Mantras and affirmations might make you cringe. You might picture sitting in a hut in white linen pajamas with your eyes closed, but I promise it doesn’t have to be that way, if that’s not for you.
Last year, I decided to at least try mindfulness, in my own way. I did it as a way to be kinder to myself. But sitting there meditating or looking at myself in the mirror made my skin crawl.
My brain goes 90 miles a minute, and I’ve come to realise that meditating has never been a past time I’ve excelled in. Instead, I decided that I would habit stack. This is essentially when you take an existing habit and ‘stack’ a new behaviour on top of it.
For example, doing the washing after you have your morning coffee. Mine, however, is a bit more fun! Skincare is the perfect time to start thinking about how brilliant our bodies and our minds are. Every morning and evening I spend at least five minutes rubbing lotions onto my face and body.
For me, that’s my meditation. The slow repetitive movements over arms and legs and cheeks and nose. Rather than sit and do my affirmations after my skincare, I add them together. If you’re like me and have a step-by-step skincare routine, I take an affirmation with each step.
As I cleanse my face I say “I am grateful for everything I have in my life.” As I go through the steps of cleansing I think of the things I am grateful for. And trust me there are plenty.
You might not realise it but spending just 30 seconds coming up with all the things that make you grateful will have you set up right for the day. Moving onto toner my affirmation is “I’ve made it through hard times before, and I’ve come out stronger and better because of them. I’m going to make it through this.”
In just the last few years the whole world has gone through, well, a lot. And we should be so impressed that we have coped throughout! Reminding yourself of that each morning really does wonders!
Okay, we’re onto serum and onto our next affirmation – “I am growing and I am going at my own pace.” I know that we can feel like we’re falling behind or not where we want to be at the moment, but it’s important to remember that everyone is on their own journey and we are right we are meant to be!
My favourite part of my routine is moisturiser, which is why it’s the perfect time for my favourite affirmation. “My body is beautiful in this moment and my body is worthy of being cared for.”
We can be harsh about the way we look, especially around this time of year. But it’s important to remember that your body is truly amazing, it’s seen you through your entire life, through the ups and downs and even through a pandemic. And we should be a little bit kinder to ourselves.
The final step of my skincare routine is SPF (very important!) and the affirmation is one that I’m sure every Irish person has heard at least once: “What’s meant for you won’t pass you.”
It might not be the most zen of phrases, but it’s something that I’ve lived by since my Leaving Cert. Seriously! So I like to remind myself of it every day! Sure our mothers say it to us all the time as they’re the wisest people of all.
If you don’t have time to do a five-step skincare routine, there are plenty of times where you can incorporate this into your daily habits. When you’re brushing your teeth, when you’re brushing your hair, when you’re getting dressed, when you’re making your first coffee of the day.
You can incorporate your affirmations, your self-care in the smallest moments in your day. The moments where you are alone with your thoughts.
It’s one sentence, it takes a few seconds – even if you don’t have time to think deeply about the meaning behind what you’re saying, you have unlocked some positive messaging in your brain. It’s a reminder that you are good and kind and worthy.
Skincare isn’t just the time of day where I make sure that my skin is healthy and glowing, it’s now a time to make sure my mind is healthy and glowing too.
This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2024 issue of STELLAR magazine.