Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Thursday, September 9, 2021
That tight, flaky skin? It's September, and you know what that means-the leaves are going to start falling, Blue Jay Orchards is selling their delicious apple cider donuts, and the mornings and evenings are (mercifully) quite a bit cooler. I usually love summer, but I'm honestly really happy that fall is here. Your skin, however, might need a little help with the transition.
As the seasons change, our skin's needs change too. My skin tends to get dehydrated really easily, and this time of year, I need ALLLLL the hydrating serums under the sun in order to keep my face from looking like a dried up snakeskin. It's also time for me to whip out the humidifier for bedtime-that way, the air isn't sucking those serums (and the life) from my face while I sleep. If you're like me and notice that your skin starts to get a little flaky and tight during the cooler months, don't worry! Here are some of my favorite serums to combat it- Hale & Hush Soothe Essence, Image Skincare Ageless Pure Hyaluronic Filler, and Circadia Moisture on Demand. Of course, AM and PM moisturizers are key in any skincare routine, but serums really pack a punch because they're formulated differently than other skincare products. If you aren't using a serum in your routine, you're missing out (I have several in rotation to ensure that I can always give my skin what it needs). If you find yourself needing a refreshing hydration boost during the day, try Skin Script's Cucumber Hydration Toner-it's a treatment room fave!
Something else to keep in mind is that fall and winter are the best times of year to add pigmentation reducing products and treatments to your regimen. When the days are longer and we're spending much more time outside in the sun, using products that get rid of pigmentation isn't as effective. However, once fall hits, it's time to bust out that brightening serum and schedule your chemical peels (more info on that to come soon 😁). Personally, I think that most of us should be using a Vitamin C serum in our morning routine (my favorite is Rare C by Hale & Hush, perfect for even the most sensitive skin), but if you really want to work on hyperpigmentation, the Iluma serum from Image Skincare and the Bright White serum from Circadia are going to be your best bets. If you need recommendations for what will work best for YOUR skin, either book an appointment with me at the studio or schedule a virtual consultation to create a personalized regimen.
I know that you might be tempted to let your SPF move to the back of the medicine cabinet now that summer is gone, but STOP RIGHT THERE. SPF is necessary 365 days a year. I can't stress it enough. Your skin doesn't just stop accepting sun damage because it's cold outside. Sunscreen is the most important step in your routine. Don't skip it. Everything else you are doing for your skin is completely useless if you do. My favorite is my beloved Image Skincare Prevention + Matte SPF 32, closely followed by Circadia's Light Day SPF 37. You can't go wrong with either choice. You can only go wrong if you skip it altogether. You cannot improve ANY skin issue without diligent SPF usage!
Alright y'all, let's bust out that beloved hoodie, order a pumpkin spice latte, and fire up that humidifier-fall is here! Cheers to glowing, hydrated skin all year round🍹
love & lipstick,
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Which is the title of my favorite album by my favorite band, in case you were wondering...but today's post isn't about the 2003 record release that changed my life. It's just about changing your life.
I know that my business is about beauty, but it's also a business. And a business is more about just what it does, it's also about how it does it. I want to be straightforward in saying that I am absolutely nowhere near where I plan to be when it comes to my business or my personal life, but that doesn't mean I haven't learned some things that might be helpful to share with others. We're a community, right?
I've recently had so many friends, family, and clients (who have been with me since the beginning!) compliment me on my progress with each new accomplishment on my entrepreneurship journey. Over the past few weeks, I've been asked so many questions about how I've done x, how I learned y, or what it takes to do z. It doesn't matter what x, y, or z are in these examples. It all boils down to one thing-mindset.
The cheesy "she believed she could, so she did" quote you see splattered all over Pinterest and the Facebook cover photos of moms & Millennials around the globe is actually the truth. It's really hard to accomplish anything (or even take the plunge to work toward accomplishing anything) if you don't think it's possible for you to do so. That's obvious. But HOW do you continue to work toward something when life gets in the way? When you have responsibilities that take up your whole day or you're not feeling motivated or you're working two jobs or you have terrible credit or zero savings or...okay maybe this is starting to become all about me. Let's reset.
I use many tools to keep me inspired and motivated, and I'm sure you do too, but I specifically wanted to share some of my favorite books. Lately, my husband and I have been watching less TV (except for Ted Lasso now that it's back, if you're not watching it you're making a mistake) and either reading or working on creative projects instead. It's crazy what a time suck TV can be! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely understand that sometimes we just need to shut off our brains. But limiting the unnecessary noise and working toward our goals is the only way to get there. How about some suggestions, eh?
- How I Built This by Guy Raz. I don't know anything about Guy Raz other than what he sprinkled throughout this book, but I quite liked the way he organized the stories of entrepreneurs here. Many of them I'd heard of, many of them I hadn't, but I learned a great deal from all of the successes and failures collected. Lots of examples of how to get into, and stay in, the proper headspace. You don't have to be interested in being an entrepreneur to be inspired by the stories here, but honestly, if you're interested in entrepreneurship at all, this is the book I'd start with.
- Blowing My Way to the Top by Jen Atkin. Jen is a celebrity hairstylist and though I know/care nothing about hair, I picked up this book because of how inspiring I heard it was. Indeed, if you are an entrepreneur or even just working toward a goal, this is a light but well written read that truly inspired me. Though I still haven't picked up a hair dryer.
- Open Book by Jessica Simpson. Jessica was the butt of every joke in the early reality TV days, but she has built a billion dollar fashion empire. I found her...ahem...OPENness really admirable and loved learning about her journey. My favorite line might have been when she told her manager to just give her soon to be ex husband the spousal support he was fighting for because she knew she would make it back- "and I did-give or take a billion." Who's laughing now?
- The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey. Mariah shares her path from a troubled childhood to uh...MARIAH f'ing CAREY. Perfect mix of humble and diva, though I do love a flair for the dramatic so bear that in mind. I loved the "if I can do it, you can do it" aspect in this, all while maintaining the signature Mariah attitude.
- You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I hesitated putting this on here, because if you've done any research at all on the law of attraction, you'll find this a bit redundant, but I realize that not everyone has watched The Secret 397 times like I have. It's an easy read, and if you struggle with believing that you're capable of accomplishing something, I don't think it can hurt to read this. I've also read the financial version of this, You Are a Badass at Making Money, and it's worth reading if you like this one.
- Mindset by Carol Dweck. If you're interested in reading about fixed mindsets vs. growth mindsets from the perspective of a psychologist in a more case study, science-y way, this is for you. It's not a challenging read, but it's definitely a bit more dry than some of my other suggestions. However, if you didn't trust that the two pop princesses on this list wrote books worth reading (you are incorrect, by the way! I promise they're great!), and you're more into the dry stuff about WHY and HOW the different mindsets work, then give this a whirl.
- Estee: A Success Story by Estee Lauder. C'mon, with a title like that, you know you're gonna learn a thing or two about confidence, what it takes to make your dreams happen, etc. I read this because one of my beloved esthetics instructors recommended it to my class and I absolutely loved it. Estee Lauder is an iconic brand, and hearing the story from her perspective will make it easy to see why and how it got there.
- Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. Honestly? Enough said. It is! Read it.
Thursday, June 3, 2021
Honestly, sometimes I forget about the fact that makeup is a part of my business. I essentially "retired" from event makeup after doing my cousin's wedding in 2019. I felt like I'd lost my passion for it, really. It's funny, because my love of makeup was what inspired me to go to esthetics school in the first place. But as I studied, my interests shifted toward skincare. It wasn't until a few months ago that I started to feel like I missed it. By then, I'd dismantled most of my professional kit and either gave away or tossed things. I'm working on rebuilding my kit, but it's not my highest priority right now. I do still offer one on one lessons where I can guide you on how to do your own makeup, but other than that, I'm hoping to have things in place for the holiday season!
While you have all heard me talk about the reasons I don't recommend drugstore skincare, I happen to love a ton of drugstore makeup. Don't get me wrong, I own several Urban Decay palettes and have tried every $30 mascara under the sun, but there are so many amazing things available right at your local CVS. Of course, this is based on my own experience (with my own face and the faces of those I've worked on over the years), but everyone is different. Many drugstores have great return policies, so if something doesn't work for you, you can easily get your money back.
Let's start with the eyes. First, you'll need great brows (booking an appointment at Cherrie Darling Beauty will help you there 😁 ). Once they're shaped properly, you have options on how you want to fill them in. I've been absolutely loving the Maybelline Brow Fast Sculpt Gel for the past year or so, and it's less than $10 at the drugstore. Prior to using it, I was a diehard Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz fan...but that retails for $24. Why do I love the Maybelline product so much? First, it's a gel so it does hold the brow in place. It comes in several shades (I use the lightest) and you control the application. It can act similar to a pencil or a powder and fill in the sparse areas where skin is peeking through, but the reason I love it is that unlike pencil or powder, it also covers the actual brow hair as well! As I've aged, I've noticed that some of my brow hairs are turning white. This is completely normal, but I prefer to use the brow gel to cover those hairs. If you're not sold on that product, fear not! I also love NYX Cosmetics brow products. Their Eyebrow Cake Powder comes in a small palette that includes a spoolie brush and an angled application brush. They also have a Micro Brow Pencil that is similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, but for just $10. What will work best for YOU depends on preference. Try them all and return what you're not into!
Next, you'll want to apply your eyeshadow. You might need to use a primer (eyelids get oily and tend to cause creasing with eyeshadow). As far as shadows go, I'd start with Rimmel, NYX, and LA Girl Cosmetics-all super inexpensive. Brushes are important, so having a fluffier brush to blend and a firmer brush to apply is helpful. ELF makes some great ones.
Eyeliner wise, I like the versatility of Maybelline's black gel liner. I use a liner brush to apply and it's really creamy and easy to use. You can always smudge it out into a smokey eye if you make a mistake! For liquid liner, I like NYX Epic Ink. If you're a regular pencil fan, LA Girl makes my favorite!
I've tried a million mascaras and I always always always go back to L'Oreal Voluminous. It gives length and volume, doesn't flake or smudge, and doesn't get clumpy unless you're putting too many coats. Give it a try!
Pro Tip: I always apply eye makeup before face makeup because if there's any fallout from the shadows or I need to use makeup remover to tweak something, you're not starting everything all over!
Onto the face-I truly don't love wearing foundation, but if I had to choose a drugstore foundation, it would be L'Oreal True Match. If you don't need foundation but still want to even out skin tone, I suggest a BB cream instead. I love Maybelline's BB cream, though I do wish they had a lighter shade. Their lightest shade is still a smidge too dark for me, but if I blend it out well it works fine. Humans come in lots of different shades, so you may find yourself having to buy two so you can mix.
My favorite concealer ever is also L'Oreal True Match. It doesn't apply too heavy but also covers well! If you need a corrector, Wet N Wild makes a good one. If my dark circles are looking crazy, I apply some corrector and then top with concealer. A little goes a long way here. Always remember to set your concealer with powder!
Pro Tip: Apply foundation first, and then concealer. Otherwise the concealer will just rub away the foundation!
My favorite powder EVER is Rimmel's Stay Matte. It's like $4 and it's fantastic. Gently press this into areas where your skin gets oilier and lightly dust on any other areas. I also quite like Rimmel's bronzer because it's like their regular powder formula, wears well, and is not sparkly.
If you're into blush, NYX makes my favorite. If you like a bit of shimmer in your blush, Milani blush would be more your speed.
Wet N Wild makes great highlighters-use sparingly, those things are bright!
Not everyone is a lip product fan, but WHEW do I love lipstick so much. It's such a fun way to play with your look. Now that I'm nearing my mid 30s, lipliner is necessary. I like the formula from NYX or Rimmel, and I always blend the lipliner in toward the lips so that there's not a harsh line. My favorite drugstore formulas are from Flower Beauty and NYX Cosmetics. I've had my lipstick last all day using those formulas! If you love a matte lip, NYX is your best bet. If you're a gloss person, try NYX Butter gloss! There are lots of colors and it's a comfortable formula.
If you've ever walked through the cosmetics section of your local drugstore, you know that I've barely touched on the options that are available to you. There are SO many! I'm well aware that what has worked in my experience may not work for you-but if you're looking for a place to start, I hope I've given you some worthy suggestions. As far as application goes, that's tough to do in a blog post. I'm hoping to make a series of videos sometime this year-filming equipment is definitely on my (never ending) list! Let me know if I've suggested something that you also love, or if you have any suggestions that I haven't listed that I can share with everyone. I'm always on the hunt to try something new!
love & lipstick,
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
As y'all know, skincare is a huge part of my life. If I'm not working with clients in my skincare business, I'm either learning about skincare or using it myself (sometimes simultaneously!). The rest of my time is spent between cups of coffee and glasses of wine, but that's neither here nor there. Point is, skincare isn't merely a hobby for me.
I've tried many brands over the years, and if you're a person who has ever scrolled through Instagram or strolled through Sephora, you know that there's no shortage of them. I was introduced to Image Skincare while attending Atelier Esthetique Institute in NYC and was impressed with the size of the line. They offer a ton of options. I use several of their products in my regular routine and it's been a staple in my studio since my business began. But of course, no line is completely perfect. I started looking for another line to add, but it needed to check several boxes. I needed a professional, affordable line that offered more mask options and couldn't be too similar to Image so that I could ensure that there was enough variety. I discovered Skin Script, which is one of the most affordable, effective, education focused skincare brands I've ever heard of. There's a reason it's so popular with estheticians. For years, I used those two lines in the studio, but I still felt something was missing. Both Image and Skin Script are great, but in my opinion they don't offer enough products that are geared toward sensitive skin. In early 2020, I discovered Hale & Hush, which is a brand that focuses on sensitive skin, and I loved it so much I bought every product they offer. I was almost perfectly happy! Almost...
Options are important to me. I love to be able to help improve any skin issue that comes my way. And even though the three lines I'd been using were great, I still felt like I wanted more. Enter Circadia! Circadia is a well respected brand, and for good reason. Its founder, Dr. Peter Pugliese, "was the first physician of his caliber to dedicate decades of research to understanding the skin and its ability to deliver clinical and relevant information on product development." In short, he knew his stuff. Circadia's lab actually creates the formulations for many of skincare's top brands, including theirs of course. From their website:
Circadia professional skincare is based on the skin and body’s natural Circadian rhythms. Chronobiology, the biology of time, is based on the principles of defending skin from damage during the day, and stimulating repair during sleep, and is at the core of our concept. Circadia has been a pioneer in bringing the concept of Circadian rhythms to the health and wellness industry.
Cool stuff, right? Okay, enough of that. Let's get to the good stuff-the standout products!
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
On my consultation form, I have a question that asks, "If you had a magic wand, what would your skin look like in one month?" Some people laugh when they see it, or give me a confused look, but it helps me to know what your skincare goals are. Understandably, I'm often asked questions like, "what can I do to erase these wrinkles," "how do I get rid of these sun spots," "how long will it take to cure my acne"...etc. I really do wish that I had a magic wand for these things, but alas, I do not (though I do consider my hands magic wands when I'm in the treatment room😁). Results take time! And they also take effort. I make it a point to be honest with clients about what they can expect from treatments, what home care products are necessary to bring results, and the timeline in which it will take to achieve those results. Truthfully, to achieve any kind of result, both client and esthetician need to be working together.
First, I want to start off by saying I understand that not everyone comes to get a facial because they're interested in solving a skincare problem. Some people just love to come in and relax, which is totally okay! It does limit what I'm able to do in a treatment, though. For instance, I couldn't do a chemical peel on a client who doesn't come regularly and has no home care regimen. Using super active products on the skin isn't a good idea if you don't have products at home. Maintaining the barrier is KEY to healthy skin. If you do have the recommended products at home, then we are able to do more effective treatments in the studio. Proper home care is the only way to combat skin issues. If you're coming in because you have a particular skin concern, there is absolutely no way to solve it if you're not willing to use home care. So while I'm happy to treat your skin even if it's just for a special occasion, just know that I can't erase pigmentation, reduce wrinkles, or cure acne in an hour. If I could, I'd be rich!
When it comes to results from your skincare products, there are several factors to consider. Consistency, of course, but also how we go about choosing the products themselves. As you probably know due to my incessant raving about them, I carry several different lines in the studio to ensure that I can meet the needs of any client. I use Image Skincare, Skin Script, Hale & Hush, and most recently added Circadia to my skincare arsenal. All of these companies are well respected in the industry, and I chose to bring them in to my business for different reasons. Image is a huge line that caters to all different skin issues. Skin Script is extremely budget friendly and has great special enzymes. Hale & Hush is geared to the most sensitive of skins and perfect for dipping toes into the professional skincare waters while also being highly effective. And Circadia, my newest addition, has really innovative products that check a lot of boxes for me (my next blog post is going to introduce this brand to you-stay tuned!). There are a LOT of skincare brands out there, though. It's not uncommon for me to be asked about some of them. It's also not uncommon for clients to ask what cheaper alternatives there might be. I get it. Skincare can be expensive. But trust me when I say that the skincare lines that I use are actually considered affordable in the professional skincare world! I've taken many continuing education trainings with each brand, and of course use products from all of them in my own routine. I chose them because they're effective, they align with my business' and clients' goals, and their prices aren't so out of reach for the average person. Of course they cost more than the stuff at CVS (I have a blog about why pro skincare is better-check it out if you missed it). But if that stuff worked well, I'd be using it myself. I'd be using it on my clients. But I'm not! I use professional products from lines that put a lot of money into clinical trials, formulate products and delivery systems that make the ingredients more effective (just having an ingredient doesn't make a product good-again, see my blog!). I don't just buy new products and put them on your skin, either. I test products on myself (and my guinea pig...I mean...er, husband) and do extensive research on each line. It takes many hours of trainings to learn about a brand and what products they offer, and then I need to stay updated on them. This is part of the job, and I truly love it! I'm confident that I can help any client with any concern using the lines that I carry. What does this have to do with getting results? I know the lines that I carry and don't focus on learning about lines that I don't. So when I'm asked what I think of ____ line or product, or what a cheaper alternative is, I really can't say. I don't know anything about the formulations, because I've spent my time studying my current lines and watching them work their magic right before my eyes in the treatment room. It wouldn't make sense for me to give you suggestions about what results you can expect from a line that I know nothing about. So while I can't answer your questions about all of the skincare companies out there, if you have questions about the lines that I carry at CDB, I am more than happy to give you all of the information I have on them! If you have interest in other lines or products, that's cool too-I advise you to reach out to those brands so that they can help you with your needs.
Something obvious that I want to mention about getting results is that...uh...you have to use your products for them to work. I have had clients buy products to solve an issue, but then tell me that most of the time they don't remember to use them. I know that building a new habit can be a challenge, but you can't work out once a week and expect a six pack, just like you can't use a moisturizer three times a week and expect hydrated skin. If you find yourself falling into bed at the end of the day because you've worked all day or taken care of the kids since the crack of dawn, try this tip-wash your face/do your nighttime routine as soon as you get home (or as soon as your partner gets home and gives you a free moment). It takes 5 minutes of your time and your skin will thank you for it! I find that most people struggle with making the time for their nighttime routine, but that's not always the case. If you're someone who presses snooze 8 times and rushes out the door, I have an idea for you. In the morning, train yourself to wash your face before you even brush your teeth. Put your cleanser next to your toothbrush so that you remember! You really only need to do 2 steps in the morning-wash your face, and put on your SPF. If you aren't doing a morning routine, that means you aren't wearing sunscreen, and if you aren't wearing sunscreen...wait, my eye is twitching. Please, make sure you're wearing sunscreen. Make the time twice a day to use the products you've invested in. You cannot expect to see results from something you only remember to do a couple of times a week (trust me, if that worked, I'd have abs).
I know that not everyone gets facials or is into skincare. Or maybe you're great at doing your routine on your face, but not your body. If you're getting waxed, there are things you need to remember as well! It's necessary to exfoliate. It's necessary to apply lotion daily. It might even be necessary to use an ingrown hair serum. And of course, staying on the recommended waxing schedule is vital to staying within the proper hair growth cycle. After a wax, I suggest what kind of lotion or exfoliant might be best for that specific person, or how many times per week exfoliation is necessary for their skin. I have a blog post where I talk in depth about how to get the most out of your waxing experience, which is a great place for beginners or those who need a refresher to learn a thing or two. But you can't expect to be perfectly smooth or ingrown hair free if you aren't following my suggestions. Consistency helps, but even if you're coming in regularly but not doing anything else, you might not have the smooth skin that you desire. If I tell you that perhaps the product you're using in the shower is too harsh and might be the culprit, it's not because I want to ruin your day and make you run out to the store for something new. It's because I know that switching to something else will benefit you. And of course, as with anything, getting the best results can take time! It might even take a few tweaks. Sometimes we need less exfoliation, sometimes we need more...taking the time to figure out what your specific needs are will help you to get the best results possible.
To sum things up, you can't get the results that you're capable of getting if you don't put the time and effort into it. With skin, there are so many factors. Consistency, time, cell turnover rates, hair growth cycles...there's a lot to consider. Great results are possible if you and your esthetician are working as a team-no magic wands necessary!
love & lipstick,
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Stress is one of those things that we all deal with, but because it's so commonplace I'm not sure that we really understand how it affects us. We can get so used to feeling a certain way that we don't realize that it's not normal. 2020 piled a collective stress on top of everything in our lives that already stresses us out, and for many people, it's been a challenge to manage. Almost 50% of people have trouble sleeping due to stress, and 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health. Up to 80% of workplace related accidents are due to stress or stress related problems such as being tired or distracted. Around 33% of people report feeling extreme stress. EXTREME! Yikes! Not good. Money problems, family issues, trouble in relationships, problems at work...stress comes at us from all angles, so we have to do what we can to manage it. What works for one person might not work for another, so feel free to try a few things until you find your stress reduction sweet spot! And I promise, I won't suggest anything that isn't simple to implement.
Before we go into ways to help reduce stress, let's talk about what stress does to us. Stress can contribute to many health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, can cause hair loss or graying hair, increased sensitivity to pain, fertility issues, ringing in the ears, increased bloating and flatulence, increased urination or diarrhea, skin problems like acne, eczema or psoriasis, weakened immune system, insomnia, over or under eating, loss of sexual desire/inability to perform, headaches, low energy, muscle pain and/or tension, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, irritability, overwhelm, depression, anxiety...not to mention all of the issues some of these things can cause in our relationships. You get the jist. All of the bad stuff that life has to offer, stress can bring it out or exacerbate it. Some people are filled with so much stress and anxiety that they don't realize that it's not a normal way to feel. Honestly, I didn't realize that I had anxiety until I was in my late twenties, despite having what I now know are panic attacks (and many other symptoms) most of my life. I seriously thought it was just a part of my personality-it had never occurred to me that I should tell a doctor about it. I bet some of you can relate!
Skin wise...while stress doesn't exactly cause acne, the effects of stress can exacerbate it. Not sleeping well, drinking too much alcohol to cope with stress, and increased cortisol production that stimulates oil release from sebaceous glands are factors. Sleep deprivation also leads to signs of aging, such as loss of elasticity, fine lines, and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, and puffy eyes. Stress also impairs your skin's barrier function, which can make it dry and itchy. Because stress weakens the immune system, it's common to see that show up on the skin. On top of all the "maskne," I can't even tell you how many examples of eczema or unexplained rashes I've seen over the past several months-the collective stress that 2020 brought upon us really did a number! I've been going through a ton of Hale & Hush's Hush Hydrate and Relief Bio Powder combo in the treatment room, lemme tell ya. Aside from suggesting proper home care, one of the first things I tell my clients who are experiencing major breakouts is that they should try adding meditation to their life. It doesn't have to be meditation, though! Try any of the stress reducing activities mentioned and see how your skin looks in a month or two. Fact is, stress affects the skin and we've got to do what we can to keep it in check. So many of the symptoms of stress are things we experience regularly, like headaches, low energy, breakouts, digestive issues, or trouble sleeping, and we simply consider them a regular part of life. But they don't have to be! There are things that we can do to lower our stress levels and improve our quality of life.
To reduce stress, I'm going to start with the one thing we all know will help-exercise. Ugh, I know. But I don't mind exercising, really. The hard part is finding the time in my busy schedule to do it. I know that the majority of my clients are busy bees themselves, so I'm sure you can relate. But just 30 minutes 3-4 times a week can make a huge difference in reducing stress hormones in our bodies! You don't need a gym membership to do it, either. I have a subscription to yourdailywalk.com, which is a collection of workouts by Leslie Sansone, the Walk Away the Pounds creator. There's a different workout for each of the 30 days of the month, but you can also mix and match. This subscription is just $4.99 per month and the workouts are great and provide variety. Perfect for beginners or for advanced levels, each workout can be modified just for you, right in front of your TV. My husband and I do it together and we love the positive changes that we see from the workouts. A huge difference in mental health, I'm telling you. Yoga is exercise that is a great stress reducer as well, and there are many free videos on YouTube to follow (I love Yoga with Adriene!). Even just going outside for a walk counts. Or putting on a playlist and dancing around like a crazy person. Find something you like (or can at least tolerate) and get moving!
