One of the many side effects of going through the Covid-19 pandemic is the impact on your skin, caused by stress, increased screen time and wearing face masks.
While government guidelines have encouraged us to keep our bodies active to stay healthy physically and mentally, there hasn't been a solution for the damage additional stress and anxiety has caused to our faces – until now.
Leading British 'face yoga' expert Danielle Collins, 38, has devised a simple five step routine that she claims will not only boost your complexion, but also lower levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body.
The exercises take minutes to complete and Danielle insists you'll notice a difference in just 10 days, with frown lines less intense, reduced puffiness around the eyes and an easing of the dreaded 'turkey neck' aggravated by hunching in front of a laptop.
Leading 'face yoga' expert Danielle Collins, 38, pictured, has devised a simple five step routine that she claims will not only boost your complexion, but also lower levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body
The Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method, which combines face exercise, massage, acupressure and relaxation, is popular among celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Meghan Markle and Gwyneth Paltrow.
While previously sharing her beauty tips with Birchbox, Meghan said: 'I do facial exercises... I swear it works, as silly as you may feel. On the days I do it, my cheekbones and jawline are way more sculpted.'
'Negative emotions, such as sadness, grief, worry or anger, show on our face,' Danielle told FEMAIL. 'It is hard to hide negativity that is going on inside.
'Along with the physical reasons how stress ages the face, the thoughts and emotions related to stress can show in many ways too.
'The main function of the face muscles is to give us the ability to make facial expressions. Each muscle in the face has a particular function and needs to be looked after differently; some need to be strengthened and lifted, others need to be released of tension and some need training to be relaxed.
'These exercises give people really achievable, simple things that they can do to lower stress and anxiety levels. This means you will have less cortisol and adrenaline in your body and this will then make your immune system stronger.'
Here Danielle shares her five step programme with FEMAIL.
THE JAW TONER
The jaw toner helps to ease jaw tension where we hold a lot of our anxiety and offers instant relief
1. Take your index finger, middle finger and thumb on both hands and gently pinch along your jaw line., toward your ears, pinching and releasing. Do this for 30 seconds, only ever moving upward.
2. Then, take your thumbs and place them next to each other on the chin at the jaw line. Stroke them along the jaw, away from each other.
3. Lift them off when you reach the ears and start again. Do this for 30 seconds.
FROWN LINE SMOOTHER
This smooths lines which are created by repetitive stress expressions. Instant relaxation. Lines start to soften in 10 days
1. Make your index fingers into little hook shapes. Then using your knuckles, stroke upward along your procerus muscle between your eyebrows.
2. Start from the little dip at the top of the nose and stroke all the way up to your hairline at the top of the forehead.
3. Keep doing this massage motion, only moving in an upward direction, for one minute.
This exercise reduces puffiness and dark circles caused by stress, poor sleep and unhealthy diet and stimulates calming acupressure points around eyes. It instantly reduces puffiness but long term results can be seen in 10 days
1. Place your index fingers just under the outer edge of the eyebrows, then very gently smooth the fingers under your eyes and pause at the inner corners for 10 seconds, pressing this acupressure point.
2. Continue in a circle down under your eye and back to this acupressure point again, pausing for 10 seconds here each time.
3. Keep the massage going for 1 minute.
TECH NECK SOOTHER
This exercise relaxes stress in neck and reduces 'tech neck' instantly and with daily use should reduce pain in 10 days
1. Place your four fingers of both hands behind the back of the neck, gently pressing in to the muscles either side of your spine and tilt your head back so that the fingers press in to the muscles a little deeper.
2. Bring your head back to the starting position and repeat again, slowly and with control. Do this 30 times in total.
3. Then hold your hands in position and tilt your head back and hold there, wiggling the fingers a bit, perhaps even doing some circular massages. Do whatever feels intuitively right to release your neck.
TURKEY NECK TONER
This routine eases neck tension and tones front of neck from over use of screens. Results start to show in 10 days
1. Tilt your head back as far as is comfortable for you. Gently close your lips.
2. Repeatedly bring the tip of your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and back down. Do this 60 times for a minute.
Danielle now has 800 teachers of her Face Yoga Method accredited in 50 different countries. Her book has been translated into 13 different languages and she also has a range of apps for face and body yoga, along with DVDs and a YouTube channel.
Her impressive business empire was born from her passion for yoga after she experienced first-hand its power to heal. Diagnosed with ME when she was 22, Danielle was determined to overcome the health obstacle she faced - and when a friend suggested yoga she decided to give it go.
Danielle also turned to acupuncture, acupressure, reduced her sugar intake, gave up alcohol and coffee and focussed on eating whole foods.
After 18 months, Danielle claims she fully healed herself. She eventually started teaching yoga and it was a request from her students for exercises to tone their faces that eventually led to her developing her successful Face Yoga.
Danielle said this year, with all the Covid challenges that have arisen, will have been a transformative one for lots of people.
'Many of us will have been taken away from our support systems and that structure we are used to and a lot of people will have higher stress levels, but some will have enjoyed working from home,' she said.
'This year will have made people realise what's important and what comes first - it's about happiness, health and family.'
For more information visit https://faceyogaexpert.com/about