More stories

  • in

    The French Girl’s Guide to Self-Care

    “Self-care” has become one of the trendiest buzzwords: We spend money on scented candles, at-home facials, matcha lattes, and quinoa; meditation apps are as popular as the latest Netflix show; and if you’re not glowing with the confidence that comes with “I Woke Up Like This” athleisure style, you’re not doing self-care right. We Instagram our “true selves” with #nofilter and post mirror pictures of our fat rolls because models and fitness bloggers made it fashionable.
    While all of these wellness movements are promoting important (and even revolutionary!) ideas in body positivity and health, I learned after living in Paris that self-care looks a little different to French girls. Parisians do not always feel the need to spend fortunes on health treatments and workout classes, cook the latest health-food crazes from TikTok, or feel stressed out and guilty when they don’t fit in gratitude journaling or meditation. The way they care for themselves is muted, private, and not trend-driven at all. Read on for five lessons I learned about self-care from Parisian women.

    1. They indulge regularly in what they enjoy
    No doubt, Parisians will have a glass of wine with lunch or an Èclair au Chocolat after work for no other reason besides wanting to enjoy it. Because they don’t fight cravings, you’d rarely find a Parisian overindulging. She enjoys every bite because she does not restrict herself from eating what she wants or hate herself when she indulges. PSA: Joy is a nutrient too. Yes, caring for yourself means giving your body nutrients that help you feel your best, but it also means knowing that food (and life) is meant to be enjoyed. 

    2. They accept their flaws
    No one is totally exempt from insecurities and pressure, Parisian or not. We can (and should) all be working on more self-acceptance, but I did notice a difference in how we think about and address our insecurities. When I left for Paris, I had the mindset of covering up flaws with makeup and fake tanner and adapting my beauty routine to whatever was trending or considered “beautiful” in society. I soon learned that covering up flaws is not very French. Parisians know how to accentuate, appreciate, live with, and maybe even love flaws. Makeup is used to emphasize unique features and fashion is used to show off curves instead of hide them. Parisians show up consistently as who they truly are rather than faking the beauty trend, clothing style, or personality du jour. 

    3. They are choosy with friendships
    Maybe you’ve heard the stereotype that the French can be cold or abrupt (I did not find that in my experience, BTW). I don’t think they get this reputation from actually being rude; rather, they’re selective about who they give their time and energy to. When I first arrived in Paris, mon professeur gave me tips on assimilating to French culture. I’ll never forget hearing that topics like religion and politics are commonly discussed with friends, coworkers, and strangers alike. Small talk like the weather that is considered “polite” to Americans is simply boring, and Parisians would rather talk about things that matter, even with a stranger on a bus or during dinner with friends.
    I found that French women are less likely to be “fake-nice” to someone they dislike out of politeness and won’t waste time or energy with people who don’t bring them joy. Therefore, friendships are always deep, meaningful, and lifelong. They find the people they click with and then are fiercely loyal to those friendships. After all, one of the best ways we can care for ourselves is to foster joy in our connections with other people we care about. 

    4. They have rituals that they stick to
    I’ll admit I’m a sucker for basically any new wellness fad or self-care trend (as a wellness editor, I tell myself it’s all for “research”). In France, you’re less likely to find cycling wellness trends or health practices that come and go. Instead, French women have tried-and-true go-tos for when they’re feeling extra stressed or their pores need unclogging (many that they learned from their mothers instead of fashion magazines). Bottom line: They prioritize rituals and routines that work for them instead of what’s making headlines, and they listen to what their bodies need, knowing they have an arsenal of go-to rituals to help it feel its best. 

    5. They prioritize simplicity
    There’s a reason infamous French beauty routines consist of a good moisturizer, a swipe of mascara, and smudged eyeliner: Parisians know that simple is best, and that goes for other areas of life too. Their meals aren’t complicated or packaged. Instead, they keep it simple: a cup of espresso, freshly baked bread, or a homemade salad dressing with Dijon, vinegar, and olive oil. They find pleasure in the details, indulge in whole ingredients, and spend money on the highest quality of fewer things instead of the cheapest, biggest, and fastest. The book French Women Don’t Get Fat explains that French women eat fewer, whole, high-quality ingredients instead of stocking a pantry full of complicated vegan snack foods in the name of health (not to out myself or anything) or grabbing something quick on the go. 

    I Used Self-Care as a Cop Out for Self-Love More

  • in

    I Tried J.Lo’s Self-Care Routine for a Week—Here’s What Happened

    Jennifer Lopez is one of those magical celebrities who is so stunning and talented that it’s hard to believe she’s mortal. Her skin glows, her hair is always flawless, and don’t even get me started on the J.Lo booty (or her impeccable dance skills). More importantly, she always looks well-rested and happy, even with demanding tour schedules and long days of filming. Let’s be real: J.Lo invented #goals. So when ELLE published an interview detailing her skincare secrets and how she takes care of herself, you know I had to try it all. As a celeb who adamantly swears she has never gotten cosmetic surgery but looks her best at 50 thanks to how she takes care of herself (and probably really, really good genes), I had to give her self-care secrets a try. Read on for six things J.Lo does to care for herself that I implemented into my routine too. 
    My self-care inspo for the week:

    1. Repeat a daily affirmation
    Update: it’s not just the general public/entire world that thinks J.Lo is youthful and timeless at any age–she knows she is too because she reminds herself every day. Daily affirmations are crucial to her self-care routine (because I’m guessing you can’t shake it in front of millions of people at the Super Bowl without believing you’re awesome). To get specific, she recites, “I’m youthful and timeless at every age, I’m youthful and timeless at every age, I’m youthful and timeless at every age.”
    I’m only 26 so I have not considered myself anything except youthful (except my 21st birthday when I felt cool AF), but nonetheless, what the queen says goes, so I repeated the affirmation in the mirror at myself every morning before brushing my teeth. Yes, I felt silly and my boyfriend may have questioned my sanity, but there was something entirely empowering about looking in the mirror and thinking something good. I, like most women, normally look in the mirror first thing in the morning and see dark eye circles, subtle wrinkles, or puffiness.
    I’ve never considered myself insecure, but the usual mental conversation I have with my reflection is not a loving one. Making the effort to say something good started to shift the way I thought about myself even throughout the rest of the day. As J.Lo says, “Positive self-talk in your head really does create a beautiful person on the inside who maintains a beautiful person on the outside.” Her suspiciously flawless skin is starting to make a little more sense. 

