Now that everything is terrible, I advise you to wash your feet

Don’t let life slap you in the face.
Don’t let life slap you in the face.
Image: The White House / Pete Souza
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Remember when we thought 2016 was the worst year ever? Lol, no.

Welcome to 2017, the nightmare that will probably only get worse in 2018. This has been the year of serial sexual harassers, rapists hiding in plain sight, Donald Trump taking office, multiple mass shootings, devastating hurricanes, institutional global-warming denial, Taylor Swift dropping ReputationStranger Things not explaining Max and her evil brother, and baby cockroaches colonizing my Keurig. To name a few.

The solution, my friends tell me, is self-care. Get a massage! Go for a long walk! Spend time with dogs at the shelter! Try that Glossier mask that makes you look like Scream! Download a meditation app! There are few things you can control in life, they tell me, and your own “wellness” is one of them.

They’re not wrong. But who has the time, I whine, before turning on a third consecutive episode of Great British Baking Show.

If you are like my friends, godspeed—those shelter dogs are super cute. But if you’re like me, there’s an easier solution: a means to wellness that takes essentially no time, no money, and makes you feel like a goddamn princess.

That solution is washing your feet.

I don’t mean while you shower (though if you individually soap up each foot without slipping, you are already beating most of us at life), or in a pool, or only once your feet are, for whatever reason, crusty and gross.

Rather, I advise you to treat yourself to a brief foot wash whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, sad, or confused. Here’s how:

  1. Walk to the bathroom.
  2. Sit on the edge of the tub, or, if you don’t have a tub, stand outside the shower.
  3. If you have a tub, ensure you’ve set the water flow right, so you don’t drench yourself.
  4. Turn the faucet to a slightly cool, but not freezing water temperature.
  5. Put your feet under the cool water, rub them gently, and apply some soap if you want. Continue this for at least a minute.
  6. Step out (carefully) and dry your feet, ideally with something fluffy.

That’s it. If you want to get really fancy, buy some infused oils (ideally lavender) and add a drop to the water.

Our feet, if we are lucky enough to be mobile, carry us everywhere, every day, shouldering our entire body’s weight. Yet most able-bodied people rarely think or care for them. This reality hit me hard last year, when I had two consecutive foot surgeries that landed me on bedrest for nearly eight months and ended a long-distance running career that had become my default method of relieving stress.

Sitting on my bed, feet swollen and purple from stitches, heels calloused from crutching, a routine foot rinse seemed apropos. And trite as it sounds, rinsing my injured feet helped me mentally reset, and focus on healing rather than self-pity.

I’ve been an addict since, treating myself to a quick foot rinse after a long day at work, an unnecessary fight, a major accomplishment, or just a mundane Wednesday. So momentarily luxurious and indulgent, the practice forces you to stop, slow down, and actually feel relaxation, at (literally) no price. Simple as it may be, washing your feet will refresh your mind and spirits with near-magical grace.

If you don’t believe me, take it from Jesus. Or better yet, try it yourself.