In my mid-twenties, I was diagnosed with depression.
I was 24, overweight, unmotivated, and ridiculously and constantly tired. I saw all the signs that things weren't right in my life and decided to go see a therapist. It's not an exaggeration to say that she changed my life. Long story short, she gave me the courage to quit my job to travel, and I've now been living in Asia for the past four years.
But just because I'm seemingly living my dream life doesn't mean that my depression doesn't like to appear in my life from time to time. I have various methods for coping and making myself feel better, including exercising, treating myself to a healthy lunch, or spending time with friends. But my favorite way to make myself feel better is my own special form of meditation – my treat yo' self skincare ritual. For some people, yoga, morning coffee, daily journaling is their thing, their ritual.
Cleansing my face and carefully applying my skincare products is my thing. I know to some this might seem silly, but for me, it's the perfect way to show myself some love.
When I moved to Korea, I learned all about the elaborate and famous 10-step Korean skincare routine. I was initially hesitant, because really, who the hell has time to do 10 steps of skincare every day and night? But curiosity got the best of me, and I slowly started adding steps to my routine: oil cleansers, serums, sheet masks, oils, night creams, sunscreens, hydrating toners… the list goes on.
I even started applying my skincare in a different way, lightly tapping or pressing products into my skin using my fingertips and palms, instead of just rubbing it all over. I became obsessed with skincare, in the best way. Not only is my skincare routine responsible for making my skin look the best it's ever looked, but I've discovered it's one of the best ways to help me cope during my bad days with depression.
The great thing about a Korean skincare routine is that you don't have to specifically use Korean or Asian skincare products. The basic principle of a Korean skincare routine is layering – that is, putting on your skincare products in order from lightest consistency, to heaviest consistency, or least hydrating to most hydrating. You can use any products you'd like, from natural and organic to something you bought from CVS.
I use all Korean products because A) I love them, and B) I live in Asia and it's much easier for me to get Korean products rather than items from Sephora.
Below is my routine for having a healthy mind and healthy skin.
In the Morning:
- Cleanser – Cleanse with a gentle, pH balanced foaming cleanser.
- Toner – Tone to make sure my face is completely clean.
- Hydrating toner – A lightweight, watery, yet hydrating toner to balance the skin
- Hydrating serum – An extra layer of hydration
- Moisturizer – I use a gel cream type moisturizer, since it's pretty lightweight and not greasy.
- Sunscreen – There are a lot of articles arguing against whether or not you should put on sunscreen before or after your moisturizer, but I choose to use it after my moisturizer.
- Makeup – This includes primer, foundation, lip and eye makeup
In the Evening:
- Oil cleanser to remove makeup – One of the major commandants of the Korean skincare is double cleansing, or first using an oil based cleanser to remove makeup, followed by a foaming cleanser.
- Cleanser – A low pH foaming cleanser
- Toner -Tone to make sure my face is completely clean.
- Actives (AHA, BHA, Retinol, Vitamin C treatment/serum) – During this step, you normally allow your AHAs and BHAs time to work their magic.
- Hydrating toner – My skin is very dry after my actives, so I use a lightweight hydrating toner.
- Sheet mask – Sheet masks are magical. I use them every night, and leave on for at least 15 minutes.
- Serum – I use all sorts of serums, from hydrating to anti-aging. Serums typically target specific skin problems, such as aging, dry skin, acne, or dark spots.
- Eye cream/serum – Once you get older, I think eye cream is essential. I dab it on lightly with my pinky fingers.
- Night cream – At night, I use a thicker moisturizer. If I'm feeling really fancy, I'll add a few drops of oil to my cream for that extra boost of hydration.
I've always had a difficult time with traditional meditation, but my skincare routine is my ritual. It isn't just a way to justify my product junkie tendencies, but it's my own personal form of meditation. All of the steps on my skincare routine are my way of grounding myself. Every morning and night, I devote from 15 to 30 minutes to myself. I breathe. I sit quietly and reflect as I wait for my AHAs to do their thing. I repeat mantras as I cleanse my face. I read. I blast music and dance in my underwear while wearing a sheet mask. I marvel at how smooth and soft my skin is. I take selfies. I love myself.
On my bad days, my skincare routine is the one thing that I can look forward to. In today's busy world, it's sometimes hard to find time to focus on you, but my skincare routine is a non-negotiable. It doesn't matter how tired I am, how many drinks I've had, or how sad I feel, I always find that time in my day to take care of me.
What do you do to show yourself love?
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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