    2. Be a nice person; it’s good for your skin
    OK, so “being nice” doesn’t exactly count as a self-care routine (it’s just being a decent person), and I wouldn’t call it something I “tried out” for a week (I like to think I try it out all the time…?), but it’s worth noting for many reasons. We often think of beauty as being skin deep: it’s about bubble baths, under-eye masks, and just the right shade of foundation. Or maybe we even go so far as to define beauty being deeper than skincare and makeup, and about how we feed our bodies and how much sleep we get. But a crucial factor we often leave out when talking about both beauty and self-care is being kind to other people. “You have to be a nice, beautiful person on the inside if you want to have your face reflect that,” J.Lo explained. 
    The changes I made in this category were not necessarily about being nice (that’s something we all should practice and prioritize on a regular basis), but about how I saw self-care. Yes, self-care is about caring for yourself, but it’s also about caring for others. When we practice empathy, help whoever we can, and connect with other people, not only does it change the world, but it makes us feel our happiest and most fulfilled. And if I get a J.Lo-level glow and wrinkle-free skin as a result? It will be a welcomed bonus. 

    3. Incorporate more olive oil
    This one was a no-brainer for me since I eat olive oil in one way or another with basically every meal, but J.Lo goes beyond cooking basics and uses it as a “cure-all” for everything. Cure-all for what exactly, I’m not sure (like, is it the secret to becoming rich and famous or?), but I gathered that it’s a skincare necessity since her entire skincare line contains olive oil extract. I’m already a huge fan of using pantry items in my skincare routine, but was still slightly reluctant. Would the key ingredient I use to make greasy, garlicky pasta really make my skin radiant instead of breaking it out? Spoiler alert: yes. 
    I typically pat on oil before bed, but I did not love the idea of olive oil smeared all over my silk pillowcase. Instead, I dabbed a little bit on as the last step in my morning routine. It was hard to get used to since it doesn’t feel like it absorbs like face oil products, but I immediately noticed a difference in my glow. After just the first day, my skin felt well-rested and glowy instead of the dullness and dehydration that normally comes with Mondays. By the end of the week, I had not broken out more than the normal pimple here and there, and my skin was noticeably more radiant. This will certainly be a hack I add into my regular routine, but it also serves as a good reminder that beauty does not have to be expensive and skincare isn’t just about high-end products. The secret to J.Lo skin might be found in your kitchen. 

    4. Focus on quality
    J.Lo talked about prioritizing quality when it came to her skincare, but also in regards to how she wants everything she makes in her career (whether it’s a beauty line, album, or movie) to be the highest quality so she doesn’t let anyone down. I don’t have a beauty line, album, or movie per se, but I liked the idea of “fighting for the quality that you want to be involved with.” So I decided then and there that quality was going to be my driver for the week. I put more work into my daily beauty routine by using my best products (the ones that I typically save for before big events), but I also focused on quality in other areas of my self-care routine.
    I put more time and effort into meals by DIYing dressings, using the freshest ingredients, and adding herbs and spices, which made even a quick workday lunch feel fancy. I also focused on quality with my workouts by prioritizing form and how my body was reacting instead of running faster or lifting more. After a week prioritizing quality, I realized that “quality” is simply a way to tell ourselves what we deserve. Instead of quickly patting on my normal skincare routine, whipping up whatever I had in my fridge, or rushing through a workout class, bringing more quality into everything I did allowed me to not only enjoy my daily habits more, but also made me believe that I deserved more. J.Lo, I totally get it: quality is worth fighting for. 

    5. Read Meditations to Heal Your Life
    I’m a huge fan of inspirational books, but had surprisingly never heard of this gem. Jennifer swears by Meditations to Heal Your Life after it was gifted to her by a friend when she was “doing some soul searching” in her 20s. Personally, my “soul-searching” looked like breaking up with my boyfriend and spending all my money on wine while studying abroad in Paris, but if I had read this collection of meditations then, it might have saved me a lot of tears and carafes of wine.
    Obviously, I immediately ordered it (with Prime shipping!) after reading that it’s a key part of J.Lo’s self-care routine, and the book did not disappoint. The author, Louise Hay, recommends opening to a random page instead of reading it front to back. So I set aside time every morning to fit in my meditations, hoping some of them would heal my life. I loved the experience and definitely felt a shift in my creativity, optimism, and overall outlook. Since meditations have always been difficult for me, consider me a convert. Reading thoughtful and impactful guided meditations feels way easier for me than listening to an app or sitting in silence. 

    6. Wear sunscreen daily
    If you can’t tell already, I learned a lot from J.Lo’s self-care routine. One thing I did not expect to learn but certainly did: Don’t follow your boyfriend to the dermatologist. In the interview, Jennifer tells a story about going to her boyfriend’s dermatologist when she was in her 20s. The dermatologist encouraged her to start Botox and, to paraphrase, she ran away and never looked back (probably from both the dermatologist and the boyfriend). I’m not sure exactly what this story was supposed to let us know besides that her taste in men is also high-quality (I can’t even get my boyfriend to use anything besides the 5-in-1 wash), but she is openly not a stan of Botox and instead swears by daily SPF to keep wrinkles at bay.
    While I say “you do you” when it comes to any Botox or plastic surgery, J.Lo has a point about the sunscreen. Self-care is also about being preventative–not just in preventing wrinkles, but doing what you can to keep your body as healthy as possible. That includes applying sunscreen. I’ll admit: I put on SPF every time I leave the house without fail, but since I work from home full time, I might not leave the house for days. Since sun exposure can still happen through windows, J.Lo’s cautionary tale served as a reminder to include it in my skincare routine every day. 

    The Verdict:
    Surprisingly, following J.Lo’s self-care routine was doable and simple. Of course, the article definitely did not cover the money she likely spends on trainers, health food, and facials. But even celebs with unlimited time, resources, and experts on speed dial need those simple things like applying SPF every day or repeating “I am youthful and timeless” when they look in the mirror to feel their very best. Applying olive oil will likely become an occasional indulgence, and I’ll go back to Meditations to Heal Your Life time and time again, but the biggest changes that will stick after trying to be J.Lo for a week had more to do with mindset. Being aware of the way we talk to ourselves, treating other people kindly, and focusing on living a high-quality life are all parts of self-care we don’t talk about often, but are more important than face masks or fancy candles. Whether or not you believe she’s never gotten Botox, she’s right that beauty is more than just skin deep. 

    I Tried Jennifer Aniston’s Self-Care Routine—Here’s What Happened More

  • in

    The Self-Care Activity You Should Try, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

    Constructing a self-care routine that makes you feel good and empowers you to live your best life is all about finding activities that you enjoy and boost your mood. So if you’re tired of the same old face masks or bubble bath self-care routine, it’s time to switch things up. We look to the stars to tell us how to spend our time and even what career moves to make, so why not look to them to see what self-care activity we should be trying? We’ve got you covered. Read on for the activity you should add to your self-care toolkit based on your zodiac sign. 

    Get physical
    If your Sun is in Aries, you likely thrive in challenging situations and competitions; this is when you feel most alive. If you feel bogged down by emotions, try getting some movement in and releasing those feelings with some type of physical activity. Hit the gym, take a kickboxing class, train for a marathon—do something that involves challenging yourself and moving your body (Psst, want to know which type of workout is best for Aries? Click here).

