On Wednesday (10th October) it is World Mental Health Day and so I thought I would talk about Mindful Beauty. Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzz word in the past few years and more and more people are embracing it as an escape from our busy, noisy worlds.
Having struggled myself with Post Natal Depression and with bouts of low level depression on and off over the past few years, I am more and more readily trying to embrace mindfulness – although I hasten to say I’m not very good at it…
Turning off is something I struggle with and always have done; from the moment I wake up (even in the middle of the night) I am alert, wide awake and my brain is buzzing. I don’t really have an off button, consequently meditation as a form of mindfulness isn’t for me (I have a near daily battle with yoga for the same reason but I’m persevering).
Firstly, what is Mindful Beauty?
Mindful beauty can be interpreted in so many ways however I think two of the key points are the awareness of self and the awareness of the world around us.
Being conscious of the environment and the effect and impact that our lives have on it, is admittedly broad (and arguably pretty mind-blowing) but simply being aware of some elements is a start. Of course by choosing to buy natural and organic products over non-eco products you are ensuring that the environmental impact of your products is kept to a minimum (especially if you buy products produced in your own country). You are also guaranteeing that animals will not (or should not) have been harmed in the process.
I could go on but in this post I am going to focus on the awareness of self and the physical act of being mindful though self care; practicing Mindful Beauty.
Self care and beauty go hand in hand and in many respects are the same thing however within our hectic lives we all too frequently have little time to stop and appreciate ourselves. We loose ourselves in day to day routines and of course if we have families (with young children especially), we more often than not put ourselves last.
Spending a little time doing something for you may seem like the impossible but it may be possible to sneak in a little self care when doing something you do very day. Here are a few suggestions…
Your daily skincare routine may seem mundane but it is the perfect opportunity for a little you time, although I am the first to admit that kids, work and life in general don’t frequently allow for extended time in front of the mirror.
Ask yourself, how well do you really know your face? Take a moment and really feel your skin; it may seem obvious we we do it every day when taking off our make-up but how much do we actually take in? Acknowledge the texture, the bone structure, the imperfections even. The same goes with seeing; don’t look in a critical way (which we are so prone to doing) but really look at all the tiny details that make the human face so wonderful. Get to know your face and all it’s facets.
Breath easy. It may seem silly but when was the last time you really smelt your beauty products? I don’t mean just a brief acknowledgement of a scent when you open a jar but actually stopping to breath in the beautiful blends which form the basis of many natural and organic beauty products. Many green beauty products smell divine as they use blends of essential oils and botanical extracts, so next time you open your moisturiser or cleansing balm, pause for a moment and let yourself become enveloped by the scent.
Why limit face masks to once a week or just when your skin is looking a little worse for wear? Don’t be afraid to indulge. Slathering on a face mask is something you could do at any time (ok, maybe not in the middle of a meeting but I guess it depends where you work); when you are about to wash up, when you’re in the bath, whilst watching the latest episode of whichever box set is taking your fancy at the moment.
We all know the benefits of actual yoga but what about facial yoga? It releases tension even reduces wrinkles! An alternative to facial yoga is facial massage or even facial reflexology which is particularly good for stress and anxiety.
If face pulling isn’t your thing (be it in a therapeutic way or otherwise), then just smile. Believe it or not smiling is proven to be beneficial for you emotionally, physiologically and also for your health. There are differing schools of thought on whether your brain knows if you are smiling for real or faking it, either way it will improve your mood (even slightly) and even reduce your blood pressure and reduce stress, so go on, smile now… Yes now, even just a little one…😀
Smiling is also highly contagious; remember in the wonderful words of Louis Armstrong When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you…
It’s not just your face which can benefit from a little self care; our bodies deserve some love too. Even if you are against the clock, your morning shower could be transformed into a wonderful experience by simply having a number of shower gels or body washes to hand and picking and choosing depending on your mood (such as calming, relaxing, invigorating or re-energising). The same goes for the bath; there are such a wonderful array of bath milks, oils and bars out there you could find something for every mood (don’t forget the candles either!!)
Don’t rush the post bath/shower moisturising. Take time to moisturise well, working it into your skin and really focus on getting into those bits we always miss, like between your toes and under your arms!
Why not give yourself a DIY pedicure? We spend so much time on them and often don’t give them the care they deserve; a few minutes spent preening your feet can make them (and you) feel million dollars!
You can even indulge in a little mindful massage at your desk or on the bus. In the world of smart phones and computers our hands, fingers and wrists are often over worked and under loved. Take a few minutes to work on the pressure points in these areas – there are some great tutorials on line if you are unsure where to start.
These are just a few suggestions on how you can incorporate mindfulness into your beauty routine. Taking time out and reconnecting with yourself is so important, so take the time to give yourself some love.
Images: (1, 2, 3) LJS – OMUA