1) we want to look the best we can – for ourselves, for our mates, just because
2) we’re suckers for a slick marketing/advertising campaign
3) we’re too busy caring for and worrying about everyone else to pamper ourselves properly
Now….I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll but I can neither AFFORD all the crap that is advertised nowadays as the next ‘miraculous’ beauty treatment nor do I have the time to apply/use them all.
So, where is the common sense approach in all of this? And just so everyone know, every single thing I suggest here I’m going to DO for the next 30 days and report back.
I’m as bad as the next working/busy mom – I do and do and do and fall into bed remembering all I didn’t get done – and doing for myself rarely makes the ‘done’ list.
Let’s take it step by step….
Ok, let’s start with the basics – Health and Nutrition!
1) Water – well, this is simple – drink plenty of it. This is a challenge for me because I’d MUCH rather be drinking a cup of strong coffee! But, my goal for this 30 days is to drink 4 16 oz bottles of water per day. Need a reminder of why water is important? Read this post: http://natural-holistic-health.com/general/nutrition/10-reasons-to-drink-more-water/
2) This may seem like it’s ridiculous, but it’s not. Laughter. Laughter is the best medicine, right? Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits.
a) Laughter gives our bodies a good workout. Laughter can be a great workout for your diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It massages abdominal organs, tones intestinal functioning, and strengthens the muscles that hold the abdominal organs in place. Not only does laughter give your midsection a workout, it can benefit digestion and absorption functioning as well. It is estimated that hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the rowing machine or the exercise bike.
b) Laughter lowers blood pressure. People who laugh heartily on a regular basis have lower standing blood pressure than the average person. When people have a good laugh, initially the blood pressure increases, but then it decreases to levels below normal. Breathing then becomes deeper which sends oxygen enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body.
c) Laughter protects the heart. Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to the study at the University of Maryland Medical Center (cited above). The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
If you can’t find anything to laugh about, well, just stop a minute to think of a world where women went on strike and men had to assume our roles/duties! Now THAT would be tragically hilarious!
2) Ease up on caffeinated beverages. This is another toughie for me because of the love of coffee I mentioned above, but also because my #2 favorite drink is Coca-Cola (hey, at least I’m honest about it!). So, what I’m doing is replacing 3 cups of coffeee or 3 glasses of coke (or combination of) with 3 cups of green tea sweetened with honey. I do love green tea – and the benefits of green tea are impressive. Want to read about those? They are listed in this post: http://natural-holistic-health.com/general/the-benefits-of-green-tea/
3) Eat breakfast. Now, I HATE eating breakfast – I’m never hungry and if I eat a large breakfast I become nauseated. But, when I eat nothing, I end up going hours on ONLY coffee and then binge eat like a starving, rabid person. The way I’ve solved this? I bought generic Ensure (chocolate flavor, of course) and drink one of those each morning. It gives me something substantial AND gives me some protein. I’ve actually lost weight doing this, even without changing any other part of my lifestyle.
4) Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Substitute snacks of cookies or chips with an apple, fresh broccoli sprinkled with Olive Oil and Lemon, a spinach salad, etc…you get the idea.
5) Cut down on anything with high Saturated Fat (fried foods!) and refined flours and eat more fish (especially Alaskan Salmon), turkey and chicken. Diet IS linked to Acne – no matter what the ‘experts’ may say. Want to know more? Check out Dr. Perricone’s site.
6) Take your vitamins. Of course, we could make a list 3 miles long of so-called ‘amazing’ supplements, right? Well, I have three goals with my supplements: 1) general good health 2) heart health (heart disease runs in my family) and 3) beauty.
Here’s what I take:
1) A solid Multi-Vitamin will help you get all of the nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals you may need. Although, remember, the best way to get what your body needs is by eating right!
2) Alpha Lipoic Acid – Alpha Lipoic Acid, also known as lipoic acid is a powerful, natural antioxidant slowly becoming recognized as having some unique properties in the therapy and prevention of a broad range of diseases. We have all heard the term “free radicals” in connection with youth and aging. Antioxidants are what help battle these free radicals and keep us healthier and younger looking.
3) Hair, Skin and Nails by Rexall (great multi-vitamin specifically for hair, skin and nails that includes Biotin!)
4) Fish oil – 2000 mg a day – great for heart and for soft skin and terrific source of Omega-3s – More info on Fish Oil here: http://natural-holistic-health.com/herbal-product-spotlight/xtend-lifes-omega-3-dha-esters/
6) Vitamin B-Complex – Over 60 different bodily enzymes require vitamin B6 to perform properly. In addition, vitamin B12 relies upon its B cousin for assistance in adequate absorption into our bodies. Vitamin B6 promotes healthy skin and hair; therefore, it is not suprising that a B6 deficiency could easily lead to a skin disorder. I personally love No Shot B-12 and B-6 by Superior Source.