    Pamper yourself
    Taureans are highly connected to the physical world and love the luxurious. You are immensely aware of your body and have a deep appreciation for sensual pleasures. You find comfort in the tangible and are all about enjoying the pleasures of life. Book or give yourself a mani-pedi, splurge on a full spa day, or DIY spa treatments at home. No matter how you treat yourself, make sure you feel pampered. 

    Learn something new
    Geminis are highly curious and like to collect new information. They also need to recognize and nourish both their introverted and extroverted sides, so self-care for Geminis means having equal time alone and with others. Try researching a new subject, taking a class, or watching an exciting documentary to spark your curiosity, then discussing your thoughts and new findings with a friend or family member. You can also join a book club to have some alone time reading to recharge, and then come together as a group to care for your extroverted side and discuss. 

    Try therapy or journaling
    As a Cancer, comforting loved ones is what fulfills you most. You love to take care of other people and help with their problems. However, as a natural empath, you tend to take on those problems and prioritize your own needs last. The best way you can care for yourself is spending time to mentally and emotionally work on you. Schedule some time with a therapist to talk about your feelings (it will be a much-needed change from listening to everyone else’s!) or try journaling to reflect on your needs and get any negative emotions out on paper. 

    Create something
    Whether they like it or not, Leos are born stars who need to shine. To care for your truest self, tap into your creative side and then share it with the world. Of course, getting involved in your local play or impressing the crowd at karaoke night will give you a rush from all the applause, but you can also try starting a blog or taking creative photos for friends and family. The attention-seeking part of you will feel nurtured and loved through sharing your work with other people, and your creative side will feel fulfilled. Leos, don’t dull your sparkle—you feel best when you shine. 

    Declutter your home
    Virgos, you often feel the need to be perfect and need a reminder that perfection isn’t possible (or enjoyable). However, a clean home can help you feel more in control of your entire life and helps you feel more centered in your environment. Instead of focusing on how to make your home “perfect,” identify where you can use your decluttering skills to purify and organize to make your life simpler instead of putting more pressure on yourself. BTW, decluttering your mind counts too. 

    Make a list of positive affirmations
    Libras like to keep the peace and feel most fulfilled when they’re well-liked. While your ability to bring harmony and prioritize other people’s feelings is admirable, it often means you forget about your own needs and maybe focus more on being liked than being happy. To revert your attention back to your happiness instead of the happiness of other people, make a list of go-to affirmations to recite daily or go-to when you need a little extra support.

    Schedule alone time
    Although they may not reveal their emotions to other people, Scorpios can have intense emotions very easily. To care for yourself, it is essential for Scorpios to release your feelings safely so you don’t have built-up resentment or emotions you haven’t let out. Scorpios enjoy privacy, so self-care is about retreating from people and doing whatever makes you feel safe. Make sure you have “off-time” to not only recharge, but also to release any built-up emotions through meditation, journaling, or even just taking a nap. Schedule it into your calendar and make alone time intentional every day. 

    Try something new
    It should come as no surprise that these fire signs feel most alive when they’re on an. A Sagittarius feels most nourished and fulfilled when exploring something new, so it’s important to continuously try things and be exposed to new experiences to feel your best. Let your intuition guide you and try that activity you’ve been dying to try or maybe even the one you never thought you would do. Take a cooking class, book a solo trip, find a new hobby, explore a new city, or read a totally different genre. You’ll be surprised to find how invigorated it makes you feel. 

    Take more breaks
    Capricorns, you’re probably only reading this article because everything on your to-do list has been finished. With your Sun in Capricorn, you tend to make sure every item on your to-do list has been completed before making time for self-care or even for fun. Nourishing your mind and body doesn’t come easy to you. In fact, you might even see it as a reward, not as a necessity. Taking breaks (and learning to be OK with taking breaks) is the best thing you can do to care for yourself. So if you must, add “relax and do nothing” to your to-do list, and then make sure you do it. 

    As the most detached of all signs, Aquariuses don’t show or talk about emotions very often. They don’t like to dwell on negative feelings and care about finding solutions more than focusing on the problem. If you don’t feel inclined to self-reflect through journaling or meditation, care for yourself through caring for others instead. Find a project you care about, and then raise money or donate your time to help. You’ll feel good helping a good cause and will feel recharged when you’re putting your time and effort to good use. 

    Do something creative
    Unlike Aquarius, Pisces are very comfortable discussing their emotions and feelings. You’re incredibly intuitive, empathetic, and can often take on other people’s problems and feel them yourself. Because of your dominant empathy, you probably feel the need to escape quite often, so channel these emotions into healthy forms of escapism. You thrive when you use your creativity and feel your best when you are able to work your imagination. To you, art is like meditation. Try painting, creating music, or writing fiction to soothe your mind and get out of your current reality for a little bit. 

    What You Should Read Next Based on Your Zodiac Sign More

  • in

    I Tried Jennifer Aniston’s Self-Care Routine. Here’s What Happened

    You know those article headlines that make your heart stop when you come across them (or is that just a weird me-thing)? Imagine my excitement when I came across this story on Vogue about Jennifer Aniston’s self-care routine and her secrets to looking (and feeling!) as good as she does. Yes, please! After reading the entire interview about five times through, I was inspired. As a wellness editor who loves a good self-care ritual almost as much as I loved every season of Friends, I wanted to get as close as I could to being Jennifer Aniston and try out every detail of her self-care routine for one week.

    A photo of this week’s mood, for reference:

    So what happened when I swapped out my self-care rituals for a Hollywood A-lister’s? Did I achieve her effortless beauty and lit-from-within glow? Did Jen and I (finally) become best friends, as having the same rock-solid self-care routine would make happen? Read on for Jennifer Aniston’s self-care rituals I added to my routine based on her interview with Vogue and my experience trying out each of them.

    1. No phone for the first hour after waking

    The first step in Jen’s self-care routine is probably what I need the most: less phone time. As someone who rolls over and checks Instagram within 30 seconds of waking up, it’s definitely time for a morning routine makeover. As for the details (we’re all about the details), Jennifer keeps her phone stored elsewhere and uses iPods or old iPhones for alarm clocks and sleep apps (which I probably would too if I was paid a billion dollars every time a Friends episode aired). But alas, no television fortune or spare iPhone for me, so I charged my phone across the room and forced my boyfriend to set an alarm on his phone for me (I cannot risk the temptation of turning off the alarm on my own phone when TikTok is just a click away). 
    Jen talks about finally checking her phone after about an hour to find text messages wondering where she is, which I can only assume is from her team of assistants, BFF Courtney Cox, or maybe Brad Pitt finally realizing he can’t live without her (we’ve known that for 20 years, Brad!). I don’t have a team of assistants or Brad Pitt caring about why I haven’t answered their texts, but at least my boss would notice if I was MIA, right?
    At the end of the week, I have to be honest: My mornings were so much better. I had more time to fit in meditation (more on that below), and I swear I felt less stressed when the first thought of my day was not centered around catching up on other people’s lives or texts I had missed. I’m even inspired to keep my current phone when I get a new one just to use it for sleep apps and alarm clocks. That’s some bougie ish, but it’s also pretty genius. 

