From The Straits Times    |

There aren’t many upsides to the pandemic, but one of the few positive things to have come about is that the tough circumstances have turned the spotlight on the importance of self-love and self-care.

Many people take that to mean pampering themselves with online shopping, home facials and makeover experiments, or taking the time to pick up new hobbies and skills – but that’s really just the surface. 

Real self-love isn’t about improving our looks or finding fulfilment through external trappings. It means getting to know ourselves better, seeing our inherent value, and accepting ourselves as we are – warts, flaws and all. 

This is the kind of self-love that The Body Shop wants to champion, and it’s spreading the word with a year-long global campaign that aims to inspire one million acts of self-love. Why? Because it’s only when we learn to love and believe in ourselves that we can help bring about changes for a better world. 

If all this sounds rather overwhelming, relax – you just have to start with baby steps. 

And a simple way is to create an environment that’s conducive for connecting with yourself – where you can feel good, clear your head and recharge. And the best place to do this is at home, where we spend the most time these days.

Here, we have some suggestions on how to practise self-love in your own little personal haven.

Self-love haven tip #1: Do a self-massage regularly

It’s probably the simplest way to show yourself some TLC and appreciation. Massaging your skin prompts the body to release various feel-good chemicals, such as the love hormone oxytocin, as well as dopamine and serotonin, which boost mood and happiness. 

And the perks don’t stop there. Massage is also known to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and lower heart rate and blood pressure. 

To get started, ditch the idea that self-massage is an indulgence or a rare treat. Instead, think of it as part of a regular self-care routine you practise to foster greater self-love. 

Now, choose your favourite body moisturiser or oil, something with a nourishing, luxurious texture, or a smell that relaxes you and improves your mood. The Body Shop’s Shea Body Butter, for instance, has a wonderfully rich, comforting scent that melts away tension. Its buttery yet non-greasy texture is made for very dry skin, but is also great for night-time use or if you sleep in an air-conditioned room.  

For something lighter to use in the day, pick from The Body Shop Body Yogurt range of absorb-in-a-flash creams, which come in delicious scents like British Rose and Almond Milk

Apply your body moisturiser of choice in long strokes up and down your arms and legs. You can even massage your ear lobes in circular movements, which encourages the release of endorphins (more happy hormones). 

If you have specific spots that are painful or sore like the neck, gently move your fingers in circles over the afflicted area, then repeat in the opposite direction for a few minutes. Massaging your feet is also a great way to release stress and boost energy. 

Self-love haven tip #2: Indulge while you shampoo

Don’t neglect your head during your self-massage. There is growing evidence which suggests that massaging the scalp helps to relieve stress and tension. It may even ease headaches and promote hair growth. So as you’re lathering up your shampoo, use your fingertips to apply medium to firm pressure on your scalp, moving in small circular motions. 

And while you’re at it, take the time to enjoy the scent of your shampoo. Some, like The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Ginger Scalp Care Conditioner, not only cleanse hair and purify the scalp, but offer a spot of aromatherapy too. Containing ginger essential oil from Sri Lanka and honey from Ethiopia, the shampoo has a warm, pleasant scent that turns your shower into a mini spa. Finish up with the Ginger Scalp Serum to enhance the experience and complement the shampoo’s effects. 

Self-love haven tip #3: Refresh your body

Clear away dull, rough and dead skin by exfoliating once or twice a week. Like self-massage, a thorough scrub-down helps you to know your body well and be comfortable with it, including all its wobbly bits, blemishes and lines. 

Look for a nourishing scrub like The Body Shop Shea Exfoliating Sugar Body Scrub that smooths and refines skin without leaving it feeling tight and itchy. Its light nutty scent is a plus. 

Self-love haven tip #4: Clear your mind

Though people often associate relaxation with self-love, maintaining a fresh headspace for clear thinking has feel-good benefits too, such as lifting your energy and boosting confidence – important since many of us are still working from home. 

The way a place smells plays a significant role in this, so give your work area an uplifting scent. It’s effortless too, simply place a home fragrance like The Body Shop Basil & Thyme Reed Diffuser in an airy part of the room and let it disperse its crisp, herby aroma. Or if you prefer the use of a burner, try the Basil & Thyme Home Fragrance Oil

To keep post-lunch lethargy at bay, keep a facial spritz like The Body Shop Mandarin Energising Face Mist (client to check availability on Lazada) close at hand. Infused with refreshing mandarin, camu camu berry extract and caffeine, it’s an instant pick-me-up for both your skin and your spirits.

Start your self-love journey today

Join The Body Shop community and share your act of self-love by tagging @thebodyshopsg and #SelfLoveUprising. 

You can also inspire others and spread the self-love message in your conversations by downloading The Body Shop’s Whatsapp self-love sticker pack, or use the brand’s giphys on Instagram and Facebook (search for “Self Love Uprising”). The Body Shop products are available in stores, Lazada, Shopee, GrabMart and PandaMart.

Brought to you by The Body Shop