7) DMAE – DMAE can lift ones mood level to a more positive side, counter depression and bad moods, and raise and improve cognitive functions (such as memory and concentration), dmae can even increase intelligence. Physician’s closely watching patients on DMAE have reported that such people are more. upbeat, and have greater positive mental acuity. Also, people taking it often, have reported sleeping depper and having much more energy when awake. Finally, one of the most promsosing DMAE benefits is that it promotes healthy skin, by stopping the process of arachidonic acid being manufactured, which is a substance that can lead to wrinkles and aging of the skin. Because of these purposes, the nutrient can be taken internally as nutritional supplement or applied orally through certain creams.
8) Cod Liver Oil – Healthy skin, Strong bones and teeth, Healthy joints, A healthy cardiovascular system, A healthy nervous system and prevention of depression and other mood disorders, A healthy lining for your digestive tract
Now, isn’t it funny that things we do for ‘health’ have the side-benefit of improving beauty?
Here’s two more suggestions for general health AND beauty – and ones I will swear by!
1) Dry skin brushing – The skin-brushing itself will change the health of your whole body. Circulation, skin softness and quality, skin infections and irritations, whole body freshness, treatment of cellulite, your level of stimulation, the prevention of colds, and you personal rejuvenation are all areas of improvement you can look for, when you make it to a regular habit.
What brush to use? Well, even though there are ‘specialty’ skin brushes sold for 60 bucks and more (eye roll) I’ve found that a normal natural bristle brush – made by Goody and available at any drug store, WalMart, Target or Kmart – works JUST as well. Don’t get caught up in the marketing!!!!
The best instructions I’ve found on how to dry skin brush are from http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/HealingTechniques/Dry_Brushing_Technique.htm
How to Dry Brush (Easy, Fast Instructions):
1) Begin with your feet and brush vigorously in circular motions.
2) Continue brushing up your legs.
3) Proceed to your hands and arms.
4) Brush your entire back and abdomen area, shoulders and neck.
5) Use circular counter-clockwise strokes on the abdomen.
6) Lightly brush the breasts.
7) Brush upwards on the back and down from the neck. Better yet, have a friend, spouse or family member brush your back.
After brushing, take a hot shower with soap (about three minutes in duration), followed by a 10-20 second cold rinse. Repeat this procedure three times. If the hot/cold showers are too extreme, a warm shower can be used. Follow the shower with a rubdown with either a sponge or towel to remove dead skin.
2) Now, once a week, follow your dry skin brushing with this instead of with a shower….A detox bath.
My first question about these were….”HUH? What FOR????” So, here’s what for:
Detox baths are a simple and valuable adjunct to normal self-care health maintenance. They can be very helpful in facilitating the elimination of toxins that are released into systemic circulation by massage and bodywork therapies, as well as encouraging the ongoing immune and eliminative functions of the skin. Best of all, baths are enjoyable and relaxing — medicine that “tastes good.”
Epsom salts baths provide a broad spectrum cleanser, clearing lymphatic congestion, removing some heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminum, arsenic), and eliminating residual radiation from medical tests (X-rays or CAT scans), computer monitors and televisions, and UV exposure from frequent air travel.
Baking Soda & Sea Salt – A hot bath with equal parts of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and sea salt assists in detoxification from exposure to heavy metals and radiation. It is also beneficial for cleansing the auric field and for soothing itchy skin. Sea salt is recommended, as opposed to rock salt or common table salt, which are depleted of nourishing minerals.
Hydrogen Peroxide – Adding hydrogen peroxide to bathwater increases oxygen available to the body. One of the reasons rain feels so refreshing is because the moisture (H2O) in the air picks up an extra molecule of oxygen (O2) as it interacts with ozone (O3) in the atmosphere, and as the raindrops fall they contain an abundance of this natural hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). When hydrogen peroxide is added to bathwater, the extra molecule of oxygen is released. The famous healing waters of Lourdes, in France, contain concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide baths often leave the body feeling alert and revitalized, like spending a day in the fresh country air. This gentle bath is antibacterial, antiviral and cleansing to the emotional and energetic bodies. It is believed to be helpful in eliminating some chemicals and some radiation from body tissues. It has been found to be a good support during chemotherapy.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar baths restore a natural pH to the skin and hair, as well as rejuvenate and build up the body’s resistance. This bath helps restore acid mantle protection to the skin, which is lost from swimming and from routine use of soaps on the skin. Thus, apple cider vinegar baths help combat “unfriendly” bacteria, fungal overgrowth, and are helpful with vaginal and bladder infections. Apple cider vinegar baths are soothing to the skin, alleviating itchiness, poison ivy and sunburn discomfort. As with all hot baths, it causes the pores to open and aids in general systemic detoxification. Apple cider vinegar contains potassium, phosphorus, natural sodium, magnesium, natural fluoride, iron, silicon, sulfur, and other trace minerals which are nourishing to the skin.
