Practicing Self-Care Beyond the Face Mask

Practicing Self-Care Beyond the Face Mask
Here are three simple tools from leading experts you can use to not only incorporate a daily wellness routine into your own life but also pass long to your loved ones.

Meaningful self-care is about so much more than Sunday manicures and face masks with your besties. It’s about giving yourself exactly what you and your body need: whether that’s respect, appreciation, forgiveness, or just a quiet moment of reflection. In our fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget to carve out alone time, and even harder to maintain a practice of self-compassion. Here are three simple tools from leading experts you can use to not only incorporate a daily wellness routine into your own life but also pass long to your loved ones.


Be kinder to ourselves

That inner voice that critiques our latest outfit choice or haircut every time we pass a mirror? It’s time we shut those down and tell them to shove off. Those pants we all have sitting in the back of our closets, just waiting for us to fit back into them? Pass them on. It’s not about the pursuit of a so-called perfect body. It’s about building a lifestyle that is built on a foundation of respecting yourself—according to Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project. She reminds us to challenge the status quo of how women are seen and talked about in your own circles; to be mindful of comparisons and negative self-talk that comes up among friends.

It’s about remembering not to judge a book by its cover and shutting out that inner critic that says we’re aren’t enough. So, next time you find you and your friends are diving into that negative space, steer the conversation into a more positive direction. Speak to what you like about yourselves and each other, rather than things you would want to change.


Shift to Eating intuitively

Neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt is one of many who are noticing the benefits of trading in a diet for mindful eating. She divides eaters into two groups: those who rely on hunger (intuitive) and those who try to change hunger through willpower (controlled). “Intuitive eaters are less likely to be overweight, and they spend less time thinking about food,” she explains in her 2013 TED Talk. Controlled eaters are more likely to overeat in response to external forces, such as ads and all-you-can-eat buffets.

So, what to do? Mindful eating: “Learning to understand your body's signals so that you eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full,” she explains. This approach may not lead to weight loss, but it can help to reduce feelings of shame and enable a shift to practicing being more present in everyday life.


Prioritize emotional wellbeing

If someone has a hacking cough or a sprained ankle, they go to the doctor. We brush and floss our teeth daily to prevent cavities. Nobody blinks an eyelash at seeking assistance for our physical wellbeing. But when faced with emotional pain—shame, loss, loneliness—we do not treat it with the same weight. Psychologist and author Guy Winch suggests it’s time we start treating our emotional being with the same diligence we give to our physical bodies.


His book, Emotional First Aid, points out that prolonged mental and emotional ailments can have real impacts on our physical health. Winch suggests that we can protect our self-esteem by changing our response to failure and negative thinking. The long-term result? Emotional resilience that lends itself to a happy mind, body, and spirit.

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