We all know the February blahs ─ well, this year they’ve followed me into March. So I feel in serious need of a pick-me-up or two. While our society sometimes views the idea of taking care of mind and body as a luxury for those with disposable time and money, there are plenty of penny-pinching wellness and beauty boosters.
If you’re also feeling low and a spa escape to Canyon Ranch or a shopping spree at Sephora aren’t in the cards, fret not. One of these penny-pinching wellness and beauty boosters could be your ticket out of March malaise.
1) Sign up for the free Oprah Winfrey / Deepak Chopra 21-day meditation challenge, which begins March 11. This challenge, themed on Perfect Health, is the first one from the Chopra Center in partnership with Oprah.
Even if you’re not a fan of either Dr. Chopra or the Mighty Ms. O, if you’re curious about meditation, this challenge is worth checking out.
Each day a link to an audio guided meditation is sent to your email in-box. I’ve done the challenge a couple of times and have found even when it didn’t go perfectly (e.g., I skipped a day or two), it was a good reminder to tune-in to myself.
2) Make a DIY all-natural body scrub. I love the way scrubs make my skin look and feel but I usually neglect to include them in my beauty budget (which is usually allotted to the next “miracle” moisturizer or eye cream).
Luckily, body scrubs are easy to make at home. And at this time of year when winter has left its mark with a buildup of dead skin cells, which don’t slough off as quickly after a certain age, your skin will thank you for it.
I found this decadent sounding Vanilla Coconut Brown Sugar scrub recipe, not from a beauty resource but on the sustainability site treehugger.com (who knew!):
Mix together ½ cup each of coconut oil and brown sugar with ½ teaspoon vanilla. Massage into skin in the shower and rinse.
3) Check out a free or low-price yoga class. Most yoga studios offer some enticement to new students ranging from complimentary first classes to unlimited yoga for the first couple of weeks at a very low price. Even if you’re not an enthusiastic yogi, I guarantee you’ll be standing straighter at the end of a class. And isn’t good posture something to smile about?
4) Show your hands some love. Most women I know “treat” themselves to the occasional professional manicure, but otherwise don’t pay much mind to these corporeal multitaskers. And with winter’s onslaught of hand-washing and sanitizer to fend off cold and flu germs, combined with dry, cold air, most people’s paws are a little worse for wear.
To start turning that neglect around, aim to apply hand lotion every time you wash your hands (which means carrying around a mini lotion container in your handbag).
And while we’re still in glove season, when you do liberate your hands in spring remember to apply sunscreen to them before heading outdoors, just as you do to your face.
Before bed, massage a rich hand cream into hands and nails (which become more brittle with age). Two ultra-rich creams I like for overnight moisturizing are the organic Weleda Skin Food and L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream.
To really let the cream soak in, occasionally wear cotton gloves to bed. (Tell loved ones to keep amusing observations on this look to themselves…)
5) Power-up a placebo. I was intrigued by this post on placebos from Lissa Rankin, M.D., a California-based integrative physician and writer who also has the modest ambition to heal U.S. health care.
Dr. Rankin discusses in the post how her daily green juice seems to have a power over her health beyond the vitamins it contains. Her research has led her to conclude that the belief that something is good for your health activates healing hormones in the brain that trigger real physiological phenomenon.
In other words, she thinks placebos really do work.
So pick a daily practice, whether it’s walking at lunch, taking a multivitamin, doing breathing exercises, or eating probiotic yogurt (note: a nightly martini probably won’t fit the bill). Your belief in the good it’s doing may just add benefits beyond the innate health of the practice itself.
6) Get inspired with TED Talks. True to the acronym, these online lectures from TED conferences were originally focused on Technology, Entertainment and Design, but today the topic menu has expanded widely.
I usually find something intriguing on this site regarding physical or mental wellness. For example, you can review Lissa Rankin’s two talks on health care or one of my absolute faves, brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight talk about the mystical experience of witnessing her own stroke. I know the latter doesn’t sound uplifting, but if you’re feeling uninspired, trust me, you need to check it out.
I hope one of these penny-pinching wellness and beauty boosters gets you through the Ides of March. Even if not, before you know it, we’ll be in April. T.S. Eliot may have deemed it the cruelest time of year, but to me it’s another month removed from February…