In 2020, many of us spent more time looking at our own faces than ever before. This has not been the result of some newfound vanity, but courtesy of the rise in video calls. At no other time in our lives have we been obliged to spend quite so much time staring at our own faces. Not only that, but it’s been our own faces at the mercy of aggressive computer lighting. The net result has been a somewhat unexpected side effect of Covid-19; a meteoric rise in cosmetic surgery and aesthetic procedures, but is that what it’s really about?
According to the BBC: “the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) says its doctors were reporting up to 70% increases in requests for virtual consultations [since UK lockdown started] as patients continued to consider treatments they’d be able to get once they could see their surgeon face to face again.”
“‘Lockdown Face’ has become a thing … We were inundated with queries saying, ‘I’ve noticed that my frown line is terrible, that my lips need doing, or my nose is crooked”Ashton Collins, director of Save Face, a UK government-approved register of accredited cosmetic practitioners
Many of us are familiar with the feeling, as like some sort of strange Pinocchio story we see lines, wrinkles, grey hairs, moles and spots grow before our very eyes, as time on a conference call ticks by. They become the only things we can see, the things we can’t un-see, and it has a knock on effect for our mental wellbeing as well.
We all know that for all the benefits of digitisation, and there are many, too much time online can be bad for our health. We have heard the terms ‘digital detox’ more often than we care to admit, and we have all been told to stop looking at our phones late at night because of how they impact our sleep. For many this year, the computer has been a lifeline – for work, for communication, for contact, for food shops, for education. However, how we manage our time offline has not risen proportionately. Most of us have not been prepared for some of the more insidious side effects that creep up following extended time across digital platforms, affecting how we feel in general and how we feel about ourselves.
The answer to this is, of course, not simple. We can’t, and shouldn’t go ‘fixing’ everything we dislike about our faces or bodies because we know that we can’t always believe everything that our brains tell us. Chances are, many of the ‘imperfections’ you are focusing on, are the same things that someone else loves about you – the laughter lines, the beauty spot, the creases around your eyes when you smile.
However, paying positive attention to face, mind and body to help you improve the way you feel about yourself is part of your overall wellbeing. For some, that might mean having aesthetic treatments and non-invasive procedures, such as Botox or skin fillers. For others, that might mean having a facial every now and then. Perhaps a massage will change your sense of perspective and help you get back into your body and out of your head. In reality it’s a combination of lots of things.
The reality is that how we feel about the way we look is rarely actually about the way we look, and usually much more about our overall wellbeing. Whether we feel stressed, whether we feel healthy, whether we feel relaxed, fulfilled, cared for and whether we have something to look forward to – it all has an impact on our physical and mental health, and it all feeds into one another. It can even affect how we literally see ourselves.
Each individual will have things that help them to manage their sense of wellness on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and there’s no single solution for all things and all people. However, stepping away from the computer and putting dedicated time aside to look after ourselves does make a difference. Wellbeing is about so many things, and in our experience, addressing that starts with doing a little and often to take care of ourselves. Maybe it really is about that wrinkle, and if you want to address that specifically, that’s ok. Chances are however, that it’s not just the wrinkle – it’s about lots of things, and addressing that is ongoing – making time that’s just for you on a regular basis. Perhaps you will put 10 minutes aside for facial steam at home, a weekly manicure, a monthly massage or a quarterly day with your mum or a friend relaxing by the pool and putting the world to rights. You’re allowed to feel good, and if statistics are anything to go by, it seems we’re all in need of a little more me-time in 2021.
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