5 Inspirations to Get Out of the Self-Care Rut

5 Inspirations to Get Out of the Self-Care Rut

Self-care is possibly the most popular recommendation health coaches and wellness practitioners give to their clients–particularly to women. Because if mom’s not happy then no one’s happy right? And you can’t give from an empty cup? Surely you’ve heard those (possibly from me!). But like anything else that’s good, it is possible that despite our best intentions, we get stuck in a self-care rut.

Self-care is something that can mean many different things, and come with a whole mixed bag of feelings.

Is it a spa treatment? Drinking more water? Sniffing essential oils? Sipping herbal tea? A home-cooked meal? A shiny new crystal? New lipstick? A day away from the kids? Sure, why not? But then the feelings come…”I don’t have time.” “I shouldn’t be spending money on frivolous stuff like that.” “I’m not one of THOSE women.” And so on.

I know. I’ve heard it from my own clients and students, and have even caught myself thinking and saying it myself. Sometimes I indulge, and feel great about it. Other times, I go without, or put it off, or move my “scheduled” self-care block into next week that’s “not as crazy” as this week. When that happens, and I see another mom–usually another mom who has a business because that’s typically who I see online–post about her amazing self-care experience, I also catch myself thinking thoughts like “must be nice” or “she must have so much help” or “maybe next week.”

You know what though? I find that most often when I skip self-care, it’s not because I don’t have the time or money for it. Because I truly believe in turning small daily habits into self-care rituals. No, for me the problem is more often that I’m lacking self-care inspiration. Sometimes I’m so tired I just can’t think of something creative to do that’s easy and already in my house in addition to tweaks and lifestyle upgrades I’ve already made. It’s kind of like a food rut–you get comfortable making the same quick, simple recipes that everyone likes until you make them so often that the thought of having it again makes you physically ill. But instead of a food rut, it’s a self-care rut.

The best way to get out of a food rut–and a self-care rut–is to try something new.

It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, time consuming, or expensive–because let’s face it–if that’s the case, then you’ll be less likely to actually do it. In my book, The Sauce Code, I talk about how adding a simple sauce to your favorite dish is a great way to make it new and exciting again (and I give you 7 super simple and delicious plant-based sauce recipes that go great with pretty much anything!).

So today, I decided to offer some of my favorite simple self-care tools and experiences to inspire you out of your self-care rut. Here are three of mine:

1. Pajama day. Now I realize that if you work outside the home, it might not be a great idea to show up to the office in your bunny slippers and flannel PJs. But if you’re like me and you work from home (or you have a day off from your job), give yourself permission to wear pajamas all day. I actually recommend wearing a different set from what you slept in. Get up, shower, and put on a fresh pair of your comfiest or most luxurious (whichever makes you feel cozier) pair, add a fluffy robe and slippers, and go about your day. You still feel like you got dressed, so you’re not being lazy (win!), and it feels SO good. And if you’re into the super trendy Danish practice, hygge, well, you can’t get much more hygge than jammies.

2. Say no. I often tell my clients that their “no” muscle often needs more exercise than any other muscle in the body. Women, in general, are yes people. We’re helpers, we’re caretakers, we want to be everything for everyone. We feel really guilty when we say no. We worry that we’ll let people down. We worry about what they’ll think of us if we say no. So we say so much yes to everyone that we end up having to say no to our own desires and needs (notice how I listed desires before needs?). Say no. Say it because you can. Say it loud and exaggerated as if in slow motion. Annunciate as if you were doing a vocal warm up exercise (my theater friends will know exactly what this means 🙂 ). Don’t say no to things like paying taxes or feeding your children, of course. But next time someone asks you to do something that your or someone else’s wellbeing doesn’t depend on? Say no. If you’re not sure, ask yourself–“what will happen if I say no?” If your answer has anything at all to do with how you think your no will be perceived by someone else? That’s how you know it’s a GOOD no.

3. Revive a forgotten (or neglected) hobby. What did you love to do when you were younger? Sing? Dance? Play catch? Draw? Read? Garden? Whatever it is, there is a grown-up version of it that I promise you, you can fit into your life. Sing really loudly in the car. Read a book about your absolutely FAVORITE subject or character of all time. Get some crayons and color. Something recently that made me really happy was going out into my yard, sitting on the grass, and just looking through it to see what I might find. When I was a kid I loved looking through my grass for four leaf clovers (we had a LOT of them). I’d sit there for hours. Well I didn’t find any in my yard last time I looked, but I DID find lots of lovely little native herbs that if I didn’t look closely, I would have completely missed. I sat there for only about 15 minutes, but it made me smile for the rest of the day.

IncenseAnd here are two ideas from my friend and colleague Trish Ward (who you might remember from this post):

1. For the mind and spirit: “I grab my Harmony incense, malachite and sit with my angel cards. I do breath work so I can get really grounded. I’ll also just put my feet bare on the earth and receive its strong healing vibration.”

2. For the body: “When I am giving to my body, I use a tongue scraper, dry brush, and epsom salt bath. This stirs the lympathic system, which is the sewage system that can rid the body of toxins to create optimal space within the body.”

By the way, Trish has an amazing 10-day self-care challenge. It’s free–check it out here!

What are some of your favorite ways to break out of a self-care rut?

I’m always looking for more ideas, so if you have a favorite, please share it in the comments below!

Image credits: “No” by born1945, “Incense” by Lefertis Heretakis

*Affiliate Disclaimer

Flower Elixirs: Your Introductory Guide with Katie Hess

Flower Elixirs: Your Introductory Guide with Katie Hess

One of my favorite things about plants is how many different positive ways they can affect people. Some plants are used as medicine or to support normal functions of our physical organs and systems. Others are used to boost the mood and aid in mental clarity. And others are used to lift our spirits, help us balance our emotions, work through challenges, or teach us lessons. This is particularly the case with flowers–especially in the form flower essences or flower elixirs.

While many flowers are certainly used in preparations intended for acute and general physical health and wellbeing, in the forms of tinctures, oils, hydrosols, or teas; flowers are special because their beauty and essence really draws us in and helps to balance out our energetic fields, emotions, and spirits. I, for one, was absolutely drawn to flowers for their beauty. I’m partial to roses, lavender, irises, and orchids–just being around them instantly lifts my mood. But I also regularly take flower essences, also known as flower elixirs.

What are flower elixirs?

Flower elixirs, or essences, are traditional herbal preparations that capture the subtle energies of flowers, typically through lunar infusion. Any plant or gemstone can be made into elixirs, but for today’s purposes, we’re referring to those made from flowers. Flower elixirs do not contain the chemical constituents of the plant in a way that affects the physical body like other preparations (teas, tinctures, etc) do. Instead, they carry the plant’s frequencies which work on our own energetic frequencies to help restore balance.

I was first introduced to flower essences through the Bach Flower Remedies, which I used to help me through some of the self-confidence issues that stuck with me after my skin healed from acne. But I then moved past the Bach pantheon when I first arrived at Katie Hess’ website, Lotuswei.com, when I found out about her Flowerevolution program.

Katie’s flower elixirs intrigued me, because they were NOT the typical flowers used in the Bach remedies–in fact, many of them were flowers I had never heard of. I’ve since done multiple cycles of Flowerevolution, attended Katie’s FlowerLounge event in Philadelphia this past spring, and regularly use her book, Flowerevolution (get a free preview here) whenever I need to brighten my day with beauty or spark creative inspiration. I think it’s safe to say that I am a fan of Katie Hess, and Lotuswei.

Katie and I also connected through my online course Create Your Skincare, when she generously shared some of her favorite topical uses for flower and gemstone elixirs in an exclusive bonus interview for my students.

Click HERE to sample a free Create Your Skincare class!

Like Katie, I believe in the healing power of flowers for individual people, as well as for us humans collectively, and it’s my pleasure to share her work with you. I was so excited to have Katie as a guest on the Rachael Pontillo Show, to talk about flower elixirs, Flowerevolution, and some of the other amazing ways Lotuswei is using flower power to help heal the planet.

It sounds lofty, doesn’t it? Using flower elixirs to heal the world?

It’s a very romantic idea, but after spending time with the flowers themselves, regularly using flower elixirs (Katie talks about using them as a type of love vitamin), and connecting with other flower-loving women at the FlowerLounge event, I believe it’s an excellent starting point.

Watch my video with Katie Hess below, and see if you agree:


Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

About Katie Hess:

Katie Hess is a flower alchemist, the founder of LOTUSWEI, one of the world’s leading floral apothecaries, and author of Flowerevolution: Blooming into Your Full Potential with the Magic of Flowers . After 15 years of independent research of flower and plant-based healing, her flower-powered community is thriving in over 15 countries. She instigates a revolution with the premise that you transform the world by transforming yourself (with a little help from flowers!). Katie travels worldwide to seek out flowers that reduce stress, improve sleep, and accelerate personal growth. Her work has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Sunset and Organic Spa Magazine. Discover what your favorite flower means about you at lotuswei.com.

Get a sneak peek at beauty of the FlowerLounge experience below:

You can also join the beauty and deliciousness of Flowerevolution program yourself (so you can experience what I’ve been raving about for yourself!) here. Katie’s new Flowerevolution card deck is also now available for purchase here.

*Images courtesy of Katie Hess/Lotuswei.com. This post contains affiliate links.

How to Use Art for Healing and Manifestation

How to Use Art for Healing and Manifestation

I want to start by saying I believe everyone is an artist. I’m not saying everyone can paint like Monet, dance like Misty Copeland, or sing like Celine Dion but I strongly believe that you don’t have to be someone who creates art or expresses creativity for a living to be an artist. The suffix “ist” really just means “someone who does this thing that the -ist is attached to.”

I remember first being introduced to this concept years ago, when I attended my first IIN mega conference (5000 high-vibe health coaches and healers in one room? Heck yeah.) in New York City. During this amazing event, I got to hear incredible speakers including Deepak Chopra, Sally Fallon Morell, and Dr. Mark Hyman all in one weekend. Kathy Freston was also one of the speakers (quite the contrast to Sally!), and was there to talk about her book. Veganist. During her talk, she explained that she wasn’t an expert in veganism, and doesn’t really go by the term “vegan;” rather, she prefers “veganist” because she happens to study and practice veganism.

Years later, Rosemary Gladstar, at the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Herbal Conference, made the important point to the crowd (not as large as the IIN crowd but 200 equally high vibe herbal women talking sisterhood and preserving herbal tradition under one tent? Double heck yeah.) that you don’t have to practice clinical or medical herbalism to consider yourself an herbalist. You just have to have a relationship with the plants in your regular life, and constantly study their uses. For me, that was such a relief! Because I’ve loved herbs for the majority of my life, and work with them often–I also teach how to use them to make skincare–but for the longest time I didn’t call myself an herbalist because I don’t have a clinical or medical herbal academic background. But from that day forward, I began to refer to myself as an herbalist, and that felt so empowering!

It’s the same with art, and in today’s episode of the Rachael Pontillo Show, herbalist, mama of 5, and artist, Jenel Schaffer offers the same perspective–you don’t have to teach art or do art for a living to be an artist–you just have to do art. She also debunks the myth that artistic talent is innate; as an art teacher herself, Jenel believes that art is a learned skill.

I’m down with all that, but that’s not why I invited Jenel to be on the show. I invited her, because of her amazing experience of how she used art for healing and coping through hard times in life–and get this–she also used it to manifest a smooth pregnancy, peaceful homebirth of her fifth child, and healthy post-partum recovery. In fact, at the time of our interview, Jenel had only given birth two weeks prior!

Learn more about how to use art for healing and manifestation from Jenel below:

Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

How does this relate to art?