    2. Use the Pattern app

    While this is technically not a core piece of her self-care routine, Jennifer did mention that her phone is reserved for texts, emails, and the Pattern app, of which I needed to try. If it’s good enough for Jennifer Aniston, it’s good enough for me (also, it’s free, so I’m down). I had never heard of Pattern, and TBH, it kind of blew my mind. It uses data to help you better understand yourself and others for the purpose of deeper connections. In a world where most of our screen time is spent watching people we don’t know dance or cook feta pasta, it was cool to spend some time exploring my personality and what’s going on in my life.
    You can use it as a tool to understand yourself better, a reference to make goals (it gives you peak days/times), or even as a way to connect with people who share similar personalities and values. Think of it like a dating app, only instead of swiping left on gym selfies, you’re matched based on your deepest personality traits. I learned that I’m self-critical, deep, and passionate and also that I need to let go of the past (my therapist has been telling me that for years). It’s actually cool, and I thank the app gods and Jennifer Aniston for bringing such a fascinating tool into my life for free.

    3. DIY a collagen latte

    Probably the best thing to come out of this experiment is that I finally know Jennifer Aniston’s coffee order. Scratch that—she calls it a coffee routine. So when I order Starbucks, I will no longer tell the barista that a grande cold brew with one pump hazelnut and an inch of coconut milk is my order, it’s my coffee routine. In a pleasantly surprising twist of events, Jen’s morning coffee is pretty doable. She adds a scoop of collagen from Vital Proteins, a dash of cinnamon, and a packet of Stevia because she has a sweet tooth. Meanwhile, she steams her almond milk while this concoction is forming and will occasionally indulge in her guilty pleasure, hazelnut Coffee Mate (that’s the relatable queen we know and love!).
    Luckily, for this experiment, I already had a milk frother ready to go, a gallon of almond milk on hand, and some collagen that I typically add to smoothies. I prefer the taste of iced coffee, but I quickly learned that collagen plus iced coffee does not equal a Jen-approved superfood latte. Collagen needs heat to dissolve or else it will turn into goop at the bottom of your cup (and not that kind of Goop). But once I nailed the hot coffee routine, I liked knowing I was getting some extra nutrients and protein in my coffee. 

    4. Be mindful of what your eyes and ears ingest

    PSA: Your mouth and stomach are not the only body parts that digest. Jen is protective of her boundaries by limiting news sources, social media, and negative content. It makes me really happy that Jen is protecting herself because I would protect her at all costs. But this is actually a really great point because health is not only about choosing the best way to nourish our bodies with food but also about how to nourish our minds and souls. The podcasts we listen to, the people we spend our time with, the shows we binge on Netflix, the accounts we follow on Instagram, and the way we speak to ourselves (and others) are all things that feed us too. 
    I always try to be conscious of this by unfollowing or muting accounts that don’t serve me, watching comedies that make me happy over horror movies or sad shows, and limiting news to what I absolutely need to know. But this week, I was not only thinking about what not to watch, listen to, and read, I also made a conscious effort to consume more of what to watch, listen to, and read. Instead of scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix, I read inspiring books and listened to motivating podcasts. To no one’s surprise, it was truly the most motivated I had been in a long time (and not just because I’ve been comparing myself to Jennifer Aniston a little too much). 

    5. Meditate after making coffee

    Spoiler alert: Meditation was by far the most drastic change that came out of this week for me. It’s something I always think I should do but never really make time for. I tell myself I’ll meditate after I take my dog out, on my lunch break, or before bed, but it just never happens. Having a specific time built in to meditate (i.e. right after making coffee) was the game-changer because I actually did fit it in. 
    Jen explained that she meditates after “a few sips of coffee,” so I panicked because I wasn’t sure if she takes the rest of the coffee with her to meditate (will that be a distraction and ruin the purpose?) or lets her coffee sit there and get cold after a few sips (maybe normal for the rich and famous?). I need a detailed play-by-play, Jennifer! I ended up sitting down on my couch with my bougie latte in hand for about five minutes of meditation (I couldn’t let collagen go to waste). 
    Jen uses Insight Timer, so I used it and tried the courses she mentioned: lowering anxiety and how to create gratitude and abundance. Through this experiment, I learned that I definitely prefer guided meditations. There’s way too much going on in my little brain to sit in quiet stillness, and I don’t always know what to write when journaling. Insight Timer achieved what it promised for me—I instantly felt a little less anxious throughout the day, and I also felt major gratitude. This is nothing groundbreaking to the self-care world, but I give a morning meditation 5/5 stars. 

    6. Adopt a pro-aging mindset

    As someone in their mid-twenties, whether I’m for or against aging is not a topic I’ve put much thought into. I like to think I’d already be “pro” because I regularly pretended to be 21 years old before I actually was. But I think we can all agree that of all celebs, Jennifer Aniston is the first one to come to mind when thinking of the buzzphrase “aging gracefully.” Not only does she look phenomenal at every age (like, how?), but it also seems like she hasn’t resisted getting older. Rather, she’s slightly adjusted her hair, beauty, routine, and relationships to each phase in her life without trying to look like Season 1 Rachel Green. 
    The biggest lesson I got from Jennifer Aniston’s pro-aging mindset is also something I’ve learned from my mom’s aging mentality: We are lucky to be able to get older because a lot of people don’t get the chance. I’m sure I’d feel less hunky dory about it when I get crow’s feet and gray hairs, but I do believe there’s something to be said about enjoying every age of life instead of wishing we could be younger. This week, I made an effort to make decisions for my future self by eating fruits and veggies, getting enough sleep, and moving my body, knowing that taking care of myself now is an investment in my future self. As Mrs. Aniston (Jen’s mom) used to say, “This is about longevity. It’s a privilege to grow old, but we don’t have to grow sick.” 

    7. Keep learning and educating yourself

    It’s totally relatable that Jen casually mentioned to her manager that she wanted to educate herself more, so her manager arranged conversations with icons like Jay Shetty, Jessica Yellin, and David Sinclair (to be read in your best Chandler Bing-level sarcasm). I guess when you’re an icon yourself, you have access to all the other icons. But as a total wellness nerd who loved school (yeah, I was that girl), I love that learning is a key part of Jen’s self-care routine. The goal of wellness is really just growth: growing in health, growing in self-love, and growing in knowledge. When we’re constantly learning, we’re constantly growing.
    I always make an effort to attend lectures, listen to podcasts, and read books to grow my health knowledge, but the major change from this week was how I saw those efforts. I typically see education as an extension of my career, like I’m staying up-to-date to be the best I can be at my job. But seeing it instead as a way to care for myself really transformed what I got out of it. Education, even in the name of a career, helps us grow as people, not just as a job title. If you ask me, that’s caring for yourself more than a face mask or smoothie ever could.

