5 Things You Can Do in the Name of "Self-Care"
We all get tired. We’re only human. We fall, we thrive, we go through stagnant periods. Ups and downs. It’s normal! Amidst all that, it’s important to take care and prioritise yourself! So here are some things you can do to treat yourself and your body with a little kindness throughout your day:
1. Wear sunscreen
You may ask: why is sunscreen so important? Well to put it simply, sunscreen is a preventative measure that protects your skin from harmful UV rays which can cause sun damage to your skin. It reduces the likelihood of sunburn and halves the risk of contracting skin cancers.
There are two types of sunscreens: physical and chemical. A physical sunscreen is just as its name suggests. The sunscreen will act as a physical barrier on your skin against harmful UV rays. On the other hand, a chemical sunscreen will absorb the UV rays and convert it into heat, which is then released from the body.
But... I understand that Singapore is hot, hot hot! And maybe that’s why you’ve been putting off wearing sunscreen - fret not! There are a variety of sunscreens out there in the market made of different formulations and catering to different skin concerns (normal, dry, oily, or combination skin)! So here are some links to various lists of different sunscreens that may be most suitable for you.
Best sunscreens that are suitable for your skin type! Beauty Within, a YouTube channel exploring the world of skincare, beauty and wellness, gives product reviews of sunscreens for normal, dry, oily and combination skin: https://youtu.be/xrXk75h73jY
Sunscreens that are POC-friendly. YouTuber Aysha Harun recommends chemical, physical, and clean sunscreens that work for dark skin - YES to inclusivity! https://youtu.be/jGDMnozdD1Y
Sunscreens recommended by the OG Beauty Guru Michelle Phan. She’s been wearing sunscreen since she was 14! She explains why finding the right sunscreen for you will pay off in the long run in her video. https://youtu.be/PrgLUKcFarc
Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk, a hybrid of both chemical and physical sunscreens, is my personal favourite!
SUPERGOOP! Unseen Sunscreen gives a velvety finish when worn on its own but for makeup lovers, this sunscreen can double as a primer or base for your makeup
Fun fact: For makeup-lovers, you may notice that some foundations are marketed as already having SPF in their product, but Beauty Within’s video, “Everything You Need to Know About Sunscreen ☀️Wearing With Makeup + How to Apply in Skincare Routine,” at 7:37 will show why you should not rely on makeup for sun protection!
2. Drink your water!
Almost 60% of our body is made up of water! Body fluids play key roles in functions like creation of saliva, digestion, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. With fluid losses occurring continuously from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool, these losses must be replaced daily to maintain good health, as said by medical professionals. Other benefits of water includes:
Calorie control: Water has zero calories, fat, or sugar as compared to higher calorie drinks. It certainly is the healthier option!
Better-looking skin: Your skin contains water and acts as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. Dehydration may make your skin look dry and wrinkled which can be prevented with proper hydration. Essentially, water flushes out toxins and leaves you with healthy and glowing skin. (That being said, don’t forget to apply your moisturiser to help lock in the moisture in your skin!)
Improves bodily function: Water keeps your muscles energised and helps you maintain normal bowel function. Water really is our body’s best friend, so show your body some love and drink more water!
Strengthen the mind: Water enhances your ability to focus and reduces any daytime fatigue. Drink water to stay energised so that your spirits are lifted and you can maintain productivity throughout the day.
You have probably heard that you should drink at least 8 cups of water (that’s about 2 litres of water) in a day. However, that is just the minimum! You should actually drink 1 litre of water for every 1000 calories you expend. So yes, please stay well-hydrated, everyone!
3. Hugs, smiles, and all things soft all around!
Thanks to social media, I’ve discovered that I’m in need of more hugs! Virginia Satir, a family therapist, asserts,“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
When I first read that, I remember thinking, "Oh, that makes sense, I've just been deprived of hugs all this while, so I guess I should hug people more." It encouraged me to work on my love language, for myself and those around me!
During a hug, oxytocin or “cuddle hormones”, a hormone that reduces anxiety and calms us, are released. During a 20-second hug, oxytocin can lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone norepinephrine. Hugs also reduce the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Hugs do have intangible benefits as well, like helping to boost self-esteem. Touch is a type of love language and may help to foster safety, care, and a sense of community or belonging. So hug a friend!
If you're feeling fancier, the pressure of weighted blankets is said to simulate the feeling of being hugged while simultaneously providing warmth and a sense of security! This also produces oxytocin, creating feelings of relaxation and ease. Hugs are definitely cheaper, though! If physical touch is not your love language, there are certainly other ways to spread love and joy. Give someone a smile, offer a listening ear, or make someone laugh!
On that note, let me share this hadith with you:
"Every good is charity. Indeed among the good is to meet your brother with a smiling face, and to pour what is left in your bucket into the vessel of your brother." (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1970, Book 27, Hadith 76)
4. Take breaks when you need them!
Taking breaks is good for you! I feel that sometimes, society is overly focused on ‘over-working’ and that anything done that does not produce certain ‘results’ is considered ‘unproductive’ - I humbly disagree! I believe that when life gets overwhelming, what’s important is that you know not to give up but to take breaks and just rest for a little while.
A break lets you recover and rejuvenate so that you can get back to doing whatever it is you were doing before, re-energised! After all, we’re humans, not machines.
So treat yourself to a face mask, read your favourite book, take a nap, get a full night's sleep, eat that cupcake you’ve been craving for, or do some bullet journalling - whatever that gives you peace of mind! You deserve it. If you’re a person who loves to have important matters close and within reach, these wellness apps (free versions available) may interest you:
Daylio Journal: A mood tracker.
Habit - Daily Tracker: A habit tracker which can be personalised to the goals you’ve set for yourself e.g. how many times a week you exercise. It shows detailed statistics of your progress and improvement.
Sanvello: Anxiety & Depression (formerly known as “Pacifica”): mental health app. It’s ‘thought section’ under ‘tools’ is said to be a simplified version of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Tools (CBT). The app also has meditation tracks, inspirational quotes, and symptom tracking.
Often, life can feel like a really long marathon or race with no finishing line. We can end up being too wrapped up in worldly affairs that we forget what is important. Set aside some time to reconnect with your faith, spirituality, and mind. Certainly, there are many ways to do just that. Our fellow ELEVEN member, Laili, listens to her favourite playlist of nasyid songs! Go ahead and give it a listen, you may just discover a new favourite (or favourites) too! Everybody works differently. I hope you find some “self-care” tips that are useful for your person and lifestyle! It’s important to be kind to others but don’t forget to be kind to yourself too!