I don’t know who you are or what you’re up to on this fine Friday, but I’m pretty sure you could use a break. It doesn’t take a sixth sense to feel that energy through a computer screen—I mean, it’s kind of why you’re on this site in the first place, no? Now, there’s been lots of talk about how to keep up your beauty routine at home, and as the writer of several pertinent guides, I really hope that’s helping! But for the folks for whom the thought of trying to finesse a professional treatment is just adding to the stress, here’s a friendly reminder that you don’t have to do any of it. Beauty should feel joyful, not like an obligation, and you certainly shouldn’t feel any less-than if you choose to forgo certain beauty practices right now. So this weekend, why don’t you take that much-needed break? Here’s how to start:
Instead of worrying about a manicure, why not...
Focus on moisturizing
Between all the extra hand washing as of late and all the extra dish washing that comes with standing breakfast, lunch, and dinner reservations at Chez You, your nails are taking a hit. Maybe you don’t know how to do them, or if you do know, maybe you don’t have the time to maintain them. In which case, now’s the time to remind yourself that your nails are but a small part of your very capable hands. You can cook with them, and paint with them, and make tiny, extremely realistic dioramas with them. (I don’t know what you do on your off hours...) If you’re a healthcare professional, your hands are keeping other people safe. And if you’re an essential worker, your hands are keeping our lives running. Thank you, hands! Instead of worrying about keeping them polished, remind yourself that even rough-around-the-edges hands are great hands, and reward them for their service with a quick massage. Not only does it feel good, but taking a moment to rub in some cream or oil also helps keep your skin and nails healthy, which over time will make them look better naturally. A win-win.
Instead of buying new makeup, why not…
Make a makeup moodboard
Only you and your bank account know if it’s a good time for you to online shop. What I do know is that your beauty budget might feel a lot like those skinny jeans from high school you keep for Reasons. Instead of stress shopping and feeling bad about it (or not shopping and feeling bad about it), consider the humble moodboard. It’ll help you organize your thoughts, act as a creative outlet, and give you something to get excited about trying in the future. When social distancing ends you’ll be out there serving looks, honey! With references! You’re a regular ‘ol Teddy Quinlivan now—and all it took was zero dollars.
Instead of feeling guilty that you haven’t been working out, why not…
Read a book in the bathtub
I’m the first to admit that I hate working out. I do it not because it feels good (it doesn’t), but because it feels productive. I was on a real kick with it for a while! But since being home, I’ve worked out a total of… one time. I just haven’t been in the mood. But while crunches are a good way to feel productive at home, so are lots of other things, like doing a crossword (exercise for the mind!) or learning a new skill (exercise for the personality!). Take it back a notch, and the easiest, comfiest, most luxurious way to feel productive while giving yourself a break is to run a bath, crack open a book, and slide on in. You can even add some oil to the tub for extra productivity—you’re literally giving yourself a full-body moisturizing treatment just by sitting there! Even more low-commitment: a movie. Just pick one you’ve never seen and watch it all the way through. When you’ve finished, you’ll get that same gold-star feeling of accomplishment you get at the end of a workout. It feels good.
Instead of doing an at-home facial, why not…
Try to avoid mirrors for 24 hours
Maybe it’s just me, but I get a lot more critical towards myself when I’m looking in the mirror a lot. I start to pop things that I really shouldn’t be touching, which makes me red, so I’ll use skincare to try to calm the irritation and treat the breakouts, and I’ll overdo it. That leads to stress—and more breakouts. And more time in front of the mirror. We talk about social media fatigue, but what about mirror fatigue? I’m certain we’ve never looked at our own faces more at any time in history. What would happen if you avoided mirrors for just one day? Brush your teeth in the kitchen! Cover your medicine cabinet with a sheet! Don’t open your front-facing camera! You can’t be harsh on your face if you can’t see it. Make the day more fun by pretending you’re living in the 16th century (before mirrors were commonplace household objects) and work words like “couch a hogshead” and “lily-livered” into your vocabulary. Pillicock!
Instead of making a rash hair decision, why not…
Cook a recipe you’ve never tried before
Because making a big hair change is all about control, right? It’s why some pro hairstylists won’t let you cut bangs, or go red, or get a perm when you’ve just gotten your heart broken. With the world so chaotic right now, it can feel good to make a decision to try something new, rather than to let something new happen unto you. But instead of joining the expanding flock of e-girls who will probably take over the hairwaves at the end of all this, maybe start with something less dramatic? Like, say, an adventurous recipe? You have to eat anyway! It’ll scratch the itch for A) a new experience and B) an afternoon activity. And if you screw it up and hate the results, it’s not like you’ve committed to it indefinitely! Just go back to an old standard the next day. Low stakes, high possibility for reward, and an easy reminder that you are the master of your own (culinary) destiny.
Photo via ITG