How a skincare routine helped me improve my mindfulness skills during lockdown

It’s easy to think about all the negatives during lockdown and the pandemic but I am going to use this blog post to think about something positive that actually arose during my time at home. Skincare! I’m still very much a newbie with all these new brands and products (Wtf is a retinol?), but I’m learning.

I got started with some easy, well known brands such as Liz Earle, Glossier and Superdrug’s own brand.

Liz Earle

Cleanse and Polish (Hot Cloth Cleanser)

Skin tonic

Eyebright soothing eye lotion

Exfoliator

I started my skincare routine with some good old Liz Earle products that my friend had recommended to me. The hot cloth cleanser was gentle and so much more soothing for my skin than make up wipes. I made a promise to myself to reserve make up wipes for Nights Out only and to use the Cleanse and Polish regularly. This coupled with the exfoliator and skin tonic made my skin feel super smooth and ready for the day. The eye lotion was a must because my eyes are quite dry and require a lot of care. Although pricy, I really loved the Liz Earle range.

Glossier

Milky jelly cleanser

Exfoliating skin perfector

I love the cleanser! It really hydrated my face and was really gentle on my skin. I have sensitive skin so something gentle is a must. The exfoliator was good too but I prefer more of a face scrub texture. This was my first time trying the Glossier range so I will be checking more products out.

Vitamasques

Ok these are definitely my favourite products. A range of face masks for every occasion. I bought a selection for £17 which is a bargain. Gold shimmery masks, charcoal, raspberry etc. These definitely add an amazing edge to your pamper night. If anyone wants me to review them properly in another blog post I definitely will!

 

Skincare and mental health

A good skincare routine can transform your mental health, in this essay I will. A 2010 study conducted for the Asian Journal of Beauty and Cosmetology found that among elderly and middle aged women in Korea led to an increase in confidence, self-esteem and happiness.

There’s something really soothing about massaging these products into your face. Its calming and you’re focusing on something for a good amount of time which is a also a form of mindulness. It’s not a miracle cure to anxiety but just focusing on my routine produces a wave of calmness and tranquility. Every action is part of a ritual and by focusing on what to apply next I’m not focusing on anything but the present. I normally have my skincare routine at night but you can do it at any time of day. Just going through the motions is sacramental and really gives you that much needed lull in your day.

 

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Month – Body Image

Mental Health Awareness Month – Body Image

Aloha, it’s been a while but I’m here to talk about something super important and that is the concept of Mental Health as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. There’s lots of things I don’t feel comfortable discussing on this blog and maybe one day I will but right now I’m focusing on this year’s theme of Body Image.  Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional and I urge anyone who is suffering with mental health issues to see their GP or go to A&E if you are feeling suicidal. TW: Body image, body shaming, eating disorder, fat shaming, 

Body image can be defined by “the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception.
These feelings can be positive, negative or both, and are influenced by individual and environmental factors”. 

Perception is everything when it comes to body image. If you look in the mirror and make a snap judgement about yourself “Oh my god, I look so ugly and I feel fat and worthless” then it’s bound to completely jeopardise your day and how you feel about yourself. The BBC reported the results of a survey which found that a third of 4,500 “adults felt anxious about their bodies, with one in eight experiencing suicidal thoughts”.

This figure is shocking and prompts the question: “why are we so critical about the way we look?”. Why is fat shaming/any sort of shaming still a thing? Why is there a body shape that is considered perfect’ and why are men and women constantly pressured to look a certain way. I blame social media for part of it. With apps like Instagram, looking ‘perfect’ is something that is integral to one’s lifestyle. Filters and angles add to the pressure of making one look picture perfect and with the rise in celebrities coming out about the use of photoshop in the media, body image is increasingly problematic in the media. ‘Flaws’ can be airbrushed, lightened or increased or decreased in size and it’s a problem because it teaches us that we must dislike these characteristics of our body. Celebrities such as Jameela Jamil are drawing attention to the problematic side of social media and highlighting issues with fat shaming and body shaming, encouraging us to feel more empowered and love ourselves. Check out my blog post about her here.

