It’s no secret that when we invest time in our self care, we show up with a different energy in the world. Although our morning routines are as unique as we are, the ability to express ourselves through beauty, and nurture ourselves through personal care can take on a ritualistic quality—it can often be the most consistent part of our day. Instead of dismissing the mirror time as simple vanity, make it mindful by bringing awareness to the present moment, paying attention to sensations, sights, sounds and scents as you get ready in the morning.
Meeting Your Own Beauty Standard
At our core, us humans are social animals, and it used to be in the best interests of our evolution to ‘fit in with the crowd’—in fact, it was essential for survival! This evolutionary hangover is still present deep in our brain, to the point where ‘standing out’ can trigger the fear response in the body if we’re not mindful about it.
This wiring in our brain also helps to explain why beauty and fashion trends exist—they can help create a sense of belonging. That is not to say that we should be sheep, but instead, showing up with confidence and self-love, which are the most attractive qualities of all.
The Link Between Confidence and Connection
When beauty is a self care practice, it feels nourishing and raises our self-esteem and confidence. The flow on effect is that when we feel confident, we’re more likely to treat others with respect, kindness and generosity—a win-win! This process can also meet another human need—social interaction.
We are biologically wired to crave connection, and we do this best when we make eye contact and engage with others—it actually floods the brain with happy hormones as positive reinforcement. Feeling self-conscious changes our body language at a subconscious level (think crossed legs, crossed arms, physically trying to make ourselves smaller).
Playing to Your Strengths
There is nothing like a beauty routine to help highlight aspects of your appearance that you are proud of, and perhaps detracting from areas that you don’t feel as comfortable in. Be aware that the art of complimenting and receiving compliments can be a tricky one to navigate at times. While it can be very affirming and uplifting to receive a comment about something that you’re proud of (such as fresh and healthy hair, or makeup that allows your eye colour to stand out), relying on external sources for validation too often can place us in a vulnerable position. Remember that self-worth must come from within to be enduring, and not dependant on the feedback of others.
Did you know that the average female has 40 beauty products in her cupboard, yet most only use 5 of them on any one day? Scary! To ensure that your beauty ethical footprint is, well, beautiful; ensure that the brands you buy are in line with your own philosophy. It’s easier than ever to check out the environmental ethos of your favourite brands, as well as their toxicity, or use of natural ingredients.
To reduce waste, opt for the bigger sized containers of your frequently used items, and recycle or reuse packaging wherever possible.
Jennifer Smallridge is a Melbourne-based exercise physiologist, lecturer, therapeutic yoga practitioner and bookworm. She is passionate about fresh books, loud laughter, and making time for movement every day.
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