Looking after your mind and body can have a profound effect on both your physical and mental health, so it's important that you're always taking steps to relax and nurture both to their full potential. As of last year, mainly driven by the pandemic, many people took more time to set themselves wellness routines that made them feel good in themselves ranging from regular exercise and home workouts to healthy eating and skincare routines.

Whether you started to refine your wellness routine last year, or have neglected it for quite a while now, with life slowly but surely moving back to normal, 2021 is the perfect time to enhance your care regime. Here, I'll be sharing my top five tips for taking your self-care to the next level this year.

Care for your skin everyday

Looking after your skin can make you feel great on both the inside and outside. As well as addressing and clearing up any areas of concern you might have, going through the steps of a skincare routine allows you to have a little "me time". This gives you an opportunity for mindfulness and allows you to focus on the relaxing sensations, such as the feeling of facial massages and the soothing nature of the warm water.

For a facial skincare routine, you'll want to make sure the products you're using aren't harsh and abrasive, and instead soothe your skin and make it feel fresh. I recommend a good cleanser, toner, and moisturiser you can use day and night for the basics. You can then add some extra products in depending on your skin type and texture. For example, if you want to even out and plump your skin, hyaluronic acid serums will be great to use every day, while a retinoid will actively promote collagen creation.

Pampering yourself in the shower is also likely to lift your mood and make you feel overall refreshed. If you love baths, some dreamy bubble bath gels won't go amiss in your wellness routine. Similarly, a beautifully scented body lotion will be the perfect finishing touch to your daily shower regime.

If you're looking to take care of your body from within too, taking some supplements, such as immune boosters and detoxifying solutions, can help to address your main concerns.

Unwind with low-intensity exercise

Feeling great starts from within, but that doesn't mean you can't help aid it with some relaxation techniques. While some HIIT can get your heart pumping and give you a burst of energy for the day ahead, low-intensity sports like yoga and pilates have been found to improve everything from posture and joint mobility, as well as releasing both physical and mental stress and tension (NHS).

If you've found you frequently get stressed, try following exercises from either of these sports for around 40 minutes 2–3 times per week. This can be as soon as you wake up for a slow, soothing start to your day, or just before bed to help you unwind and clear your mind before you sleep.

Start integrating mindfulness activities

As we have worked to beat the stigma around mental health problems, there has been a greater focus on taking the time to do mindful activities. This can be anything from meditation, to colouring, or even journaling — anything that destresses you, and gives you time to reflect and pay attention to your thoughts and breathing will be perfect.

Taking even just a couple of minutes a day to reflect on, or write down, how you're feeling and potentially why you feel like that can take a big weight off your shoulders. Too often we tend to dismiss or conceal negative feelings to stop us from becoming too affected from them, but by not engaging with them, you can increase the problem and it'll be more distressing when it comes to the surface.

Set some daily routines for yourself

Happiness certainly stems from within, but that doesn't mean you can't look after things like your body and skin, too. In fact, a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal reported daily wellbeing routines like skincare can reduce your chances of suffering from mental health issues like mood disorders, depression, and bipolar.

Whether you make it a non-negotiable to always take yourself out for a walk at lunch time, or to shower in the morning rather than the evening, having some symmetry in your days can help reduce stress and mean you can always feel accomplished for ticking at least one thing off your daily checklist.

As well as this, maintaining routines for each day means you can stop all of the days merging into one, and can focus on the specific day ahead.

Create a calm living space

Your internal mood is heavily influenced by your environment, which is why you might have found that you need to work in a well-organised space rather than among clutter. So, to boost wellness, I'd advise making sure your living space promotes serenity, so you can also feel relaxed and calm.

This doesn't necessarily call for a full interior makeup, but some smaller touches can help. For example, giving your plain walls a lick of paint in a soothing colour like blue, or adding some soft scatter cushions and throws to your sofa for a cosy feel can help.

By Margo Marrone, Co-Founder of The Organic Pharmacy