Everyone needs a pandemic skin-care self-care plan during the COVID-19 era. Simply put, it is committing to and following a routine that will benefit the health of your body’s largest organ (your skin) and deliver the bonus of providing the structure and pampering that benefits your psychological well-being.
InStyle’s State of Skin study found that 76% of the women surveyed said they felt good about themselves if they thought their skin looked good, regardless of age. While their specific concerns varied depending on how old or young they were, both mental health professionals and dermatologists agree that there is no question that the overall appearance of their skin played a vital role when it came to their confidence.
Here are a few powerful reasons why:
- A Skin-Care Routine Provides Stability in Your Day Which Benefits Your Mental Health
One of the biggest things we are experiencing right now is the transition from being outside to being home all the time. What happens during that change is that you lose the structure and routine of your day. Those routines usually include healthy eating habits, exercise and skincare. Those routines are critical to the overall health of both the body and mind. A study published in June 2018 in the Lancet Psychiatry found that people who have less consistent routines throughout the active parts of their day were more likely to suffer from major depression and bipolar disorder, mood swings, loneliness and less happiness.
These routines feel good and act as a comforting force in your life, providing an anchor to your day and serving as a point of stability in your week. On a small scale, you may even feel like you have accomplished something. Because of the pandemic, it is vital to maintain some routines during the week and reap the fantastic benefits of these habits. Otherwise, one day might begin to blend into the other and add to your general funkiness.
- Focusing On Doing Something Nice for Yourself Helps Stop a Worry Spiral
Certain times of the day can trigger intrusive thoughts, but you can break the spiral of doubts with self-care. Individuals who experience anxiety and depression often report that their conditions got worse 30 minutes to one hour before bed. This is when they have more idle time which increases worry for a lot of people. When you are engaged in any activity like self-care (washing, toning and moisturizing your face), you can get out of your head and focus on what you are doing.
The act of caring for your skin additionally provides an opportunity for mindfulness. Mindfulness is when you home in on sensations you are experiencing in the present moment without passing judgment (the soothing feel of warm water, for instance). A study on more than 1100 adults published in Frontiers in Psychology showed that this practice helps to buffer depression and anxiety by stopping worry and rumination. Engaging in this activity for a few minutes can help your brain unhook from less healthy spiraling thinking patterns.
- Pampering Skin Regularly Triggers a Cascade of Chemicals in Your Brain to Boost Your Mood
Create a routine that feels good and includes products that you enjoy using. For example, do not underestimate the impact of gently massaging the skin with a warm washcloth to cleanse, taking extra time to smooth a silky moisturizer on your face or applying a mask.
The experience of an at-home facial or treatment is certainly comforting, but you can also get a lot of fulfillment planning for it. Anticipation of happy events releases feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. Expecting positive events has also been shown to activate a particular area of the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with a sense of well-being. It is a natural little high for something so simple.
This is one reason why baths are so inherently calming. First, you expect to feel relaxed as you lower into one and second, the warm water is naturally relaxing to muscles. Physical relaxation sends your brain the message that it is time to be calm and mellow, reducing the fight-or-flight stress response.
There are numerous ways to practice self-care but focusing your efforts on improving skin health pays off for your mental and emotional health too – and that’s critical in the time of COVID-19. Taking the time to nurture the skin affects the mind and body which boosts confidence and gives a sense of control.
In the comment section below, let us know how you include your self-care routine in your daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic.