As we transition into a New Year, one of our newest Behaviorists, Priya Bhola Rathod, has four tips that will help us all take time for ourselves. Anytime I need to know about a product or the best technique for any given task, I go straight to Priya because I can count on her for objective, super-well-researched advice. She goes above and beyond, so of course I went to her for our New Year’s tips.
You’ll see what I mean once you read her post! Please give Priya the warmest MB welcome!
I couldn’t be more thrilled to be doing my first MB post, and I’d like everyone to know I’m always here to help in any way I can. As a busy mom of two very young daughters, I know the first thing that usually falls to the wayside is taking care of myself.
Many of you may feel the same way, whether you have kids or not. So, I want to take my first post, and a New Year’s post at that, to share some tips on a few small and not very time-consuming things you can do to put a little bit of the focus back on you. And most of these tips will not take more than 5-10 minutes a day. We all have time for that, right? You deserve it!
Look, there’s nothing new about the tips below, but it’s my duty to remind you of them. Think of me as your accountability partner! How can I help keep you on track?
Treat Yourself to a Coconut Oil Hair Mask
For me, growing up in an Indian family, coconut oil was introduced very early on. At the time I loathed the coconut oil massages Mom would do on my hair. I thought they smelled funny and didn’t like letting it sit for a while before I washed my hair. I didn’t get the point of it all! Little did I know, Mom was introducing me to a key and cost-effective beauty trend I would employ years later.
Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer for your skin and is a great anti-inflammatory (it works wonders for diaper rash on my daughters as well), but if I could urge you to use it for only one thing, it would be for a hair mask! It’s incredibly effective on dry or damaged hair and will add a much-needed boost and shine to hair. Even if your hair is relatively healthy, you’ll see the difference right away.
First, it has the ability to penetrate the hair. Second, it helps reduce protein loss in both damaged and undamaged hair. And third, it prevents hair damage and split ends. An added benefit is that it’s all-natural (at least the brand I recommend) and you’re not adding any unnecessary chemicals to your hair. Oh, did I mention how extremely cost effective it is??
The brand I recommend—Alaffia—has an altruistic aspect to it in that all sales of this brand of products contribute to empowerment projects to help break the cycle of poverty in Togo, a country in West Africa.
Some people like to heat it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, but I find that the Alaffia brand will heat upon contact with your hands. Take about a teaspoon at a time and apply 3 teaspoons to coat the scalp through to the ends of your hair. The amount will depend on your hair type and length. You may have to experiment to get this right. If you have the time, leave the mask on for an hour or more. However, 15-20 minutes, will still have the desired effect. Lastly, wash it out with shampoo (at least two shampoos) and conditioner and follow your regular hair care regimen.
Now, sit back and comb through all the compliments!
Wear Sunscreen Every Day
Wearing sunscreen is not a new concept, but I’m constantly surprised by how many of my friends either tell me they only use it when they’re going outside for an extended period of time, they’ll be inside all day so don’t need it, or are completely unaware at what age they need to start wearing it daily.
Time and time again doctors and skin care professionals alike tell us that the best way to protect our skin from cancer and wrinkles is the daily use of sunscreen. Ladies, sunscreen needs to be worn every day! Rain or shine, indoors or outdoors, your skin needs to be protected from the sun. If there’s one thing I can encourage you to put on your skin daily, it would be sunscreen.
Yes, I know I’m not a dermatologist, but I’m an obsessive researcher of skin care and beauty and have read enough reputable professional recommendations to know! The brand I’ve been using for years can be bought at many online retailers or your local CVS. It’s called LaRoche Posay Antihelios, and while it comes in five different iterations, I use the highest denomination, the 60.
It protects you from UVA and UVB rays, not just one or the other. It’s well priced (you’ll soon learn how much I love a good deal). It’s formulated for sensitive skin, which I most definitely have. It glides onto your skin, absorbs quickly, and doesn’t feel heavy. It’s also a photostable sunscreen, which means that it resists breakdown in high UV conditions. It holds up when the going gets hot!
Start off the New Year right by wearing your sunscreen not once a week, not twice a week, but every day!
Add 10 Minutes of Meditation
Now don’t roll your eyes and say, “I just don’t have the time.” Or, “Meditation just doesn’t work for me.”
What if I told you it would only take 10 minutes of your day, sometimes even less? For many people, guided meditation is hard. They can’t sit still for that long, or they need more help than just nice relaxing music and a comfortable place to sit. Enter Headspace, an app you can easily put on your phone that teaches you to meditate!
You choose 10- or 15-minute increments, they have creative animations with relatable analogies, and all of it is taught to you by Andi Puddicombe, a forty-two-year-old British meditation teacher who trained as a Tibetan monk. It’s been downloaded more than 3 million times and is quickly gaining more popularity. The first 10 days are free, so if you like it, you can subscribe for a low monthly fee (hint: Google “headspace promotion codes” to get a discount).
Once you subscribe, you have access to hundreds of hours of original content with guided and unguided exercises ranging from 2 minutes to an hour. It’s meditation made easy, and all you have to do to get started is download the app on your iPhone or android!
Actively Practice Gratitude
Under my Behaviorist page on Model Behaviors, you’ll notice my theme word is “evolution.” I’m on a constant quest to improve myself, and this was heightened even more after I had my girls. How can I be the best person I can be, for myself, for them, for my husband, family, and friends? I want to start the New Year off right by appreciating what I have in life.
When we express our gratitude, everything seems better and brighter. We see more good in the world, and in turn, more good things happen to us and for us. A book I read this past fall called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor had a big impact on me. I could go on and on about how incredible this book is and how it has a lesson to teach everyone. One of the things Achor talks about in the book is the idea of a gratitude journal. Take 2-5 minutes every night before you go to bed and write down 3 new, unique, and specific things you’re grateful for. Try it for at least 21 days (and continue on, as hopefully by then the habit will be formed) and see the positive effects it has on you and those you interact with daily. And if you want to take it a step further, read The Happiness Advantage. And if you want to take it even one more step further, sign up for his course on oprah.com. It will refocus you in ways you never imagined.
Ladies, let’s try and be each other’s accountability partner this New Year. These four tips can easily fit into any busy lifestyle. Try them out and let me know what you think. Remember, I’m here for you. Happy 2016!