By: Belkis Clarke-Mitcham Photo by: Rachel Benavides
I lead a super busy life as an international speaker, communication trainer, author, wife, mom and business owner. So creating balance and making sure I take care of myself is a priority. By taking care of myself, I ensure I give my best in every area of my life. With that in mind, I strive for a zen state of being.
Zen was initially used to describe a style of ancient Japanese art and architecture, but has now grown to symbolize a way of living. The goal is to live in the present moment and avoid getting caught up in thoughts of the past or future. The word “zen” is defined as a state of calm; a feeling of oneness with all things and peace with oneself and the world around you. This is the mindset I have toward beauty, and I have a few ways to achieve zen beauty.
I consciously practice the zen beauty routine, a more natural approach to skincare. It’s all about taking time for myself, being mindful of my skin and getting back in touch with my body. It reduces the number of products I use on my body and face. The idea behind the zen beauty routine is to take care of your skin while at the same time taking care of your mental health. For me, this is priceless.
1) Start your day by taking time for yourself.
Giving myself this little “me time” helps me not feel rushed throughout the day. With all the upheavals and uncertainties, it can be challenging to take time. However, it is imperative that we do. When we take time for ourselves in the morning, we are more productive and energetic throughout the day. We also have a better mood and will be less likely to snap at others or make mistakes. I get up before the rest of my house, prepare a cup of my favorite tea—raw ginger soaked in hot water with a dash of honey—as I whisper affirmations (I am beautiful; It is a great day; I am successful; Nothing shall disturb my peace of mind, etc.), then stroll to my back door and gaze out at the lake. I step outside and let the morning air wash over me most mornings, bringing my skin and body alive. It is a moment when I ground myself and set the tone for the day.
2) Appreciate the power of water and never skip moisturizing.
Drinking plenty of water makes my skin look more youthful and hydrated, making it easier to apply moisturizer (Meaningful Beauty day cream and recovery cream) or foundation (bareMinerals) without looking streaky or cakey. There is a lot of talk about skincare, but the truth is moisturizers and masks are only as good as the skin underneath them. I usually go without makeup, and I keep it very light when I wear any. But I never skip moisturizer, and I don’t slack off on drinking water.
3) Look for beauty in your imperfections.
The idea that one’s flaws are imperfections is a dated concept. I find beauty in my skin as it is. One way to do this is by embracing the natural beauty of scars, acne patches, etc. The reality is that every one of us has imperfections. I have a very prominent forehead. But so what? My features together are stunning. The question is whether you choose to see it as something to be ashamed of or to embrace and learn how to love it, just the way it is.
5) Get in tune with your body.
Yoga is a 5,000-year-old Indian physical and mental discipline known for its ability to calm the mind and heal the body. It is scientifically proven to reduce stress, build strength, improve flexibility and coordination and promote breathing techniques. What does yoga have to do with beauty? Why, everything! It also increases happiness by raising serotonin levels. This leads to a healthier-looking complexion with fewer wrinkles and saggy skin. Yoga improves your complexion by increasing blood flow to your face, bringing nutrients to the surface that are great for that healthy glow.
6) Laughter is the best beauty treatment.
Laughter releases endorphins, mood-boosters that lift your heart rate and increase circulation for a healthy glow. It reduces stress and skin-damaging cortisol levels, boosts immunity and is a natural painkiller. I often laugh, even at myself, when I do silly things. Find reasons to laugh. It is genuinely an excellent beauty treatment.
7) Enjoy winding down.
Something about a candle speaks to our heartstrings and helps create a calming atmosphere in any room, especially when combined with essential oils. Every night before bed, I light a candle, put on soft classical music, turn off the lights and take a warm shower. I let the water wash away the unwanted thoughts and feelings from the day and embrace the good things in my present. This is when I meditate on scriptures to build my spiritual strength. I especially love Woodlot candles; they are organic, blended and scented with essential oils, and come in recyclable glass.
8) Above all, my secret beauty treatment is being comfortable with who I am.
The pressure of being judged by others harms one’s self-esteem and self-image, leading to a more unhappy life. It is important to remember that you are beautiful because you are unique. Many women feel pressured to have a specific look to be considered beautiful in today’s society. The truth is that nobody can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. One of the ways I use to be happy with myself is to find a form of self-expression that gives me joy and make it a daily routine.