Meditation is something that I used to do with ease, but the last year or so it has proved really challenging for me. Of course, that just means I need it more than ever. It's something that anyone can do from anywhere, and doesn't have to take up a lot of time. Even taking one minute meditation breaks several times a day has shown positive changes in stress reduction. YouTube is a great resource for this as well-there are SO many free videos that you can use. Meditations can be just relaxing music or sounds, or can be guided (which I think is most helpful for beginners). Box breathing is great for beginners (breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4, repeat). I think a 5 minute meditation is a great starting point, but you can honestly do it as long as you want. There is no need to sit cross legged on the floor and chant, either. You can do this on your couch if you want. To fit it into my schedule, I get to work about 5-10 minutes early and set a timer to focus on my breathing. Some people like to do it right when waking up, some right before bed...play around with your schedule to see what works best for you! There are so many studies that show that meditation helps reduce blood pressure, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, etc. Try a 30 day challenge and see how you feel.
Reducing caffeine intake is a suggested stress reduction idea, so let's all laugh at that and move on to the next one.
Journaling can be a huge help, I know this not just from the studies that prove it, but also because I've kept a journal since I was 8 years old. Seriously, I kind of hope that one day I build an empire or something, because I have a ton of material for whoever wants to write a biography on me (and I am married to a writer, so at least I know I'd be painted in a positive light...I hope). Writing things down is helpful for our brains to release things that are weighing on it, but it also can help us to see patterns in our behaviors. Realizing what our triggers are can help us to make different choices, or at least approach issues with a better perspective. Knowledge is power, y'all.
We have enough to do in a day, but I'm going to suggest that you add something else-pick a hobby! Distracting our brains with something creative can be a huge stress reducer. Hobbies don't have to be terribly time consuming or expensive. There are plenty of things that you can do from home that are low cost and take just a few minutes. Even if you're only setting a timer for 15 minute hobby breaks, you're helping your brain to reduce stress. There are tons of adult coloring books out there, which is one of my favorite ways to unwind. My husband loves word finds. Painting, drawing, knitting, weaving, settling in with a good book, growing herbs or keeping plants alive, board game nights, writing poems or short stories, creating collages, scrapbooking, candle making, learning a new language (there are lots of apps for this-try Duolingo!), take a free online course (google has lots of options depending on your interests!), rearrange your furniture/clean out your closets, create Cards for Hospitalized Kids (cardsforhospitalizedkids.com)...there are so many options. Pinterest is a great resource to search for things you're interested in. You might want to try out a few to see what your vibe is!
Stop mindlessly scrolling. Set a timer when you feel like checking in with friends and family or what's going on in the world. We spend (ahem...waste) so much time on social media keeping up with people that we don't even know or like, and all of that eye rolling can equate to stress, even if it doesn't feel like it. I know that I can't be alone in getting stressed out from other people's posts sometimes. But we're in charge of how we spend our time, and we can control how much time we spend scrolling.
Getting some sunshine is good for you. There are many studies that show how depression can worsen during darker months, so it can be especially important in the winter. Of course, regardless of season, you don't want to be outside without sunscreen. Protecting your skin is important, but feel free to smile up at the sun for a few minutes a day. Get outside for a walk, and then it's a double whammy on that stress reduction!
Alright...You didn't think I was going to write a blog post about stress reduction and not promote my business somehow, right? But it's true-facials help lower stress! Other than extractions, every part of a facial feels nice. What's better than a facial massage? Or an upper body massage while your mask is doing its magic? Massage increases endorphins (happy chemicals) in the brain and helps to decrease cortisol (stress chemicals). I offer several different facial treatment options that work for any budget or lifestyle, and each one will have you feeling better than you did before you arrived. The Willows, where my business is located, also offers several different massage options. Peek at the services that Lori offers and plan a relaxing day with us! You can't go wrong.
Remember that "stress free" is impossible to attain, so don't beat yourself up for not feeling like a zen master all of the time. Even if you're just spending a few minutes a day retraining your brain, you're doing something positive for your mind and body. Try just one or two of these suggestions for a month and see if you feel any different! I'd love to know how it goes. Perhaps we should do it together? Maybe a two week challenge? Hmmm...yes, I think so. Peep my social media for the details!
love & lipstick (& serotonin),