Now for the bath recipe:
Fill the tub with water
* 1/2 cup sea salt
* 1/2 cup of baking soda
* 1/2 cup of Epsom salt
* 1/2 cup of peroxide
* 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
* 20 drops of oregano oil (optional)
Add to bath water, stir until dissolved. Bathe in water for at least 20 minutes
On to the Face and Neck!
Ok, no matter WHAT the ads tell you, the BEST things you can do for your skin are:
1) Drink plenty of water
2) Get enough good rest
3) Minimize Stress – and don’t STAY stressed – breathe, meditate, dance, whatever it takes to de-stress (remember “laughter” above???)
4) Good nutrition – you’d think this would be a ‘duh’ – but it really is one of the most often over-looked must-do’s
5) Exercise – yes, exercise – walking, running, aerobics, yoga – heck I blast my 80s rock and 70s disco while the kids are at school and dance like an idiot while no one is home to watch! No one says exercise has to be boring, ritualized nor uniform. And, dancing has the added benefit of being FUN
7) LOVE YOUR SKIN – ok, this sounds silly, but I’m serious. Thought creates reality. What the mind professes, the body expresses. Love your skin. Massage it, caress it, LOVE IT.
Now, for some no- and low-cost solutions for your skin….
1) Facial massage. Forget the creams for a minute. The single thing (besides general good health) that will benefit your face? Massage. Seriously. Wrinkles? Massage them. Sagging jaws? Massage them. Double chin? Again, Massage. Now, you can do this with your finger tips, with your favorite *rounded end* crystal or even with an electro-acupuncture device. But, bottom line is, massage!
You can combine the following facial exercises with your skin care program. Due to the fact that skin responds well to this type of stimulation, you will see results in lines, complexion, tone and elasticity. As an added bonus, this type of massage strengthens the underlying muscles and results in the signs of aging becoming diminished.
Use the balls of your fingertips as well as the palms of your hands. For all exercises, use gentle, but firm, pressure – this is not supposed to hurt!
If you notice that some spots you massage are tender this means you are probably hitting the precise spots. Tenderness will diminish and disappear altogether with time.
Toning around the eyes
Using your favorite moisturizer or essential oil blend, use your middle fingers to work around each eye simultaneously. Use slight pressure – be gentle with the eye area – and circle the eyes from the inside corner of your eybrows, following the entire eybrow, and back around to where you started.
Repeat this circular massage 30-35 times (in one sitting) each day.
This type of stimulation of the facial muscles will tone, relax and increase circulation to the eye area, which in turn results in diminished signs of aging.
Revitalizing the Eyes
In this exercise, the acupressure point at the side of your face, approximately 1/4 inch past the outside corner of your eye (this is right on the outer curve of the bone around the eye), is stimulated. The second point to stimulate is directly in line and under your pupil on the top edge of the cheekbone.
This massage can soften lines and wrinkles in the eye area. Starting with the corner points, press each simultaneously for 3 seconds and then release for a count of three. Do this 30 times and then move on to the point on the cheek bone. Do all of this in one sitting and repeat these sets 3 times a day if possible.
Full Facial Acupressure Treatment
This is similar to the above exercise except it involves many more points. It is recommended that you do this full facial acupressure treatment twice per week. Follow the hold and press with the balls of your fingertips instructions from the Revitalizing the Eyes exercise. All points which are on both sides of the face, do simultaneously. The forehead, upper lip and chin points are done singly.
You can combine therapies with this easily by choosing a rounded-end crystal with which to press/hold or massage your face. This incorporates the healing power of crystals as well as color healing into your beauty massage routine.
This is the premium face lift acupressure massage routine. Trust me, if you get into the habit of doing this, you WILL notice a difference in your face and you won’t have spent a dime to get it.
2) Water – yes, yes, I know I spouted off about water before, but it’s important. Internally AND externally. Make SURE you wash your face twice a day – finishing the wash with a cool water rinse. And, when you have a few spare minutes….don’t just hastily put the cleanser on and rinse off – take a couple minutes to massage your face – during the wash and during the rinse.
3) Oxygen – I know this sounds silly, but oxygen is important – as a matter of fact, it’s crucial. So, BREATHE – breathe deep and long. Start by breathing in for a count of 4 and out for a count of four – do this five times. See if you can work your way up to a count of 15 – practice it throughout the day, but do it at *least* once a day. Sun and free radicals aren’t the only things that cause wrinkles, ya know – stress does too. And what do we do when stressed? We breath more shallow, our heart rate goes up, our digestion stops, our blood pressure goes up and blood is diverted to the limbs from all ‘non-essential’ body systems. Bring the blood and oxygen back – BREATHE. Speaking of oxygen… try to get some fresh air each day too!