    8. Supplement your health with products that work

    To quote Jennifer Aniston quoting Dr. Sinclair, “As we age, our cells start to shut down and the lights in our body turn off. But you can turn those lights, those genes, back on.” One of the ways Jennifer likes to turn those genes back on and age as healthy as possible is through tried and true supplements, like the aforementioned collagen (she uses Vital Proteins, of which she is chief creative officer for the brand).
    I’m typically wishy-washy with my supplements. I’ll get excited about a new multivitamin and take it religiously for a couple of weeks before forgetting about it altogether, or I know I feel my best when I’m consistent with my probiotics but can’t always seem to remember to take them. This week, I was more consistent than I’ve typically been with taking the supplements and vitamins my doctor and I decided were best for me. A major shift was (yet again) mindset: Rather than just another thing I was “supposed” to do, I thought of these supplements as another way to invest in my future self and to “keep the lights in my body turned on” as I get older. You bet I won’t forget to take my multivitamin again. 

    The Verdict:
    Overall, following an A-lister’s self-care routine was surprisingly doable. I loved spending a little extra time prioritizing the things I typically forget about, like tech-free time or meditation. However, the biggest takeaway I got from spending a week as Jennifer Aniston (I mean basically, right?) is that mindset is her secret. Don’t get me wrong: I’m sure she has a team of the best beauty gurus and wellness experts on speed dial and the best products that only money (and fame) can buy. But her actual routines are fairly simple. No two-hour workouts, strict diets, or 5 a.m. wakeup calls are needed to achieve Jen’s lit-from-within glow.
    I love that the way she cares for herself is built around mindset. She’s not using self-care rituals as a mask to achieve an “ideal weight” or to stay young forever; she cares about health because she wants to live the longest, happiest life possible. Now if that doesn’t sound like the moral of a movie where Jen would play the lovable protagonist, I don’t know what does. 

    Unexpected (and Simple!) Self-Care Techniques To Sneak Into Your Routine More

  • in

    I Was a Wellness Skeptic, But These 7 Items Made Me a Believer

    Throughout my life, I’d say I’ve consistently been a pretty healthy person. I eat my veggies, exercise five times a week, and know the things that work for my body and do what makes me feel my best. But when the word “wellness” started circulating, well, let’s just say I was a critic. 
    To me, the wellness fad the world was so willingly falling for felt like a scam. “You don’t need all these things to be healthy,” I thought as I saw the people around me turning more and more wellness-obsessed. But after starting my job as an editor and consuming more wellness information that applied to me, I started to get it. It’s not about putting jade eggs into your vagina or buying a $150 supplement that claims to change your life—it’s about prioritizing your health and what that means to you.
    Over the past 12 months or so, I’ve been putting more effort into the things that make me feel more healthy on a day-to-day basis. While the bigger things matter, these small things that are incorporated into my daily routine have made the biggest changes to how I feel. I never thought I’d admit it, but these seven wellness products might actually have made me a wellness believer.

    Daily Drops
    After hearing about the wonders this worked on so many people in my life, about a year ago, I decided to give CBD a try for myself. It had always felt intimidating to me—how much am I supposed to take? How often do I take it?—until I started using Equilibria. With your orders, you also get access to personalized dosage support, where you speak to an expert about your personal day-to-day life and your goals with CBD. I worked with mine to figure out how many milligrams I should be taking each day and made a system custom tailored to what I wanted from CBD, rather than just winging it based on an internet search.
    After using it consistently, I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel every day. It helps keep me grounded and gives me a sense of calm no matter what my days entail. Of every wellness product I’ve tried, this one has actually improved my quality of life, and using it requires no time or effort (like most life-altering changes do). All I have to do is remember to take my prescribed dose every morning after breakfast. I can’t imagine a day that this won’t be a part of my routine.
    Use the code theeverygirl for 20% off your first Equilibria order.

    Facial in a Glass
    I’ve recently become a member of the mid-20s club, and with that, I’ve noticed a lot of changes with my skin—and none of them have been good. More irritation, breakouts, and redness are a part of my life now, and I’ve been trying just about everything to help get it under control. I’ve been a fan of 8Greens for a long time, as the dissolving tablets contain actual greens and dissolve into your water and give it a citrus-y, completely non-green juice taste.
    This version is formulated specifically for the skin’s needs, and in addition to the eight types of greens, it also contain marine collagen and biotin. When my skin is really acting up, I’ll pop one of these in my water, and I swear the next day, my skin always has calmed down and has more radiance. It’s one of the only ingestible beauty supplements that I’ve noticed a difference from, so they’ve earned an A+ from me.

    Amazon | Venture Pal
    64 Ounce Water Bottle
    Everyone knows how important drinking enough water is for optimal health, but it isn’t always easy to get enough water in. Since we started working from home, I would sometimes go through half the day and realize I hadn’t drank any water at all. Now, every morning, I fill up this jumbo water bottle to keep at my desk. Not only does it give me time reminders to keep drinking, but I also only need to drink two of them to hit my water goals. Now, I hit my water goals with no problem.

    Pure Matcha
    I’ve been a matcha drinker for years but fell off the bandwagon for a while when I felt like I just didn’t have one I really loved. Matchas can vary quite a bit in taste, and this is one of the best ones I’ve had. It has a rich flavor, which makes it perfect for mixing into an afternoon latte and curbs me from having a second cup of coffee.

    Mini Air Fryer
    If there’s one kitchen item that has absolutely changed my life and how I eat, it’s my air fryer. I have a small kitchen, so I picked up this mini version, and when I say I use it every single day, I’m not exaggerating. I’m not a great cook and dread the effort I have to put into it, but this literally does all the work for me, even for things I dread cooking, like chicken. I keep it on my counter and then toss my ingredients into it whenever I need to eat, and within a few minutes, I have a perfectly cooked meal. It’s stopped me from ordering takeout more times than I can count.

    Imperfect Foods Subscription
    As we’ve established, I’m not the best cook, which also leads me to being on the lazy side when it comes to grocery shopping. I dread it, and while I tend to do bigger grocery runs every time I do shop, it also means I’m out of produce before I want to go to the store again. This has absolutely been the perfect solution for me.
    I have a subscription to the smallest Imperfect Foods box, which gets delivered to me once a week. You can choose every single item that goes into your box, which for me, is usually different fruits and vegetables. Not only does it mean I always have fresh produce to eat, but since I get to go through the list of their weekly options (which are vast), I have also tried and loved several new produce items I never would have picked up in the store. I love getting my weekly box to supplement the other food I have in my kitchen because it means I’m constantly mixing fresh, nutritious foods into every meal.

