There’s a funny meme making the rounds. In response to a tweet promoting an article about “how Oprah manages to stay stress free at 64,” writer Kazeem Famuyide quips, “Step 1: have a billion dollars.” While stress certainly doesn’t discriminate, and even the mega-rich are susceptible to it, most of us likely feel that being wealthy would solve a heck of a lot of problems — and make the remaining ones much easier to handle. Imagine being able to have daily massages and spa treatments to help your body slough off stress, or to relax with a glass of wine that doesn’t come out of box (not that there’s anything wrong with a good cardboardeux, mind you!).
Alas, very few of us have unlimited resources when it comes to our coping mechanisms and self-care rituals. In fact, money — or the lack thereof — is often the top stressor in our lives. However, there are still plenty of ways to treat your body and spirit with the kindness and even pampering they deserve. Read on for our best stress-busting beauty tips!
Get Your H20
If you do none of the other tips on our list, you’re bound to look and feel good if you drink an adequate supply of water each day. Staying properly hydrated takes care of several different functions in the body. Water helps flush waste material from the body in the form of urine, bowel movements, and sweat. It cushions and lubricates our joints, helps us regulate our body temperature, and performs many other important roles.
Different people need different amounts of water each day. Aim for about 12 cups, or 96 oz. day. Another good indicator that you are well-hydrated is if your urine is clear or very pale yellow. If it’s dark yellow, drink more water!
Don’t like the taste of plain water? Infuse it with fruit, or make herbal tea. Try a flavored, sparkling variety. And remember that we get a fair amount of water in the foods we eat, so up your intake of watermelon and other melons, cucumber, strawberry, even cauliflower.
On Food: Try to Do a Little Better
Yeah, we know. You’ve heard it all before, but you hate salads, abhor quinoa, and if you never eat another egg-white omelet, it will be too soon.
Don’t worry; we’re not going to force anything down your throat — literally or figuratively. But it might be time to rethink the way you approach nourishing yourself. There is no rule that you must eat kale, or even romaine, for that matter. Get your greens not from salads, but from a morning smoothie, a big glass of green juice, or a flavor-packed soup.
Ditch the quinoa and find an alternative grain to form the basis of your Buddha bowls — which, by the way, are one of the best ways to eat loads of good stuff and have it taste good, too. Pile a bunch of veggies on top of some barley, rice, or farro, and top it with wasabi vinaigrette or tahini-yogurt dressing.
Don’t like egg-white omelets? Don’t eat them! Instead, eat something you do like, and stop following silly conventions like “breakfast food.” Plenty of people around the world eat ramen or pho for breakfast, and you can too.
(The same philosophy goes for exercise, by the way. If you have to force yourself to run, it might get your heart pumping, but it’s not doing your soul any good. Find a way to move your body that feels right to you. Whether it’s hiking in the woods, kickboxing, doing yoga, or dancing to 80s new wave, it will serve you better if it’s enjoyable and something you get to do, rather than something you have to do.)
Tend to Your Skin
More than any other aspect of your appearance, your skin will telegraph to others how healthy (or un-) you truly are. And although American women are bombarded with advertisements and articles exhorting pricey skin care products, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: you don’t need them. Many women find that their skin thrives on simple, back- to-basics care.
Wash your face with a gentle, handmade soap, or use cold cream or micellar water to remove makeup. Exfoliate once or twice a week, making sure you don’t use any products with microbeads, which are absolutely terrible for the environment. Be sure to use sunscreen as well as an after-sun moisturizer. Whenever possible, choose all-natural skin care products that contain wholesome ingredients like olive oil, honey, goat’s milk, and oatmeal.
How to Do Self-Care Right
Amid all the ballyhoo about self-care, it’s important to remember to keep things simple. You do not need brand-name bath bombs, $12-a-slice avocado toast, or cashmere throws to take care of yourself. What you do need is to listen to your own heart, say no once in a while, be a bit more selfish with your time and energy, and above all, do what makes you feel good.