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How 2020 Changed My Beauty and Self-Love Habits

By Chandra Pepino For Belo Medical Group on January 1, 2021

WHEN I FIRST started my job at Belo, I would carry a fully-loaded makeup bag at all times. I faced celebrities and important people on the daily, so I made it a priority to look my best. It would take me 20 minutes to get ready, from primer to base makeup to lips and eyes, ending with mascara. And don’t forget the hair, which I always curled and sprayed to perfection. 

On the other hand, my physical and mental health were in the gutter. I ate mostly junk and never worked out, and I would procrastinate often, causing stress to pile up at the end of my work days. I convinced myself that self-love meant I was entitled to eat the entire bag of family-size chips, or that I ~deserved~ to veg out in front of the TV all weekend. Let’s not even get into my sleep, screen time, and water intake. Essentially, the conscientiousness I put into my makeup routine was inversely proportional to the commitment I gave my body and my brain. Something had to give.

And give it did, when ECQ was announced in March 2020. In isolation, I took a long hard look at myself and realized I had really let my body go. I gained a total of 10 pounds from March to May, my skincare routine was zilch, and I compensated for my COVID-related anxiety by binging Netflix shows and spending way too much time on TikTok. (Confession: I still spend too much time on TikTok.) I was about to surpass my heaviest weight ever. I knew it was time for a change.

So over the course of three months, I slowly integrated new habits into my routine, many of which have stuck with me until today. First, I began meditating every day. This helped sharpen my focus and ease my attachments to the physical world and all its distractions. Then, I began intermittent fasting and working out three to four times a week. You don’t need me to tell you why that’s good for you. (Happy to report that I lost the 10 pounds I had gained, and then some!) I took it upon myself to commit to a consistent skincare routine (AM and PM). To top it all off, I gave my health a boost by taking Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and collagen supplements every morning. These habits became a self-fulfilling prophecy: instead of me feeling healthier and more confident by doing them, I was doing them because I was healthier and more confident. And with each day that passed, the prouder I became of how well I was treating myself for once.

That’s not to say that 2020 wasn’t a horrible year for me. It was not easy, just like it wasn’t for a great many of us. I was tested financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, I was able to weather the storm precisely because my newfound habits had taught me what it means to care for and love myself. When at your core, you know and love who you are, there are few challenges you can’t overcome. Your worth is no longer tied to the people who hurt you or the bad things that happened to you. It becomes a matter of your will and fighting spirit.

Self-love, for many, can be frivolous. Sometimes it means splurging on that perfume or taking a day off work just because you’re overwhelmed. During a year like 2020, however, self-love can mean survival. I know it sounds ridiculous to credit meditation or a skincare routine for getting through tough times, but those simple acts forge an attitude of discipline and love that echoes into your major life decisions. Trust me when I say I hit one of the lowest points of my life last year. Who knew that a little encouragement and support from me to me was what I needed to pull me through?

2020 taught me that when I treat myself right, I will no longer look to others for the love and affection I crave. I am perfectly capable of picking myself up from the ground and, slowly but surely, building lifelong habits that benefit my skin, body, mind, heart, and soul. Here’s to 2021.

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