Young woman practicing social isolation amidst the covid pandemic.

1 Year Later: Covid-19's Impact On Our Wellness & Beauty Habits

You woman in comfortable clothing, drinking a hot beverage and reading a book.

The last year has been defined by a new and unfamiliar 'normal', but it's like the old saying goes, there's always a silver lining: self-care and the beauty space are closer than ever.

To say that the events of the last year have been nothing short of unprecedented is an understatement. From a global pandemic to Meghan and Harry quitting the royal family , to pervasive wildfires down under in Australia, to the ones right in our own backyard. This last rotation around the sun has been wrought with more anxiety, confusion, sadness and anticipation. And still, as is true with all things in life, it's only to our benefit to look for the silver lining within the "unprecedented" chaos we are all collectively weathering together. And amidst these troubling times, some of us made the most of our isolation and we learned something new, created something beautiful out of terrible circumstances. Whether you read a good book, or if you honed and mastered a new and improved wellness routine; either way, you did something great for yourself. 

More interestingly, sufficient time spent in isolation paved the way for a new and widespread fixation on self-care. As our once bustling and hectic lives came to a screeching halt and we were left in a state of almost suspended animation, suddenly we had all the time in the world to focus our attentions on something other than our work, and picking the kids up after school, social and familial commitments, and everything in between. For some this may have meant taking up needlework, like crocheting, for others, maybe you upgraded your culinary skills. But if you’re anything like me, then this meant that you were able to really show your skin some serious love by carefully researching new products and trends and paying extra close attention to keeping your gut healthy.

Suddenly, we had the time to take up yoga like we always said we would, and could sit down and intensely dissect those product labels and research what I've been putting on myskin. Many other people, on the opposite side of things,  fixated on what they missed and all the things they felt they lost as a result of the covid-19 crisis. But then, once again, there was this amazing group of people that managed to find the silver linings that emerged from this momentous time. Let’s take a look at how some people managed to turn a worldwide disaster into a positive experience for themselves. 

Checking Labels

Without the mad morning dash to catch our inner city bus to work, or the hours each day we would spend just sitting in traffic getting nowhere fast, we were suddenly let with all these gaps in our days. Now that our morning routines were completely wide open and we no longer had to worry about an arduous morning commute, we quickly realized that we finally had the time to sit down and read the ingredient lists on our favorite skincare and beauty products. What’s more is that we were also finally confronting many of the things we once chose not to acknowledge, contently justifying my choice with our exhaustion after every long day. So what happened once we started paying closer attention to what was going in and on our bodies?

Poof, off went so many of our once loved and personally endorsed products, exiled to the garbage can outside. With a hunger and a need to stay stimulated in any way imaginable, some of us channeled our frustrations over our limitations by skillfully reimagining our beauty routines, and this time this we took special care to seek out products that were completely free of any and all harmful ingredients. 

DIY Treatments

I don’t know about you, but I really threw myself into DIY’s. Anything from furniture, to making my own clothing, to salvaging closet space I wasn’t using into indoor greenhouses where I was growing all of my own herbs and spices, along with quite a few fruits and veggies. I also decided to go through my kitchen cabinets to see what I had kicking around inside of them that I could potentially use in other skin care products I wasn’t very crazy about. Whether I liked the final product in any situation or not, I’d become hooked on DIY’s. After a bit of reading on pinterest one day, there I was... bored, restless, definitely starting to get a bit antsy. That is when I finally stumbled on a pinterest list that included all the beneficial ingredients you want to be using in your skincare routine (not all of them at one time lol), as well as well the ones you definitely do not want to be using, but instead, should be avoiding to be using in you skincare routine, as well as a light of all the ones for the sake of your skin and your sanity. could do with the herbs in your spice cabinet. Turmeric, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, avocado, rice, baking soda, and other natural ingredients are all ingredients that have multipurpose uses in beauty and wellness. From DIY face masks to at-home hair treatments, these on-hand ingredients helped boost our regimens.Other common ingredients you might find laying around you kitchen that tend to be quite handy in terms of taking care of your skin are honey (especially manuka!!), lemon juice, cucumbers, oatmeal, coffee grounds, greek yogurt, coconut oil, light/dark brown sugar, and matcha, to name a few.

More Me-Time

In the beginning, our decreased social interaction and abundance of "me" time was quite disheartening. Yet, as we continue to acclimate to our new 'normal', we’ve taken “alone time” and turned it into a positive, productive and crucial part of our self-care.  All this extra time meant that I didn’t have to feel guilty if I took 15 or 20 minutes out of my afternoon to do a sheet mask or give myself an in-depth pedicure. It meant going for calm and relaxing runs to get myself out for a bit, as well as a plethora of other things. And yet, while many of us hated the lock down scenario with a burning passion, I began to really feel myself open up mentally as i began to try and teach myself a multitude of new skills that may be valuable one day when this fiasco finally came to an end and everyone had to return back to work once again.

Focus on Beauty from the Inside Out

Becoming well acquainted with some of the fun and creative indoor workouts people were coming up with, along with experimenting with new recipes and leveling up those Culinary Skills while trying to talk myself out of trying any number of new Quarantine diets that caused quite a buzz throughout the course of the next 365 days. The real challenge I think many of us were faced with was staying healthy amidst the worldwide lockdowns, and keeping ourselves active at all costs. Tiktok was a powerful tool in this regard, as it got whole families up and dancing around their living rooms and bedrooms, keeping them active and distracting them from their realities, if even for a couple of minutes.  From changing the way we eat, to kicking our apartment friendly exercise routine into overdrive, taking care of our bodies proved to be quite the trend during the covid-times, and was a valuable and constructive way to spend our unexpected free time.

A Happy Mind is a Happy Body

Mindfulness exercises, writing, painting, or simply being alone with your thoughts while making the conscious decision to unplug from the world to give you mind and your heart time to start processing some things and figure out how best to tackle others. Personally, I created hilarious memes and inspirational positive affirmations and referenced them during days like last monday, where it felt as though I could do no right and the entire world essentially hated me. But the funniest thing about these practices is that prior to the virus striking, these weren't even practices any mental health professional would’ve acknowledged, but which we now finally see and accept as being essential to mental-health and wellness. Look after your minds the same way you would anything else that is precious or vital to you. I don’t care how old you are, or how well adjusted you might think you a person. Look after them the same way you look after your skin. The two of them have a lot more to do with one another than you'd think, afterall. Eventually there comes a time in all of our lives where we feel particularly vulnerable. And not everyone has the luxury of having long standing friends to turn to in those  moments to make themself feel better. That is one instance in which soliciting the help of a mental health professional may be in your best interest. I am well aware of the ridiculous stigma that is generally associated with people who see a mental health worker on a regular basis, and on behalf of all of us that know the worth and benefits of a truly amazing session with a phenomenal therapist, let me just tell you that is pure crap. Every awesome session you have is like a day at the spa for your mind and soul. Every person on the planet would likely benefit greatly from seeing a therapist or counselor of some kind. And I shamelessly speak from experience when I say that.

So, to wrap things up, I just want to once again emphasize and stress the importance of always always having a good handle on your mental health. And if this situation with the virus has taught us anything, it is that if we feel there is room for improvement with regard to the way we are showing love to ourselves and practicing self-care, then this time on lockdown can be viewed as a blessing in disguise. Countless other people can't be wrong in taking advantage of their down time to give themselves a little R&R or some primping. The undeniable link between looking good, and feeling good, is an almost irrefutable pattern every single person on the planet experiences at some point or another.  When you feel your best, you LOOK your best. 

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