During the ongoing COVID pandemic there has been an increased focus on mental health and wellbeing, and more recently has shone the spotlight on the impact of being denied regular access to beauty and aesthetic treatments. It appears there has been increased reporting of a negative impact on people’s feelings of self-worth, happiness and confidence as a result of extended lockdown – away from some of those services which form part of people’s wellbeing rituals, such as hairdressers, beauty salons, spas and aesthetic clinics.
Essential or non-essential?
Pre-Covid, undergoing aesthetics or beauty tweakments at certain periods across the year was something that many had built seamlessly into our routines – a timely confidence boost that, with the enforced closure of the “non-essential” businesses who perform these procedures, has been swiftly brought to an end. This can even result in feelings of anxiety and a buildup of negative self-image.
What this lack of accessibility to popular procedures has forced us to ask is: just how much do these tweakments affect how we feel about ourselves? A cursory glance at recent media articles suggests that tweakments have a strong bearing on the self-esteem and mental health of consumers.
In a world where we’ve all been forced to weigh up the things that really are essential, it seems that the health and beauty treatments we used to take for granted are, for some people, crucial to both the maintenance of their identity and positive mental health.
Whilst in the best interests of public health, these closures have also fostered a sub-culture that seems designed to take advantage of those currently struggling with their confidence and self-image. Reduced access to tweakments has led to a surge in clandestine aesthetic treatments by unscrupulous practitioners – or ill-advised patients attempting to administer themselves with home kits purchased online. When treatments have been delivered incorrectly there are reports of tissue damage, paralysis, and even blindness among those who have either self-administered Botox and fillers, or paid a disreputable practitioner to do it for them in an unsafe and poorly sanitized environment.
Additionally, this increase in illegal and unsafe practices has highlighted the serious need for better regulation in the aesthetics industry, with calls for more legislation around the sale and administration of injectable treatments.
How to manage mental health during lockdown
Mental health is about so much more than just body image – but for some patients, their beauty rituals and tweakments have been a big part of their self-image, positivity and confidence. With clinics planning to open their doors around early July, here’s what you can do in the meantime to work towards feeling better about yourself in other ways:
- Dress for the day – Working from home has given us the freedom to sit in our pyjamas each and every day, should we so desire. This may be a dream come true for some people but could have a very telling effect on the mental health of others. Psychologists have suggested that dressing for the day can make us feel more prepared, proactive and ready to take on the world, meaning that taking the time to dress in office attire and to “put your face on” could be what is needed to break you out of the slump.
- Regular exercise – Having to see other people on a less regular basis can really limit our activities and make our world seem much smaller than it used to be. To counteract this, regular outside exercise is recommended as it will allow you to escape from the current monotony of working and living and expose you to a different setting. Don’t worry about bumping into too many people while doing so if you aren’t feeling your best self as it’s still advised to keep 2m apart from anyone from a different household.
- Learning new skills – lockdown has allowed many of us to tap into our inner baker, writer or craftsperson – amongst other things – with lots of people using this downtime to get to grips with a new skill or hobby. Doing this could be a useful way of winding down or de-stressing and will give you licence to place your creativity elsewhere.
- Focus on self-care – Even though aesthetics clinics are closed, that doesn’t mean that your health and appearance has to experience a decline in other areas. Many people have used this time to really focus on getting their skin back into pristine condition and several beauty brands have reported a renewed interest in bathing and skincare products instead of makeup and cosmetic items. Think of this time as a way of starting afresh and giving your body the chance to recover from always having to look “presentable” and “acceptable”.
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