    Levitate 4 Running Shoes
    My exercise of choice is running, and while some will disagree with me, I’m a firm believer in a great running shoe. I have super flat feet (I’m talking no arch whatsoever), so I take the time to find the running shoes that are right for me and replace them about once every eight months. These are my latest running shoes, and they’ve been an absolute winner. They’re springy, supportive, and unlike many of the running shoes I’ve had, quite chic. I know if I don’t like a running shoe right away, but these are ones I would absolutely repurchase.

    This post is sponsored by Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

  • in

    Financial Wellness Is the Latest Self-Care Trend—Here’s What You Should Know

    Sure, you’ve heard of buzzwords like work-life balance, self-care Sundays, and positive affirmations, but have you heard of “financial wellness?” Take a pause from your face masks and meditation pillows: There’s another form of self-care, and it just might change your life. According to a Bank of America survey, over half of companies are now offering financial wellness programs, and major universities like UCLA have started financial wellness programs for their students. Even though corporations and major businesses are instilling financial wellness programs for their employees, it isn’t just corporate America lingo or a buzzword reserved for Wall Street employees and bankers. Financial wellness is actually a crucial part of individual self-care and physical health that many people ignore. Read on for this important factor of self-care and how you can practice it yourself.

    In this article

    What is financial wellness?
    To put it simply, financial wellness is exactly what it sounds like: healthy finances. You feel prepared to handle any financial crisis, are in control of paying off debt, know what’s coming in and going out, and don’t feel stressed over your financial situation (no matter what income you make). But financial well-being does not end at having “enough” money and knowing what to do with it. The difference between financial wellness and financial literacy is that financial wellness recognizes that money is not an end destination (i.e. the end goal isn’t just to make a lot of it); instead, money is a tool we use to live our happiest, healthiest, best lives possible.
    Money is a trade system. You’re exchanging your life’s energy for whatever you want to make your life happier, healthier, and better. Think about it: Money is simply a tangible exchange for the biggest portion of time, energy, passion, and experience you put into your life. How you manage, invest, and spend your money not only dictates your future finances, but it’s also subconsciously sending a message to yourself about what your life’s energy is worth. 

    Why is financial wellness important?
    If you view your bubble baths and superfood lattes entirely separate from tax season and your IRA, it’s time you start looking at the big picture. Think of your well-being as a pie chart. Of course we know the nutrition pie slice, the fitness pie slice, and the stress-relief pie slice. Maybe you even know that strong relationships and a fulfilling work life are also important pieces of the pie. But finance is also a slice of your well-being pie, as it’s such a huge part of our lives. 
    Finance is one of the most common major stressors, and (as many of us know all too well) chronic stress can negatively affect our health and well-being. Financial anxiety not only affects your bank account or spending habits, but it can also bleed into other areas of your life as well (stress over big purchases, avoiding necessary healthcare for fear of the bill, affecting relationships, etc.).

    Beyond stress that comes with poor financial wellness, good financial wellness is a tool to help our lives be better; it’s knowing how to use the money we have for our well-being (and grow that money for more well-being). Think: achieving whatever makes us happy, whether it’s creating a home, taking care of a family, or having amazing experiences, as well as spending money on our health, whether it’s necessary healthcare, a gym membership, or regular acupuncture sessions. 
    The end goal isn’t actually to have a lot of money. The goal is to spend a lot of money (and know how to spend it) throughout your life so you’re as healthy and happy as possible. I don’t mean you can spend all of your paycheck on Postmates and shoes. I mean that at the end of your life, you’ll be able to look back on many decades of experience, memories, and happiness that you achieved partly because of how you spent your money. Financial wellness is beyond investing, saving, and 401ks; financial wellness addresses money as a common stressor, and it also views money as a tool to help us be healthier and happier. The good news? You can add it to your self-care routine no matter what your income is or what financial situation you’re in. Here’s how:

    Tips to increase financial wellness:

    Budget based on what brings you joy
    Be thoughtful about how you want to spend your life’s energy. Does it really bring you joy to grab drinks with that friend you don’t have fun with or to buy the top you’ll never end up wearing? Managing your money based on what does and doesn’t bring you joy will reduce stress that comes with spending money on the vacations, items, and experiences that you truly love.

    Educate yourself
    Throughout all my years of education, not one person decided to tell me that a personal finance class might be something important (or even accessible!). A lot of my financial stress comes from feeling uneducated. What the heck are all these types of accounts, how do I pay off debt, and what can I actually “afford?” Simply educating yourself might take away a lot of stress, help you grow your money, and find out what you deserve. Talk to your employer or university to see if they offer financial literacy programs, take our Finance 101 online course, or check out a resource like Ellevest, which is dedicated to educating and helping women manage their money. 

    Invest in yourself
    We’ve been talking about spending money, but money can also be invested. Just like you invest money into stocks to get more than what you originally invested over time, you can invest money into other things as well: get the gym membership, purchase that online course, or shop for organic groceries. Another financial wellness tip: The more money you put into something, the more likely you are to keep it up as a habit. Decide what you want your habits to be, and then invest your money to achieve them.

    Make tracking your money part of your routine
    PSA: If you’re not checking your credit card statements, checking account, and any other accounts or cards on a regular basis, you need to be. Make a finance check part of your weekly routine. Take yourself on a coffee date to set some financial goals at the beginning of the week or put on a face mask and go over bank statements on Sunday evening. Not only can this reduce added stress by identifying credit card fraud ASAP or knowing if you’re close to your credit limit, but you’ll also be more aware of how your money is being spent and feel more in control of your finances. 

    Automate savings
    The rule is to pay your past self first (debt) and pay your future self next (savings). If you’re having trouble saving money or want to start saving for those big life purchases that will make you happy, try to automate so you don’t have to think about it. Even if it’s just $5, set up an automatic deposit or transfer into a separate account from every paycheck. It’s kind of like setting short, easily attainable goals so you feel like you’re getting closer to what you want most in life, and it also brings clarity to know how much money you can spend on your day-to-day expenses and purchases to still enjoy the moment. The key is to save what you can but remember that the point of saving is so you can eventually spend it. Don’t forget to actually spend on the things you really want. 

    Spend money to make you happier
    Even if you don’t think you have any money to spend, is there any way to rearrange your budget for the things that will really make you happy? If a facial puts you in a state of bliss for days or a service like Instacart or Blue Apron saves you time and energy from chores you hate, try to see where you can find the money for it, at least once every few months. This might be as simple as using a Keurig instead of your $3.50 Starbucks every morning, packing lunch instead of buying it, or pulling from your clothing budget.