I’ve definitely fallen prey to the wicked ideals of body image on social media a few times. I decide to upload a picture of myself and then scrutinise myself, scanning my entire body for flaws that I can crop out or add filters to so I appear more desirable. Or there’ll be times where I’m getting ready and I look at myself in the mirror and I hate what is looking back. Why is my stomach so bloated? Why are my eye bags not going away? Why is my skin so discoloured at times? These questions constantly go through my head and I end up going through my entire closet until I feel comfortable with what I’m wearing/covering, or putting on enough make up until I look ‘ok’. Or making plans on how I can change my appearance so I’m happier with how I look (hah that gym membership still needs to happen)

I have to remind myself that everyone experiences certain characteristics and as I’m not a celebrity with access to a personal trainer, plastic surgeons and a dietician, it’s not gonna be as easy as snapping my fingers and shapeshifting into someone I prefer to look like. Yes I have eye bags and discoloration but that is something a lot of Indians experience and comes with my heritage. Yes sometimes my stomach swells in size even when I haven’t eaten anything but that comes with having Crohn’s Disease which has messed up my intestines so much that I need to have surgery in order to fix this and there’s nothing I can do otherwise about this. Being Indian doesn’t always help because Indians love commenting on people’s weight (lol) but I’m learning to ignore that and accept my body is changing and no one needs to comment on it. Yes sometimes I hate the way I look and I’ll put some make up on or skip meals and then hide behind big clothes because I feel disgusting when I look at the mirror but I’m reminding myself that I have a normal body and I deserve to nourish myself and not care about what others think. There isn’t always bad ‘body image’ days. Sometimes I’ll dye my hair and feel empowered like a punk princess. I guess it’s because my hair is something I have control over and I don’t have a lot of control over things related to my body but I’m slowly learning that it’s okay. With so many positive body empowering women I follow in Instagram and Twitter, I’m slowly realising that there are lots of body types out there and instead of focusing on the flaws, you gotta remind yourself of the positives and ‘werk it’. Instead of following celebrities that endorse weight loss teas (cough cough Kartrashians), follow empowering women such as singer Lizzo, Jameela Jamil, Cupcakke rapper and lots more!

No matter your sexuality, race, gender, ethnicity etc you don’t have to let anyone dictate how you should look. Remember, you’re amazing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise <3. A “hells yeah” to all my fellow beauties who aren’t comfortable with the way they look, I gotchu.

 

 

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Emma Blackery Book Signing

Sassy British Youtuber and Musician Emma Blackery released her first book on the 7th September titled ‘Feel Good 101’ – I want to rave about how amazing it is and how equally great her book tour is as I had the pleasure of attending.

Emma has been one of my favourite YouTubers to date; her stringent, sarcastic coinage of phrases such as ‘I have girl balls’ and her ability to be brash about her flaws and her fuck ups. So when she announced she was doing a book tour a few months back, I jumped at the chance to see her and excitedly booked tickets for the London Piccadilly date.

I got to the Waterstones store and queued up, waiting for the doors to open for the room in which the Q&A would take place. Taking in all the excited young teenagers with brightly coloured hair and pastel t-shirts, I knew that there were a lot more people than just me who were pretty hyped to see Emma tonight.

We were hustled in and I took my seat and the shiny new book that was handed to me as I walked in.

When Emma entered the room there were excited ‘whoops’ and ‘ooohs’ as she took her seat at the front. Luckily, I had an aisle seat and could witness all the action from a pretty good view. The Q&A began and questions about her book, her experiences writing it and her influences arose. What had the process been like? Would she do a sequel?

I loved the fact that she was so candid and conversational throughout. I know that many Q&A’s are based upon that premise but Emma wasn’t just focused on professionalism but being also being honest and open and that was one of the primary focuses of her book.

After the Q&A, Emma began her book signings. A small group of excited teens began singing her songs in the midst of it and the Waterstones staff looked at each other with bemused expressions. As I became next in line, I handed my book to her and had a sort of stage fright moment not knowing what to say in these two minutes that would cement our (second)(more about that later) meeting.

“Hi, how are you?” she asks

“Fine! How are you?” I babbled.

“Mentally exhausted” she answered calmly, taking my book.

“Were you part of the singing?” she asked?

“No, I-my vocal chords weren’t up to that” I answered, nervously...(what the hell was I going on about lol)

“I’ve had people do that in gigs for me but never in Waterstones” she commented, delighted.

I forgot to give my phone to the ‘camera guy’ (stand in Waterstones staff) and there was an awkward moment where they had to ask me for it in the middle of this conversation.

“I just want to say, I have anxiety and your videos have really helped me” I put in as I took my book back.

“I’m really glad to hear that, there’s a section in my book about anxiety” she answers.

“Have a great day” she calls after me as I walk away.

“You too” I answer back, robotically as she turns to her next fan, flashing a smile.

The whole experience was small but sweet. Meeting Emma was a lovely, whole hearted experience.

Emma’s Channel