Jenel spent her pregnancy working with an Art Journal. As a visual person, she likes to write and draw pictures together. She did numerous drawings of myself pregnant, celebrating the beauty of pregnancy and the glow she felt as a pregnant mom. This was not something I relished in any of her other pregnancies. She truly tried to embrace herself, and love herself- for her own sake and for her child.

Jenel also shares my belief that beauty is more than skin deep. It comes from within. What Jenel does and teaches as an artist also celebrates what is within, and by doing so, she was able to manifest the birth and recovery experience she had only dreamed of in the past.

In Jenel’s own words:

“I am giving credibility to my gifts, and the joy I feel using them is reflected on the outside. There was a time where I wore a lot of makeup to hide myself. Then there was a time where I wore none, in protest. Today, I believe in a balance. I believe in lovingly taking care of your body and your appearance- and that includes the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of our nature.”

About Jenel Schaffer:

How to Use Art for Healing with Jenel SchafferJenel Schaffer is a certified Art Teacher K-12 as well as a certified Family and Nutritional Herbalist. She has been teaching on herbs, nutrition, and art for over 10 years. Her work began in public schools, then she moved to the private sector as an herbalist and currently as a homeschool teacher and contract art teacher at various locations in eastern Pennsylvania.  Locations include the GoggleWorks in Reading PA, libraries, coffee shops, private homes, farms, and wellness centers. Her website is www.jbschafferartist.weebly.com.

By the way, one of the books Jenel mentioned, The Artist’s Way is one of my absolute favorites–I highly recommend you check it out! Oh and I also wanted to share that the artwork on my wall is by Julia Watkins. I adore her work and have several of her prints and pieces of jewelry!

Did Jenel’s story resonate with you as much as it did me?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links (at no cost to you). Affiliate commissions help me continue to provide you amazing stories, expert interviews, and top quality holistic skincare and wellness content for free. Thank you for your support!

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

We’re drawn to color throughout our lives. There’s a reason that as a child, one of the common questions you get asked is ‘What’s your favorite color?’

Is it just me, or does this question get harder and harder to answer as you get older?

As adults, color becomes less fanciful and more regimented. Think house colors, sock choices, work wear. We find ourselves picking whichever color we think is the ‘right choice’ in the situation, disregarding how the color makes us feel. The muted, bland colors seem to fit better in the image of adulthood we’ve created for ourselves. I personally think that many people default to neutrals because they’re either afraid of color (maybe they’ve been told that they ‘can’t’ wear a certain hue), or they haven’t found colors that they feel flatter them. Lucky, there is something called color analysis, which helps you understand which hues work best with the undertones of your skin or hair. Read about my experience with that here. But wearing the right colors for your skin tone isn’t the only way we can use color to help improve our lives.

Is there a better way we can use color?

Living Life in ColourFor Kylie Boyd, author of the book, Living Life in Colour, who I interview in today’s video, answering this question has become her mission. And like many inspiring stories, it started during a low point in her life, which she talks a bit about in our interview. During this time she was led to another book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, which is one that has been influential for me as well. I encourage you to read both!

She talks about one of the exercises in this book that was particularly influential for her. It sounds so simple: wear red lipstick every day for a week. Not only did she not own red lipstick, she’d hardly worn anything brighter than a beige. Committed to the challenge, she went out and bought one. And so the week started out challenging for her. She felt subconscious, she felt like everyone was looking at her.

Fast forward a few days and she was looking at the world differently.

Kylie’s life in red

After her week in red lipstick, a color she had never loved, Kylie found herself armed with a new energy. So she didn’t stop there–she filled her house with red flowers, wore a bright red scarf, and incorporated it into her house decorations. Friends were asking her what had changed about life lately… ‘What are you on??’

‘I’m on red,’ she said.

She started studying holistic counseling and complementary therapies, which as it happens includes color therapy. Pretty soon she was focusing a lot of her work on color and using it to help her clients experience better moods, more energy, an overall more ecstatic life.

