Margy’s Winter Warmer


It’s cold out, and the sub-zero temperatures are predicted to last for quite some time. Margy Rydzynski, the Founder and Community Manager of our network, would like to offer this suggestion for staying warm. A few years ago she visited Portland and came across a spa that specialized in foot baths. She decided to spring for a treatment and had a delightful time. Here is her formula, something that you can do at home without paying the same fortune she did for much the same result.

First, the ingredients (wait until no one is home, or make sure you’ve kicked out all the interlopers):

  • A clean dishpan, the kind of thing you put into your sink to hand-wash dishes.
  • Several towels, one large enough to fit under the dishpan and some hand-towels for wash-up
  • A chair
  • A roll of paper towels
  • Flip-flops (optional, but helpful if you want to keep your feet off of the floor)
  • A clean pair of soft, comfy socks.
  • Hand or body lotion of some kind. Margy uses a combination of coconut butter, olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter. Some of these oils are hard at room temperature, so you might need to keep them warm.
  • Epsom salts (optional, but nice if you have it)
  • Glass beads, smooth river stones or marbles, something that you’ll enjoy rolling under the soles of your feet (optional, but nice)
  • Essential oil/s of your choosing. Lacking that, some dried, fragrant herbs from your kitchen
  • Dried Flower petals, if you have them
  • A small side table (nesting or parsons table?)
  • A good book, a notebook for journal writing, or some such, relaxing, item
  • A way to play soothing, meditative music. There are also websites that have online mindfulness meditations, like Margy uses her smart phone with headphones. There are great meditation and calming play lists on Pandora.
  • A scented candle for the room (optional)
  • Something beautiful to look at (optional)
  • Something hot to drink (optional, but very nice)
  • A little snack (again, optional but nice)

Start in your kitchen or a very large bathroom. Use a kettle to heat up water. Place the chair close enough to the stove and also to the sink. Try to arrange things so that you’re looking at something nice (not the recycle bin or garbage, for example). Put the large towel in front of the chair.

Pour some epsom salts – as  much as you want, maybe a half-cup? – into the dishpan. Drop in the glass beads, marbles, smooth river stones, etc. if you have them. Fill the tub with about halfway up with cold water from the tap. Add whatever scent option you might have on hand. Margy uses a combination of different essential oils that are calming, like lavendar or bergamot. Lacking these, try a handful of rosemary, Herbs de Provence or other fragrant dried herbs. Get your hands in there and stir around!

Set the tub onto the large towel and arrange the chair so that you’re sitting comfortably. Short people – try using a baking pan turned upside down to raise the tub so you can sit comfortably. Place the side table nearby and use it to hold the socks, hand towels, hot drink, paper towels, books/s and/or music player.

Add hot water to fill the tub as high as your ankles. Play around with the hot and cold combination until it feels very warm but not scalding. Add flower petals if you have them (Margy doesn’t, but really wishes she did).

Sit in the chair, remove your shoes and socks and roll up your slacks. No worries if you have a skirt! Dip your feet in the scented water and relax! Breathe in the fragrance and enjoy the heat warming your entire body from the toes up. Sip something warm. Roll your feet over the marbles, river rocks or whatever. The bottoms of your feet will really like this.

Pick up a pen and paper, start your music, read your book, do a meditation – whatever feels right. Margy usually starts with a mindfulness meditation, then writes in her journal. She always listens to music, but that’s her. Do what works for you.

Keep your feet immersed for about a half-hour. Refill hot water as necessary. Sip and snack. Once you’re done, towel off your feet and move the tub away so you won’t get wet again. Sit down again and rub your feet with whatever lotion or oil you’ve chosen. Take your time with this. It feels divine! Use some paper towels to wipe your hands as clean as possible. Take your clean, comfy socks and put them on. Try to keep them dry. Margy usually keeps her shoes or slippers nearby.

You will be in heaven or nirvana, take your pick. You’ve had at least 30 minutes of peace and quiet and a very indulgent treat for your lower body. You’ll be warm, head to toe and blissed out.

The folks at the foot spa used brass vessels to hold the water, one for each foot, but otherwise the experience was much the same. She spent $75, including a foot massage. You can do the same with ingredients you already have on-hand. All you need is a little time and a ritualistic, meditative mindset.


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