    Why Money Actually Can Buy Happiness (and How) More

  • in

    5 Things My Therapist Taught Me About Self-Love

    If we’re being honest (and slightly egotistical), one of my best talents is self-love. That’s not to say that I don’t have days where I’m unhappy looking in the mirror or that I second-guess a lot of choices I make (trust me, I have my days). But I also really love myself. It’s weird (and sad) how hard that is to admit out loud (self-deprecation is so much more the norm), but I think part of self-love is expressing it so that other people can feel comfortable expressing their self-love too (we’re all in this together!). 
    However, “self-love” hasn’t always been on my list of achievements. The pre-teen age brought puberty and the idea that my body isn’t good enough as is, and most of my teenage and young adult life has been spent trying to look or act different so that I was more “likable.” It’s taken me many failed relationships, major life changes, and a whole lot of therapy to feel this way about myself. My therapist (shoutout to Dr. Kelly!) taught me a lot about self-love and where I was holding myself back. The good news is that self-love is not a destination; it’s the most important lifelong relationship you’ll ever work on. Now that we have all the cheesy clichés out of the way, read on for five things I learned from my therapist that helped me love myself and will maybe help you love yourself too. 

    Self-love is not a destination; it’s the most important lifelong relationship you’ll ever work on.

    Source: @josie.santi

    1. “Perfect” isn’t a goal
    When I first started seeing my therapist, I told her about my anxiety by explaining it as “illogical” and “a little crazy” (as if that somehow made it less illogical or crazy?). I also explained behaviors like falling asleep with the TV on or scrolling through Instagram during my morning meditation time by prefacing with, “I know it’s bad for me.” I’d get frustrated if I failed a health goal, wasn’t able to sleep at night because stress kept me awake, or made a wrong decision. I used these “failed goals” to explain what’s wrong with me rather than questioning that something might be wrong with the goals (but more on that below).
    The judgment over my own behaviors came from the idea that I had to be perfect. But not achieving a goal or making a mistake is not a failure; it’s a way to get to know yourself better. Plus, you already know perfect isn’t possible thanks to every cliché self-help book and inspirational quote out there (so start believing it!), but even if it was achievable, achieving it wouldn’t make you happier anyway. Your goal as a human being should be to find balance, not to achieve perfection. 
    2. Self-love doesn’t just happen
    Self-love is a skill, not a circumstance. Just like happiness or gratitude, self-love doesn’t just happen to you when you reach a certain job title or pants size. It’s a muscle that needs to be worked repeatedly in order to make it stronger. Every negative thought, moment of self-doubt, or criticism that comes up is like a practice round to improve self-love because you can recognize the thought and choose a more positive thought instead. Also, please stop saying that once you lose weight, get a promotion, or have more money, then you will love yourself. That’s just not how the mind works. You achieve what you want in life because you first know you deserve it, not the other way around. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    3. The problem isn’t you, it’s your expectations
    So you don’t look like a Photoshopped influencer, can’t resist cheese fries, or are too lazy to work out five times a week. You probably use all of these “failures” as justification to criticize yourself, thinking things like, “If only I had more willpower or as a better person, I could achieve what I want.” But why do you want to achieve those things in the first place? Would looking like someone else make you truly happier? No. Would working out five times a week make you happier? No. Would saying “no” to cheese fries make you happier? Helllll no. The truth is that we get so caught up in what we’re supposed to do, want, and be that we forget to think about what would actually make us happy. If you’re not meeting expectations, the problem is not you. The problem is that your expectations and goals don’t truly align with what it takes to make you happy (yep, that’s some deep ish, read that again). 
    When it comes to my own self-love, I’m letting my body exist in the healthy space it wants to be in. My “ideal weight” is the one that I feel most strong, energized, and healthy in, but also one that allows me the extra indulgences, fun moments, and enjoyment that makes life worth living. Our own expectations and goals should be tools we use to help us live our happiest lives. Otherwise, what’s the point?  

    4. There’s a difference between what you think is reality and actual reality
    My therapist showed me how my thought patterns would go into “all-or-nothing” mode, or better known as black-and-white thinking. Either I was perfectly healthy and motivated or I stopped caring about my health altogether; either I was crushing it at work or I thought I was completely messing up; either I loved my outfit and my hair looked great or I felt totally insecure leaving the house. The problem with this way of thinking is that I believed what my mind told me, thinking it was reality. 
    PSA: Life always has shades of gray. Plus, it’s not just gray, but a variety of colors you can choose from. If you’re criticizing or hard on yourself, it’s almost always because of your mindset, not because of reality (read: no one else is as hard on you as you are). Realize where you’re thinking in black and white, then add in other options. For example, you can be really good at your job while still making some mistakes, you can be healthy while indulging in chocolate cake, and you can still be happy with your life, even when you’re stressed about parts of it. 

    Source: @josie.santi

    5. Self-respect is more important
    So self-love gets all the buzz these days, but I’d like to introduce you to a new word that’s even more important: self-respect. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t going to live with the Lizzo-level “I’m my own soulmate” vibes 24/7 (not even Lizzo!) and love everything about ourselves. Maybe you want to change your nose, hate the way you look in an outfit, or regret something you did. And that’s OK, because when you love yourself (and I mean really, really love yourself), it’s not that you don’t have those thoughts, it’s just that you know those things don’t make you less than what you are.
    You achieve self-love the same way you build up any other relationship: show you care, do what you say you’re going to do, enjoy time alone, be kind, and be thoughtful. Confidence just means that you trust your own word, and self-respect comes when you live in alignment with who you truly are. Aim for self-trust and self-respect instead, knowing that self-love will follow. 

    10 Ways to Love Yourself More

    16 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Love More

  • in

    The Holy Grail Treatment That Has Made My Sore Muscles Disappear

    While I’ve had quite the run of working out from home (thanks to Obé Fitness and a well-stocked cabinet of workout gear), since I got back in the gym, my workouts have been a complete step above. I’m lifting heavier, going longer, needing fewer breaks—to say I’m thriving would be an understatement. But what comes with harder, more intense workouts? Feeling sore AF. I won’t complain that my body feels sore from my workouts because we all know that bittersweet feeling that we actually accomplished something when we wake up with shaky legs after a day of heavy squats or a long run. But when you get really sore, it can make even the simplest of tasks (like sitting on the toilet) feel like the most laborious chore.
    If you’re looking for a quick fix, massaging your body with a gua sha tool is probably the highest on the list, and it’s the only method I’ve found useful for both relieving and preventing soreness. 
    Gua sha is the act of scraping at the skin to promote circulation. “Gua means ‘scrape’ and Sha means ‘petechiae’ (tiny, flat red or purple spots) in Chinese,” said Dr. Ervina Wu, PhD, LAc, co-founder of YINA. “It’s commonly used in Chinese medicine to scrape the skin (mostly on the upper back) to invigorate blood flow, release heat-toxins, stimulate lymphatic drainage, activate various points of the body, and stimulate an immune response bringing helpful cells to the area.” If you haven’t tried it yourself (likely with a jade or rose quartz stone on your face), you’ve probably seen it on TikTok labeled as a natural way to sculpt and massage your face. It’s been used in ancient Chinese civilizations for centuries to bring out redness and treat ailments all over the body, using sharper objects like coins or scrapers. In Western culture, we’ve seen jade and rose quartz-shaped stones to lightly massage the face, moving around lymphatic drainage and sculpting the face.
    However, most of us are forgetting that one of the best ways to utilize our gua sha tools is on the body. I’ve added body gua sha to my nightly routine for the last two months. Here’s how I use it, what I use, and the Equilibria CBD products that have totally changed my gua sha routine.