Kylie’s book Living Life in Colour takes the reader through 8 different colors, helping you understand how incorporating them into your life can help you with problems you may be facing.

For example, yellow is linked with the solar plexus chakra, which connects to your self esteem. Or red, the color she found so empowering, but isn’t the best for people who experience anger problems, high blood pressure, or rosacea.

And we have to talk about pink.

Before I interviewed Kylie, she asked me to send her a list of my favorite and least favorite colors. Of course, I sent her a long list of both, which we then narrowed down, with one concerning conclusion: I don’t like pink. There are several reasons why, as I discuss in our interview. And this may sound trivial to someone who hasn’t studied color therapy, but to Kylie this was a significant clue as to something I need to pay more attention to in my life.

Check out our interview to find out what that is.

Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

Kylie BoydAbout Kylie Boyd

Kylie has a Dual Diploma in Holistic Counseling and Complementary Therapies, which includes Colour Therapy, Crystal Healing, Feng Shui, EFT, Guided meditation and Numerology. Kylie is also a 12 Tone Sci\ART Personal Colour Analyst. Her passion is to help women highlight their natural beauty and create a life and a home that’s true to them.

Connect with Kylie:

Click HERE to get her book, Living Life in Color. Click HERE to Get Kylie’s free guide and connect with her further on her website. Click HERE to follow Kylie on Facebook.

I’d love to know–what is your favorite color and least favorite color?

Please share in the comments below!

 

Why Being a DivaGirl is a Good Thing

Why Being a DivaGirl is a Good Thing

I want to start this article by asking you to come up with one positive word to describe a powerful woman–one who knows what she wants and speaks up for herself. Do you have one that automatically comes to mind? Are you struggling to think of a positive word for this kind of female?

DivaGirl

What about the word ‘Diva?’ What comes to your mind when you think of that word? 

It might be an image of a celebrity all glitzed and glammed out. It might be an image of a woman who always gets what she wants. Do you think of these as good or bad qualities? 

How would you feel if someone called you a DivaGirl, or asked you to attend a DivaGirl event or conference? Would you take it as a compliment? Or would it trigger you?

Well, maybe you already guessed this, but ‘DivaGirl‘ is more than just a phrase. Thanks to Toronto-based entrepreneur, Laura Furtado, DivaGirl® is a community of women coming together in the name of empowerment. It’s a network through which women connect, gain confidence, and get business and life advice from other female experts.

And as someone who spoke at last year’s DivaGirl conference, and will take the stage again this year, I can also say that these gatherings are more than just a melding of ambitious and empowering minds…they’re also really fun.

What happens at a DivaGirl conference?

DivaGirl Philly Conference 2017No, it’s not some sort of secret society. DivaGirl is a lifestyle-based membership group (actually, it’s the largest of its kind) made up of women who value wellness, ambition, and the shared goal to uplift all women; regardless of age, race, religion, or socioeconomic background. Events happen multiple times a month in the Toronto, Philadelphia, and now Montreal, and they are aimed at helping women embody who they were meant to be and do what they were meant to do.

Years ago, while speaking at another women’s empowerment event in Philadelphia (this is kind of my thing!), I had the opportunity to also hear Majet Reyes, the owner of the Philadelphia franchise, speak. Majet’s energy bubbles up from within her–her passion and joy are so apparent. I was inspired by her speech and when we connected afterwards, I knew I wanted to get a chance to interview her.

Below, that’s what you’ll find–my interview with Majet Reyes, who went from paramedic to DivaGirl Philadelphia owner.

In our interview we touch on the negative connotations of the word diva. She admits to me that when she talks about DivaGirl people sometimes tell her, ‘I’m not a diva, that’s not for me.’ But then they come to an event and they have a genuinely good time. All it takes is a few great connections with other positive women and the hesitation just sort of fades away.