2) DMAE Cream – This is a must and be sure to get one that also has Vitamin C and Alpha Lipoic Acid. The combination of Alpha Lipoic Acid, Vitamin C Ester and DMAE Cream has been proven as an unbeatable anti-aging Skin Care treatment. DMAE Cream has been called “face lift in a jar” by some skin specialists. It helps firm and tighten facial and neck skin. With continued use, it helps strengthen and stabilize cells’ plasma membrane for a more defined youthful appearance.
3) Sunscreen – I know, I know, you’ve heard it before! Well, listen this time! Protect your face from the sun! Excessive sun exposure is one of the leading cause of wrinkles and dry skin.
4) Using essential oils for beauty instead of chemicals – I LOVE essential oils (which is probably why I became a Certified Aromatherapist!) – Oils are amazing. They penetrate the skin and they can address all sorts of complexion issues and skin conditions. Essential oils have a profound effect on skin. And, although I don’t have room to tout the benefits of every oil, here are the top contenders:
a) Helichrysum – Great for Skin Conditions (Eczema, dermatitis, Psoriasis) May help blood Circulation, Scar Tissue, and varicose veins. It helps regenerate tissue, Detoxify and stimulate liver cell function.
b) Bergamot – Anti-inflammatory (Acne IS an inflammatory disease, remember!) Helps oily complexion.
c) Carrot Seed – Amazing for Skin Care. Carrot Seed is awesome for Dry Skin, Wrinkles, Eczema, Psoriasis
d) Cedarwood – may help with Acne, Anxiety, Dandruff, Psoriasis, skin diseases. It also helps to reduce oily skin.
e) German Chamomile – Promotes the regeneration of skin and can be used for abscesses, Burns, Rashes, cuts, and dermatitis. It is also helpful for Acne, Eczema, infected nails, sores, Skin Disorders, Stress-related complaints, and wounds.
f) Roman Chamomile – Neutralizes Allergies and increases the ability of the skin to regenerate. It is a Cleanser of the blood and also helps the liver discharge poisons. This oil may help with Allergies, Bruises, cuts, Depression, Insomnia, Muscle Tension, nerves (calming and promoting nerve health), and Skin Conditions such as Acne, dermatitis, Eczema, Rashes and sensitive skin.
g) Elemi – Widely regarded today for protecting and rejuvenating the skin, reducing Wrinkles and Scarring and stimulating nerves.
h) Geranium – Balances the sebum, which is the fatty secretion in the sebaceous glands of the skin that keep the skin supple. Helps cleanse oily skin and restores and enlivens pale skin.
i) Jasmine – Beneficial for the skin, uplifting. Ideal for Skin Care and for dry, oily, irritated or sensitive skin.
j) Rosewood – May create skin elasticity and is soothing to the skin. It is recognized for its ability to get rid of Candida of the skin and slow the aging process. It may also be beneficial for cuts, tissue regeneration and wounds. It helps to create a synergism with all other oils.
To read more about using essential oils for beauty, click here: http://natural-holistic-health.com/alternative-therapies/aromatherapy/essential-oils-for-beauty/
The Challenge….Are Ya Up For It?
Here’s my challenge – to myself and all of you (and I want to HEAR about if you did it, how well you did and what results you had!!!)
1) Take one hour a day for ME. I know I waste at LEAST an hour a day on stupid stuff (such as worrying, staring off into space, whatever) In that hour I will enjoy washing my face, doing my acupressure massage, my slow/deep breathing and my dry skin brushing. That’ll take, what? 30 minutes? Ok, the other 30 minutes is going to be yoga or dancing or any other form of exercise I can think of – even climbing the steps in my house 15 times in a row – whatever it takes!
2) I will drink at least 4 bottles of water a day
3) I will replace ONE snack a day with a yummy fruit or vegetable.
4) I will replace 3 cups of coffee and/or 3 glasses of coke with 3 cups of green tea (or herbal tea).
5) I will take my vitamins
6) I will LIKE me, dangit – I will remind myself at least once a day that I’m pretty cool and I will spend a few minutes just enjoying being me.
7) Once a week I will do the detox bath and the full facial massage – twice a week on the massage if I can fit it in.
8) I will at LEAST drink a protein/Ensure drink every morning to get my day started right. (heck, a V-8 would work too!)
9) I will LAUGH
10) I won’t stop doing this when the month is over nor will I ‘give up’ on the plan altogether if I get too busy or forget to stick to my plan!
Your turn….and remember, you gotta let me know how you do!
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