Normally the holidays are a wonderful time of year, filled with love, laughter, family, food, and fun. During this time, we tend to stray from our usual routines, including eating, exercise, sleep, and relaxation. These changes can wreak havoc on both our health and our skin.

This year is particularly complicated as we try to migrate a new way to celebrate with loved ones from a distance while sheltering in place. This year our stress levels have been even higher and our skin is letting us know.

In addition this year I found myself off my regular routine in general. I went from being basically a white sugar, gluten free vegan (for everyone who has read my book you know about my 85-15% lifestyle and life is just too short to not have pizza, ice cream and french fries every once in a while) to joining the sourdough bread craze and craving sugar. The added stress of being separated from my loved ones makes keeping myself physically and emotionally healthy while also maintaining beautiful skin more work. It might be more difficult, but it is still achievable. This is when we really need to look at all aspects that contribute to skin health.

There’s a lot of awareness more about what we put on our skin and its health, but it’s important to remember the bigger picture of wellbeing. Twenty-one years ago, when naming my new company, I wanted sumthing that said it all. I wanted to convey that skin care is about the total sum: what we put on our skin + our thoughts and feelings + our lifestyle + what we put in our bodies = happy, youthful, glowing, beautiful skin.

Yes, chemicals in cosmetics exacerbate the very skin issue we’re trying to avoid or remedy, but that’s only one piece of the skin health puzzle. Our skin is our largest organ, so what we put in our body has a significant impact on it, too.

Lifestyle factors, such as where we live, if we commute, how often we exercise, stress levels, and even medications, play a role in skin health.

Believe it or not, our moods even have the power to impact our looks. Think of someone newly in love: they’re radiant, beaming with that “love glow.” On the other hand, someone going through a nasty breakup can look tired and unwell. I believe in the power of positive reinforcement. So do your best to infuse your thoughts with positivity. This creates a solid foundation for luminous skin. In these difficult times it can be hard to remain positive and optimistic. I know people are deeply grieving, out of work, overtaxed and there’re many things that are out of our control. I have a daughter who’s a doctor and another who's a nurse working on the front line and have not been able to see them in almost a year. Everybody has their pandemic story in each and every one of them touches my heart. I in no way want to minimize what’s going on in the world. However, aiming for at least one positive thought a day can do us a world of good. Even if you have to tell yourself a white lie like” I am happy, healthy, positive and productive”, when you’re not feeling happy, healthy, positive or productive. Affirmations can be powerful.

At Sumbody we say, “beautiful skin starts within,” because of the pivotal role food plays in skin health. In fact, I consider food to be an integral part of my beauty routine. A wholesome diet is essential to a healthy, radiant complexion.

So, what can you do to unwind, de-stress, and get your skin glowing after the holiday season during a pandemic?

First, take some time to breathe. Deep breaths, downtime, and stress releasers, such as mediation, yoga, and exercise, help keep skin youthful. Take three "beauty breaths” before getting out of bed in the morning and before getting into bed at night. Everyone may not have the time to mediate or exercise daily, but we can all start and end our days with this simple, rejuvenating practice.

Get plenty of sleep. Your skin stays active while you’re snoozing. And while you can’t “catch up” on sleep, it’s good to let your skin do its thing while you get some well-deserved, restorative shuteye.

Watch what you eat. Once your body is used to indulging it can be difficult to return to your regular eating habits. Ease back with healthier alternatives, like a yummy mocktail.

Non-Alcoholic June Bride

  • 2 bada bing cherries
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of the juice
  • club soda
  • orange peel on the rim

Stir and pour into a highball glass full of ice. Top with orange peel.

Virgin Winter Wonder

  • Iced rooibos tea
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 slices of apple
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon

Brew tea and add 1 teaspoon of grated apple to 1 cup of tea. Let cool, strain, ad chill. Add coconut milk and vanilla to tea and stir. Pour into a fancy glass of your choice. Top with cinnamon and garnish with apple slices on rim or a skewer over the top.

As always, be mindful of what products you’re using. Try switching to a bar of pure, old-fashioned soap and stay away from harsh detergent cleansers. Try Sumbody’s super-hydrating Milky Rich soap. Use a body scrub, that’s made with skin-softening butters. Your body from the neck-down needs heavier butters for the proper moisture. Look for a non-foaming facial cleanser, pH-balancing toner, oil-based moisturizer, and powdered face mask that have short, simple, natural ingredients.

And above all else, be kind to yourself. We’re only human. Everyone deviates from their norm to indulge now and then, particularly in stressful times. Bask in the jubilance. Then restore, refresh, and return to your usual routine. Embrace the joy and remember that balance is the key.

December 22, 2020 — Office -Sumbody