It's the Weekend! Emerge More Relaxed and More Beautiful

The weekend is finally here, and whether you survived a tiring week at work or school, hopefully this is your downtime. Many of us reportedly don't feel more relaxed come Monday: This is largely because we don't "shut off" during the weekends. We either still think about work, or we stay plugged in electronically. The brain needs time to come down from all the day-to-day pressures, as well as the constant feed of media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, texting).

For this weekend, try unplugging completely for one day. Turn off your cell phone for several hours; don't check your e-mail; stay off Facebook. The world WILL survive with you incommunicado for one day. Notify your immediate family and close friends in case of an emergency, but the odds are, it won't happen.

Here are a few more suggestions that are simple but will help you feel and look more rested come Monday.

1. Your hands have likely taken a beating this winter. We often neglect our hands, but they reveal sun damage and general wear and tear very quickly. On Saturday and Sunday nights, apply your favorite anti-aging cream or a thick moisturizer, layer a thin coat of petroleum jelly over it to seal it in, and sleep in cotton gloves. If you can't imagine sleeping with these on, do this treatment while watching a movie (or, better yet, a movie marathon).

2. Sleep in deep conditioner: This may sound uncomfortable, but if tie your hair together and wrap a small towel around it, you will be able to sleep comfortably. The difference of leaving conditioner on for several hours, and not just minutes, will amaze you. For added benefits, mix a little Moroccan or olive oil into your deep conditioner.

3. Give yourself a relaxing facial in the shower: Shut the bathroom door and run the shower on hot for a few minutes before getting in. This will create the steamy atmosphere you want to open pores (make sure to turn the water down to a comfortable temperature before getting in). Once in the shower, gently exfoliate the skin with a finely-milled product (harsh abrasives will only irritate your skin), rinse, and follow up with a vitamin-rich mask. Wear the mask for the remainder of the shower. The heat and surrounding moisture will help the ingredients sink in. Once out of the shower, apply a moisturizer or anti-aging cream to skin while it it's still damp and warm. The ingredients will penetrate more deeply.

4. Try meditation: This isn't exactly cosmetic, but stress and anxiety do affect our skin. The more we integrate even small periods of relaxation into our lives, the better our entire system - including our skin - functions. If sitting in silence feels awkward, try downloading a relaxation or guided imagery session onto your MP3. Listening to it right before bed means a more restful night's sleep.

5. Add green tea, a couple extra glasses of water a day, and a vegetable-heavy meal to your weekend: These small changes will make you feel and look better sooner than you think. If you can eliminate caffeine and alcohol for at least one weekend day, try it. Alcohol causes bloating and aggravates anxiety. Caffeine has similar effects, dehydrating the body and keeping us feeling jittery.

Most importantly, make sure to really enjoy your weekend. Come Monday, you'll feel a world of difference.


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