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Self-Love: In the Spotlyte

Heather Edwards Mental Health Counseling / Lifestyle  / Self-Love: In the Spotlyte

Self-Love: In the Spotlyte

Self-love at times, evades us all. Spotlyte writer, AUDREY NOBLE interviewed me on the topic of self-love. Find out what it means and how to make it a daily practice. Here’s her article…

 For many people (including us!), the pressure of making and sticking to New Year’s resolutions is completely daunting. We’ve tried everything from just choosing one to making them as simple as possible in hopes of actually committing, but life gets in the way and hey, we’re only human. That’s why for 2019, we’re really switching it up: we’re changing the way we think about resolutions entirely.

If you, too, are hoping to actually resolve your resolutions by year’s end, join us. Ditch overly challenging tasks that involve a strict schedule or ban you completely from doing something and instead, aim for something more flexible. It also helps if your goals are related to a passion topic, such as beauty and self-care. Here, we’ve created four beauty and wellness resolutions that you — and we — can totally achieve this year, from being kinder to ourselves to being gentler on our strands.

Stocksy United / Laura Austin

Practice self-love.

We are our own harshest critics. Whether we compare ourselves to others on social media or are overwhelmed by the state of the world (did you know eight in 10 Americans call themselves stressed?), there is a lot of negativity that we end up internalizing. Our mental health and well-being should always be a priority, and the first big step is looking at the way we speak to ourselves.

Studies show that self-affirmation can lessen depression and improve our overall health. It also helps clear our heads and makes us more productive. (We know — that sounds easier said than done.) Luckily, the past few years we’ve seen a revolution in self-care and there are plenty of ways to help you practice some self-love.

“Self-love is the act of genuine care and compassion toward oneself,” says mental health counselor and licensed therapist Heather Edwards. “It requires an openness and awareness of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and a desire to make them a priority in your life.”

Edwards suggests setting boundaries and saying “no” more often as first steps to showing love to yourself. “When you are feeling taken for granted, anxious, or upset, it can mean that a boundary of yours has been crossed,” she says. “It’s up to you to honor them and let others know your limits.” From there, you can also do things such as writing in a journal, exercising, and meditating to check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling and clear your head from any negative thinking.

“When you pause, reflect, and catch [negative thinking], you can challenge it and reframe it to something positive or neutral,” she says. “Interrupting that cycle is key in beginning to change the neural pathways responsible for the negative thought patterns.” So in 2019, let’s be a bit more gentle with ourselves. We all deserve to love ourselves more.

Stocksy United / Sean Locke

Make that yearly dermatologist appointment.

One of the things many people let slide are their dermatology checkups. “People often are afraid of the unknown with the dermatologist,” says dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group™ Michele Farber, MD. “It is not as common as going to the primary care [doctor] and they do not always know what to expect with these visits.” She adds, “It also can be intimidating to go in for a check as people can be body-conscious and for any person it is not always fun to bare all for a skin check.”

We know you’ve likely heard how essential it is to visit your derm for yearly skin screenings. But Farber stresses its importance for helping finding skin cancer when it is still treatable and reviewing healthy skin habits. According to her, the 99 percent survival rate when melanoma is caught early enough drops to between 64 and 23 percent once it spreads to lymph nodes, depending on if it is localized or widespread. It takes only 15 minutes and you just have to go (at the very minimum!) once a year. Little time commitment for a lifetime benefit? Sign us up ASAP.

Stocksy United / Ania Boniecka

Cut back on using hot tools.

We love our trusty hair straighteners and curling irons, but our favorite hot hair tools can damage our hair when used too often. “Hot tools are a great, quick, and efficient way to style hair, but long-term use can cause breakage and dry the hair out significantly,” explains celebrity hairstylist Eloise Cheung. “As amazing as hot tools are, they should be regarded as a special treat that should be used more for special occasions.”

But you don’t have to break up with hot tools altogether — you have a few options to ensure you don’t destroy your strands. Cheung suggests experimenting with different hairstyles that don’t require the use of hot tools once in a while, such as braiding or simply putting it up. If you are desperate for some waves and volume, she says to tie your hair in loose buns and wrap a silk scarf around your head when you sleep to create soft waves in the morning.

When you do use hair tools, she says to avoid starting with the highest heat setting. Similarly, use a tool that distributes heat evenly, like one from the line of T3® micro products, which were specifically designed to be as gentle as possible on the hair. Cheung also recommends using products that hydrate your hair regularly, such as a weekly hair mask (we like Rene Furterer® Cathame Gentle Hydro-Nutritive Mask, $32). Incorporating a heat protectant spray, such as John Masters Organics® Green Tea and Calendula Conditioning Mist ($24), into your styling routine will also help nourish hair and prevent moisture loss. Make these tweaks so you can style safely without ditching your hot tools forever.

Stocksy United / Studio Firma

Throw out expired beauty products.

Whether it’s a fancy brand that looks great for that #IGselfie or something you save exclusively for special occasions, we’re all guilty of keeping — and using — products for a really, really long time. While they may look like they’re OK to use, you might want to rethink that choice.

In a recent study, which shared that 98 percent of participants were using makeup well past its expiration date, 79 percent of expired products were contaminated with infection-causing bacteria. This is especially concerning when considering that those products were mostly eye formulas. Infections from out-of-date makeup could be as “minor” as breakouts to as extreme as life-endangering staphylococcus aureus, so don’t be too cavalier about your makeup bag!

According to the experts at Paula’s Choice®, if a product has changed color, texture, or consistency or omits an odor, it’s clearly expired. The site also says to pay special attention to products without preservatives, as those can expire a lot faster than conventional products (so take a careful look at all of your natural or organic formulas).

If you’ve never considered expiration dates on products before, know that you can find them on the back of most packaging. It typically appears as a small illustration of a jar with a cap coming off, and may say “6M” or “12M” in the middle of the jar. That means throw it out after six months or a year, respectively — and the clock starts ticking the moment you open it. So if you can’t even remember buying a certain lipstick or moisturizer (or if you’ve been using the same eyeshadow since high school . . .), it’s time to toss it out.

While this list of resolutions is brief and seems simple enough to accomplish, don’t be fooled. These tiny tweaks will make a big impact on how you live out the rest of 2019 and beyond.

Heather Edwards, LMHC, BCC

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