Find out why Majet went from paramedic to DivaGirl owner

I didn’t want to give away the whole interview! So click play below to watch Majet and I chat and hear why (and how) she went from being a paramedic (and counselor… and mom… I swear this woman doesn’t sleep!) to being Philadelphia’s DivaGirl owner.

The new Diva

Majet defines the word Diva as “a woman who is confident and knows who she is. Someone who will stand up for themselves.” Does she wear heels? Is she up on the latest trends? Maybe, maybe not. None of that needs to be linked.

We’re in this era now of ‘leaning in’ and being ‘girl bosses’ and essentially what all of this is is redefining what it means to be a woman in the workforce, or simply a woman in the world. I recently wrote a post talking about feminism and how it fits in with creating your own skincare (trust me, there’s a connection!)

There are less flattering words for powerful women. They get called bitches. They get called bossy in a negative way. They get told to stop being pushy and are expected to make everyone around them feel good.

What’s important about groups like DivaGirl is that they embrace the various aspects of femininity while helping women inspire each other and teach each other valuable skills.

Now here’s the really important part:

DivaGirl is intersectional. It is not just for one type of woman (ie, it is not just for white women). That’s important, because with this resurgence of feminism due to the current political climate, and following the Women’s March on Washington and other women’s activist events, I’ve seen many, many social media posts from women of color who don’t feel that these expressions of feminism represent or include them. I’ve also seen posts from gay women, transgendered women, Muslim women, and basically any group of women who does not fit the white, cisgendered female type, post that they don’t feel welcome in feminist groups or events.

If we want to make progress, we must expand the meaning of and representation of feminism to be inclusive of ALL women, and specifically shine light on women who have been more oppressed or deliberately left out of the conversation in the past–because that’s a thing, ladies. That happened, and continues to happen.

DivaGirl’s leadership is beautifully diverse, which is probably why their events are also. This is so important for women who identify as feminists. If we exclude women of color, whether covertly or overtly, we are practicing the wrong kind of feminism. We are missing the point.

Majet ReyesAbout Majet Reyes:

Majet Reyes is the first American Franchise Owner of DivaGirl (Philly), she is a mom and a yoga teacher to kids. Majet is also a professional counsellor with a masters of science degree in trauma counselling. Her job is to empower people through the gift of therapy. Her mission is to stop the stigma in mental health and make counselling cool.

I would love to know your thoughts.

What’s been your experience with feminism? How do you feel when someone calls you bitchy or bossy, or a Diva–is that a good thing? Please tell me in the comments below.

Beauty and Aging: One Does Not Depend on the Other!

Beauty and Aging: One Does Not Depend on the Other!

Once upon a time, beauty was beauty and aging was aging. There was no concept of ‘anti-aging.’ Beauty and aging didn’t have goodness or badness attached to them, and one was not contingent on the other. Human beings have always been attracted to beautiful things, as we can see through their efforts to create beauty in even the most mundane of necessities. Thousands of years ago, humans painted beautiful images of animals on the walls of caves that they were trying to attract to their land for a successful hunt. Today, humans create decadent spa-like bathrooms to add beauty to even the most basic of body functions.

While humans have always been attracted to beauty, the same cannot be said about age. Today, age is often equated to anything but beauty, and popular culture works very hard to teach women that aging leads to ugliness, sickness, or worthlessness. It teaches that women should do everything in their power to slow down the aging process, and even promises that there are ways to reverse it. “Anti-aging” beauty products which used to be targeted to women with “mature” or “aging” skin are now targeted to younger women. Cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery and injectables have become as popular, if not more popular than facials and massages for women of all ages; not just the baby boomer population they were initially targeted to. Why? Because of this incredible fear associated with aging and all the negative connotations now attached to it.

It wasn’t always like this.

A true example of beauty at any age.

A true example of beauty at any age.

