March 1, 2017
We live in a culture where it’s so easy to accumulate junk. I’m talking about the mess that we accrue within our minds, bodies and spirits from the food we eat, shows we watch and conversations that we have. Even in our physical spaces we are taught that more is good and equates to success when in reality, it’s just a way to spend more money on fruitless things that our spaces don’t need. Again-junk.
I’ve spent the last few years trying to figure out how to de-clutter my life by getting rid of the things that do not aid my need to survive. As a psychotherapist, it is something that I also urge my clients to do because it frees up so much space within our homes and our bodies, and the lighter the load, the easier it is to navigate through life.
One of the many things that I focused on removing from my physical space is the junk that was stacking up in my medicine cabinet. I’m talking about the toxin-infiltrated toners, cleansers, face creams, and even household cleaning products that left me feeling like I couldn’t breathe after I finished using them.
I know it may be hard to soak up the importance behind why we should we concerned about body lotion when there is so many other issues happening within humanity. But I believe that if we can work on bettering ourselves first, we can then work on being a change within our culture. And yes, even our body lotion and cleaning products deserve some attention because what you are putting in your body, and on your body, can be affecting your quality of life.
I’m going to make a huge assumption that your quality of life matters to you, and if you can make one choice a day that will improve the essence of how you live, I would hope that you’d take advantage of that opportunity.
When I was twenty-two years old I was diagnosed with Major Depression, an illness I had been struggling with since I was five years old. As a kid and teenager I wasn’t taught that my mental health was equally essential to my survival as much as food and water was. I had the hopeless thoughts, suicidal tendencies, anhedonia and constant fatigue. After spending years in therapy to learn how to better manage my symptoms and take care of myself, I continued on in doing research on the many things that affect my development outside of my environment and genetics.
I paid attention to how I felt when I ate more greens versus a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. I noticed the difference in my attitude and self-esteem when I worked out versus lying on my couch all day. And when I started being mindful about what I put on my body, I noticed an improvement in not only my skin, but also a newfound sense of confidence and empowerment that I never had before. It felt great to have a sense of control and reassurance that I was aware of the ingredients that I was putting on my skin.
Making the switch to clean personal products might sound laborious and expensive, but in reality, it is cost efficient and can become a fun DIY project that’ll only take less than ten minutes. And if DIY is not for you, there are an abundance of clean products on the market now that are making its way into your favorite stores like Target and CVS.
So why does clean care matter anyway? If I told you that some of the lotions you use contain harsh chemicals like parabens which links back to cancer, endocrine disruptions and reproductive toxicity. Triclosan can be found in your toothpaste, deodorants and even antibacterial soap. This agent is used as an antimicrobial but it has been found to lead to endocrine disruption and be harmful to the immune system. Studies show that you are better off sticking to soap and water rather than investing extra in antibacterial soaps and body washes. Other hosts to look out for are sulfates, fragrances, silicone, synthetic preservatives, octinoxate, and animal fillers.
When I started buying clean products, as well as making my own, it came with a peace of mind and all I had to do was organize my life a certain way to get there. We are taught to eat healthy, work out more, meditate and balance our lifestyle-but there is still so much more work to be done and your beauty routine could be the next step that you take to ensure that you are doing your body right.
Know that making the switch takes time-like everything else in life. Don’t go in your medicine cabinet and trash everything. Start small. The first beauty switch I made was throwing out my body lotion and creating my Garden Body Oil that I use on damp skin day and night which has kept my skin hydrated more than my lotions did. I threw away those strong smelling agents that I used for cleaning, and switched to an all-natural multi-purpose cleaner that cleans everything from my stove to bathtub rather than having five different products.
What junk are you holding onto? Our work as humans is to elevate our lifestyles by making choices that accompany our growth and elongates our quality of life. A healthy mind deserves a healthy body. And you are just one choice away from that.
Minaa B. is a NYC based psychotherapist and author of the book Rivers Are Coming. She treats clients who struggle with complex mental health disorders and she also works as a mental health advocate. Minaa believes in attaining peace through the mind, spirit and body and created the all-natural apothecary line Sunday Mornings. Her work can be found at www.minaab.com and you can find her dropping words of wisdom on her Instagram @minaa_b.