    In this article

    Meet the expert
    Dr. Ervina Wu, PhD, LAc
    Dr. Ervina Wu is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and registered TCM Dermatologist and the founder of YINA, a beauty and wellness brand by two AAPI founders and doctors.

    Using Gua Sha With CBD
    When I want to really help my sore muscles, I pair a gua sha body massage with Equilibria’s CBD products, specifically the Relief Balm and Daily Treatment Oil. To get the gua sha moving around the skin, you always have to apply some kind of slippery product so you’re not tugging at your skin, and opting for CBD doubles the sore muscle-fighting powers. The Relief Cream is already my favorite product from Equilibria for relieving menstrual cramp pain and treating migraines, but it quite possibly works its best when used for sore muscles. It massages very deeply into your skin, and you can almost immediately feel it making a difference. When I use it with a gua sha stone, it glides beautifully. The stone itself is great for massaging the skin and relieving some of that soreness, but the Relief Balm actually feels like it’s taking away the soreness rather than just treating it.
    When I don’t use the Relief Cream, I’ll use the Daily Treatment Oil. Since my soreness is pretty prevalent right now, I’m trying to use my gua sha every other night before bed in my nighttime routine, and for the sheer sake of saving every last drop of my Relief Balm, I turn to this oil for everyday treatment. It’s a lot lighter obviously, so it goes a long way. A tiny bit of this covers practically my entire body. It’s definitely not as strong as the Relief Balm, but for an everyday massage, it still makes a bigger difference than using a regular body oil. The added benefit of this oil is that it makes my skin feel so soft and supple after I use it. I haven’t even been using my usual body lotions since I added this to my routine.

    Source: Equilibria

    Shop My Favorite Gua Sha Tools

    Bian Stone Body Gua Sha Tool
    This is the body gua sha I’ve been using, and it’s a game-changer. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to invest in a bigger gua sha to use on your body if you already have a stone you love for your face. But I love the rippled edge on this and also love that it’s a little bit bigger than a gua sha stone you’d use on your face so you can cover a lot more surface area in one swipe. Plus, it was developed by doctors of Chinese medicine and the brand’s founders are AAPI, and when buying a product that is so focused on a practice in Chinese culture, it’s important to support them.

    Gua Sha Body Scraping Tool
    For a less expensive alternative that you can use to really get into your muscles (especially your legs and calves for runners), this stainless steel tool will be your best friend.

    Benefits of Body Gua Sha
    I’ve seen so many benefits since I added this practice to my nighttime routine. “Gua Sha is especially effective at relieving muscular tension and breaking down fascia adhesions, [making it] perfect for those with tight muscles, sluggish circulation, and tech necks,” Dr. Wu said. Here’s what I’ve experienced so far:

    Better Sleep

    Because I do my body gua sha at night, I feel so relaxed that I fall asleep easier. But what I really love is how much deeper, longer, and more comfortably I sleep after using gua sha. Because I’ve relieved some of the tension in my muscles, I’m not tossing and turning all night trying to find a comfortable way to sleep.

    Softer Skin

    Thanks to my nighttime oil from Equilibria, my skin feels softer and smoother. It’s a reminder to use a moisturizing oil before bed, when I otherwise would scroll on my phone and avoid spending some extra time on myself, and my skin is thanking me for it. 

    Less Soreness Over Time

    Using gua sha on my sore muscles has actually made me get less sore over time. Because the gua sha increases circulation to those areas, they heal faster and are more prepared to recover on their own after a workout.

    Releases Tightness

    The gua sha massage breaks up tension because you’re massaging out those muscles and moving that lymphatic drainage around your body. When I use it on sore muscles, I notice an immediate difference: Those muscles feel energized and recovered. Dr. Wu also suggested trying gua sha on your legs and ankles for long flights to reduce swelling or keeping it at your desk to relieve shoulder tension, text thumbs, and achy keyboard hands. 

    More Relaxed Nighttime Routine

    Rather than feeling the scaries or anxiety before starting my night routine, I feel relaxed and excited to get into my gua sha massage.

    If you’re pregnant or menstruating, you should avoid using gua sha on your abdomen. If you tend to bruise or are on blood thinners, Dr. Wu recommended using lighter pressure. Also, you should avoid broken skin, wounds, scrapes, and any sensitive areas. 

    Source: Stocksy

    How Often Should You Gua Sha?
    You can gua sha anywhere from daily to once or twice a week. When I first started, I was only doing it as needed when my muscles felt a little sore, but I’ve started doing it just about every night before bed and have noticed the most results that way.

    How to Gua Sha on Your Body
    You can gua sha your entire body or just the areas you’re feeling sore and tight. Here’s my routine:
    Apply Relief Cream or Treatment Oil to my skin. I do this section by section so the oils don’t absorb into the skin before I can make it to that area. I don’t rub this in too much—just enough to get it spread out.
    Start at the top of your body and go down the rest from there. You can even gua sha your scalp like you’re combing your hair to feel extra relaxed. Follow this by doing your neck, chest, arms, abdomen, legs, and feet. Don’t forget the soles of your feet, ankles, and palms of the hands. According to Dr. Wu, you should move to another area once it starts to turn pink or warm. 
    Start with minimal pressure, and tailor your experience using all sides of the gua sha. When I want something more intense, I’ll use one of the sharp edges. When I want a larger surface area, I use the longest edge. My gua sha has a rippled edge as well, which I like to use on bigger muscle areas, like the tops of my arms, the shins, hamstrings, and top of the back.
    Do anywhere from 10-20 swipes for each section. This is pretty intuitive, so I focus on where I need the massage most and what feels most effective for me.
    Finish the massage by running your hands over each area, rubbing in any excess oil or balm.
    If you experience any redness from your gua sha, that’s normal! Especially if you use a firmer pressure, gua sha can bring up lots of redness and inflammation in the body, but it should go away in a few hours.

    This post is sponsored by Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More