In the last several months, many facets of our lives have rapidly changed due to the pandemic impacting our world. Some Americans have lost their jobs, many of us now wear masks outside of our homes, and most of us are still feeling the physical disconnect from friends and family. While most of these significant changes can provoke feelings of fear and anxiety, I have found that there are some hidden silver linings if you know where to look. 

While in quarantine, I've discovered that finding the simple pleasures in life can reignite a sense of normalcy and help calm feelings of tension and being overwhelmed. Over the last few months, I've reconnected with my love for reading, I'm prioritizing morning walks, and my beauty routine has become less complicated than ever before. 

My silver lining: each day, I have a chance to analyze my current routines and decide how I can opt for something more impactful. I've found this discovery especially true for both my beauty and skincare routine, as well as my self-care practice in general. 

‌‌‌‌‌‌My New Simple—Yet Impactful—Morning Beauty Routine

One big change for me is that I've been wearing significantly less makeup during the day, which means less potential for pore-clogging, and my skin feels as if it has a chance to breathe. I've found that my skin feels more hydrated and youthful than ever before! 

When it comes to my "new normal" beauty routine, I now place a great deal of emphasis on using as few products as possible, all while maximizing the benefits. That looks like cutting back on the number of products I use daily but using the ones I have with the intention to create a ritual-like feeling both morning and night. Plus, having a routine helps to create a sense of normalcy in my otherwise not-so-normal day. 

In the morning, I drink a tall glass of filtered water and prep my skin for the day. I spritz my face with a simple rose toner spray to boost hydration and then layer on a vitamin C serum. I've learned to love using vitamin C for my skin because it's typically lightweight and easy-to-use, plus it contains immense antioxidant benefits. It can also help to protect skin from free radicals that are caused by sun exposure. 

Then, I like to apply a non-toxic moisturizer (ideally with SPF 35 or above) to help keep my skin hydrated and protected from the sun throughout the day. Also, as someone with a five-month-old, a powerful brightening eye cream is an absolute must-have. A few dabs and my dark circles look significantly better! 

My Secret Beauty Tool: Gua Sha 

To complete my morning beauty routine, I use a rose quartz gua sha on my face and neck. This small but powerful tool provides a gentle massage that helps to release muscle tension and offers some incredible benefits that lend to creating more youthful and toned skin. I love how invigorating it feels on tired skin, and how it helps me to perk up in the early morning. 

Once my 4-step skincare routine is complete, if I feel like I'd like to wear makeup, I opt for undereye concealer and highlighter to use on my cheeks, brow bone, and my inner-eye. Otherwise, I'm good to go! 

‌‌‌‌How the Pandemic Made Me Surprisingly Confident

One of my biggest takeaways from this time is how empowering it feels to ditch my mascara, heavy foundation, and blush. When I used to rely on these products to make me feel "put together," I'm finding myself feeling more confident about my skin and myself in general. It's as if I've found a new desire to embrace my skin in its most natural, cared-for state. 

My Supportive Nighttime Beauty Routine 

Due to the fact I'm wearing less makeup, there is less for me to wash off of my skin at night. I opt for micellar water to help cleanse off any dirt or grime from the day and found that my skin doesn't dry out like it usually would after cleansing. 

Once I've finished cleansing my skin, I layer on a thick nighttime cream and an all-natural anti-aging serum. From there, I apply an overnight eye moisturizer. When applying any eye cream, it's essential to use your ring finger to gently dab in the product around your eye. This finger uses the least amount of pressure and will help you be as gentle as possible to your delicate skin.

Then, I finish my nighttime beauty routine with another round of gua sha before bed. You may find that the stone works best when it's cold, so consider keeping it in the refrigerator and grabbing it before you head to your room for bed.

As you can see, my beauty routine is relatively simple and founded on the belief that minimal products can deliver maximum results. The addition of the gua sha tool has helped me take my routine up a notch, all while keeping it approachable. 

‌‌‌‌The Flipside of Simplicity: Increased Self-Care Practices 

While my beauty routine is simplified, my self-care practices are in overdrive. It's self-care that allows me to dig deeper and address the problematic, tricky emotions that have been popping up over the last few months. Without an emphasis on caring for myself, my anxious feelings, tension, and overwhelm can quickly take over. 

It's important to note that the word self-care often conjures images of luxurious bubble baths and long days at the spa. But it should be known that truly supportive self-care encompasses much more than physical practices, especially during a crisis. When we think of self-care, it's essential to consider it with a holistic mindset that encompasses our mind, body, and spirit. 

For me, I've been leaning on three essential self-care practices that help my whole being to feel as supported as possible during this time. 

  1. Addressing and communicating my feelings

While this isn't always easy, working to understand what I'm feeling and expressing it as needed can help me feel more supported by those in my life. The pandemic has sparked many confusing emotions for me, and acknowledging their existence and talking about it with a friend or family member feels exceptionally cathartic and a way to stay connected. 

  1. Noticing tension and breathing through it

These days, turning on the news or scrolling through social media can easily provoke feelings of stress.

When I'm engaging in these outlets, I've noticed I typically breathe shallowly into my chest, which can cause even more tightness in my body. If I catch myself doing so, I focus on taking three deep belly breaths to help address and break up the tension I feel around my heart. It helps to instantly put my body and mind into a more relaxed state. 

This practice is most impactful when you then disengage from the media for a few minutes and gently close your eyes or take a step out into nature. 

  1. Getting outside and moving my body

I've always prioritized physical activity, but due to quarantine, this form of self-care has become more critical than ever. When I get outside regularly, I find I feel more lighthearted and energetic. Plus, it helps me to shake off a bit of the cabin fever that tends to come with being stuck indoors.   

In this time outdoors, I get an opportunity to tune into my feelings and ask myself what I need. With that insight, I can focus on doing a walking meditation, calling a family member or friend, or just enjoy the simplicity of nature. 

‌‌‌‌My Final Thoughts on Navigating This Time 

While every person is affected by the pandemic differently, having a solid routine and self-care practice can help ease any complicated emotions. At the same time, simply beginning to take note of how you're feeling at any given moment can help lessen tension and spark more moments of happiness in your day. 

Whether you choose to focus on your beauty routine or your self-care practice (or both!), keep in mind that they can be fluid practices that change moment to moment based on your needs. In this unprecedented time, we must be gentle on ourselves and work to tailor moments both big and small to serve our needs in the best way possible. 

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to care for your needs on a holistic mind, body, and soul level based on what you're feeling at that moment. What worked for you last week might not be what you need now, and that is perfectly okay. That realization will only help make your self-care practice even more powerful and provide better service to your health and well-being. 

Keep in mind that when we are the most uncomfortable or overwhelmed, there is a lot that we can learn about ourselves and the world around us. Having a holistic self-care practice in place can empower you to maximize these experiences' benefits in ways we never thought possible. While this process might take some practice or experimenting, you will soon find the supportive methods that leave you feeling cared for in many ways.