious amounts of bubbles.[1] Usually, when using a shower gel for Lush cocktails I squeeze contents from the bottle directly on to the bath tub’s base, trying to create an artistic montage as I go. This time I smothered the Holly Golightly chunk with Aura Suavis. As the shower gel is of medium to thin consistency it essentially poured through the sieve. Consequently, I was taught the value of the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ re the aforementioned use of the bath tub as an artistic canvas.

Nevertheless, once the tap was turned on and water started filtering through the sieve the spillage no longer mattered. These two products surprisingly created a deep reddish colour, opposed to brown as one would expect to happen.

Scent wise, Holly Golightly’s clove and cinnamon leaf oils in combination with Aura Suavis’s spearmint and geranium oils blended together to create a beautifully rich and sweetly spiced aroma. The scent resembled that of an aniseed and cinnamon dominant mulled wine cocktail with an extra minty mojito twist. There is a syrupy element to the aroma too, which most likely can be attributed to the spearmint as it is a softer toned member of the mint family.

Think Pink was popped in the tub after it had been filled with bubbly water. The addition of Think Pink softened the spicy spearmint aroma of the Aura Suavis and Holly Golightly combination. This is due to Think Pink’s Tonka and vanilla notes, which provide a gentle sweetness and subtle creaminess to the above aroma. I love Lush’s use of Tonka; they manage to bring out its best scent qualities in their products.

When Lush use Tonka in bath products such as Twilight and Think Pink, the ingredients within each product complement one another by bringing out their best scent qualities. To elaborate, dependant on the ingredients Tonka is blended with, the blended result can produce sweet and/or creamy notes to a product. The Tonka infusion works almost like magic. It is this sweetness in combination with the vanilla infusion of Think Pink that encouraged me to plop it in the bath. I say plop because the bath bomb sunk to the bottom of the tub.

When all three cocktail ingredients were blended, they turned the water a slightly murky colour. However, the scent was richly divine and uplifting which is the main thing.

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Mindfulness: Personal Overview

Mindfulness can be used as a means of distraction during times of anxiety, intrusive thoughts, high emotional distress and so on. All mindfulness exercises discussed throughout this post and blog can also be practiced exclusively for relaxation purposes, to have some much needed ‘me time’ away from day-to-day routines and commitments. As was the case with my creating this cocktail.

In this post, I have included a summary of the skills I used and how they were used. 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. Personally, I find the sensory skills practiced during difficult times far more effective than exercises such as a ‘body scan’.[2]

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

Mindfulness Recipe:

To maximise the beneficial properties of this bath, I had to do some opposite to emotion[3] action so as to get the mindfulness and ‘me time’ party started. Whilst I had been enjoying the scent and heat from the Lush cocktail, I was struggling to switch my mind off and became bored very quickly. Ready to jump out the bath despite knowing that I would not satisfy the exercise’s objective, I made myself remain by making a mental compromise of ‘if you hang on 5 more minutes, you can get out’. Such is the fickle nature of PTSD that it only took around a minute of this cognitive battle of compromise for me to back down.

Although I remained in the tub, I struggled to get into the mindfulness zone. Times Three did not work, as there was no emotional distress. Instead, there was physical discomfort and an exhausted yet over-stimulated brain. Not a great combination! The breathing mindfully exercise was required, as well as perseverance. On this day the breathing exercise could not be argued to be habitual. It was a rather challenging activity. Nevertheless, the perseverance paid off.

Lying in the murky coloured but sweetly spiced water I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply through my nose and exhaled through my mouth. Then proceeding to reconnect with my body by observing how it felt in the hot water. Ignoring the process of judgmental and random thoughts that frequently appeared by bringing the mind back to the task at hand, I soon began to notice where the aches were residing. By noticing the problem areas but not permitting the judgmental thoughts to stick, I became further reconnected with myself both physically and mentally. This practice falls back to the crux of mindfulness – one-mindfully ‘living in the moment’.

Although not for everyone, the breathing exercise can be a great means of relaxation after completing a physically taxing activity. How to practice mindful breathing is detailed below.

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: 

In terms of the products used, this cocktail gave off a creamily rich, sweetly spiced aroma. The properties of the aforementioned ingredients within each product infiltrated the skin through to the muscles; providing a deep tissue detangling effect. The effect felt similar to how you would expect to feel after a massage. This feeling was particularly apparent once I had exited the tub.

The fusion of heat from the hot bath water, Holly Golightly’s spicy elements and Aura Suavis’ fruity spearmint really gave this Lush cocktail its aromatic punch. Whilst the inclusion of Think Pink added to scent the complexity with its added creamy depth.

I acknowledged the aches and overactive mind were both present but I sent them packing by mindfully returning thoughts to my breath. The consequence of this was that my muscles were allowed to relax, whilst previous troubles started to ease.

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.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more mindful Lush cocktails, please follow this blog.

[1] Generally, I find the use of a sieve with bubble bars and shower jellies is an economical use of the products as more bubbles can be created with less product usage.

[2] See sticky for details of body scan exercise

[3] Essentially this involves doing what it says on the tin.

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