There was a time when growing old was an aspiration. Of course hundreds of years ago, people didn’t live as long as they do today—so growing old was a good thing because it meant you didn’t die an early death—but there’s more to it than that. With age comes wisdom. Experience. Understanding. Perspective. As the physical body evolves, the mind and spirit also evolve, and each passing year comes with more of those gifts than the last. In historically matricentric and tribal societies, the elders were (and still are–much of the world still has this view) the wise ones, and they were revered and cared for. That reverence and care was not contingent on perceived beauty.

I’m going to be 40 next in just weeks—considered a baby by baby boomers and a wise woman by millennials—and what I find really interesting is how the compliment of “you’re so beautiful…for your age” has begun to affect me. I didn’t think I’d even have to think about it at 40. I’m all about caring for my body, I love my skincare regimen, and I practice and preach self-care and self-love—and I thought I had all that down for myself. But honestly, “compliments” like that whether geared towards me or someone else are beginning to irk me—not because I feel insulted, but more because I’m sad that this how our society has become trained to think about beauty and aging. That as age waxes, beauty wanes, and that there’s more value in both youth and beauty.

We see it all the time in magazines, on TV shows, when aging celebrities who were really active in their twenties and thirties resurface 10 or 20 years later in some kind of “where are they now” piece. More often than not, the comment feed reads something like: “She used to be so beautiful—she has not aged well…” or “she still looks great at her age.” Often the determining factor of whether or not said celebrity has aged well is the amount of lines and wrinkles on her face when she smiles. If she has them, she usually “has not aged well,” and if she doesn’t have them, then she “looks great for her age.” At that point the discussion shifts to whether she’s had work done, what she’s had done, if it’s been good work or bad work, and what other work she should have.

Why does a compliment of beauty have to turn backhanded with the addition of “for your age?” 

Why are beauty and aging now viewed as this or that?

Senior woman and daughter relaxing on porch

Would the mother here be considered less beautiful than the daughter? Or is she beautiful “for her age?”

The other thing that’s really begun to trigger me is the term “anti-aging.” It’s a term I see all the time, because of the work I do and the circles I’m in. It may have begun as a simple marketing term, but I feel it’s evolved into something more damaging; because in the market, anti-aging is sold as a good thing.

It’s an ironic term, because there’s no such thing as anti-aging. We don’t get younger. It doesn’t matter how many antioxidants we apply, what we inject into our skin, or what other extreme measures we take—they’re not going to make us younger. While certain treatments and procedures might mimic certain qualities of younger skin for a time—smoothness, plumpness, etc—it’s only temporary, and it’s not real. Years are not being erased, but what might be erased is evidence of happiness (smile lines), or deep thinking and imagination (forehead lines).

I’ve seen many holistically minded social media groups and bloggers attempt to rename the term “anti-aging” to something more positive like “graceful aging,” “healthy aging,” and “joyful aging,” but none of these terms are as sticky as anti-aging. Perhaps it’s because of society’s preference of focusing on negative rather than positive—but it’s also possible that it’s because people just don’t believe it.

I don’t claim to have a shiny new and super sticky term to replace anti-aging, but what I’m working on in my own mental retraining is to focus on gratitude, and also to detach beauty from aging. I will continue with the skincare, self-care, and beauty rituals that make me happy, choose to see beauty for the sake of beauty, and focus on aging both gracefully and gratefully.

Aging is something that happens to all of us, though achieving advanced age isn’t guaranteed. Achieving advanced age with a mind and body that’s still healthy and strong enough to enjoy a beautiful quality of life is certainly not guaranteed.

One thing that’s common in those who have achieved it, whether they’re from a small village in India, gypsy family in Eastern Europe, or in a big city in the United States, is a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for each and every experience they’ve had the privilege of experiencing because they embraced the inevitable that is aging. It’s a privilege and an aspiration, and I believe that’s where our focus should be.

share-your-thoughts-2-150x150What are your thoughts on beauty and aging? What do you think of the term ‘anti-aging?’

What would you replace it with? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Additional reading:

The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution by Denis Dutton and Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality by Carol P. Christ

Image credit: Gambian Woman by Ferdinand Reus (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Other images purchased from istockphoto.com.

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