Do you remember that summer… oh, it was quite a while ago, when you lounged on the sand and looked down at your toes and smiled? The tops of your feet were tanned, the bottoms smooth, and your toes perfectly adorned with shiny polish. That was the summer when you had time on your hands, and spent time on your feet.
Today, you’re juggling schedules (yours, your partner’s, your kids’ and your company’s), running from one place to the next, and trying to find the time to do it all. Have your feet fallen to the bottom of your list of “I’ll get to that later” tasks? The busier you are, the more work your feet have to do: on average, that means more than 5,000 steps a day, every day—and sometimes more. No wonder your feet hurt!
Because they literally hold you up, your feet need to be strong so that you can be stable. Feet are sensitive to the tiniest amount of disruption—think of how painful a pebble in your shoe can be—or discomfort, from cold temperatures to hot blisters. When something’s even slightly off, like a shoe that doesn’t fit just right, it affects the way you walk, stand, and feel.
Taking care of your feet goes deeper than a weekly pedicure. Here are some tips on how to love your feet, and the benefits of each:
Soak your feet a few times a week. Fill a plastic tub with warm water and Epsom salts. The salts flush out toxins and help heal fungal infections. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts also improves circulation, helping limit varicose veins without costly surgery.
Soften your feet with coconut oil. This is easy, inexpensive and it works: rub coconut oil onto clean, dry feet and cover with cotton socks. You’ll be amazed how quickly your dry, rough skin will be healed.
Support your soles. There are some amazing insoles on the market today that you can sneak right into your favorite shoes, transforming the cutest shoes you own into the ones that love your feet the most. (By the way, you can also find Spenco insoles for kids—much more affordable than high-end running shoes for everyday wear.)
Take care of your cuticles. The easiest way to do this (for hands and feet) is with a natural (non-corrosive) cuticle cream, like Burt’s Bees lemon butter.
Let your nails “breathe.” High-gloss polish looks great, and those press-on stickers are fast and fun, but both can be damaging to your toenails. Experts say that giving your toenails a break from polish prevents them from getting too brittle or dry. (This is also a great time-saver!)
Keep the insides of your shoes clean. The simplest way to keep the insides of your shoes clean is to sprinkle a bit of baking soda in them, let it sit overnight, and then shake it out. Your shoes will smell better, and so will your feet.
There’s a reason our language has so many idioms about feet—from putting your feet up for a while to stepping on someone’s toes, even putting your foot in your mouth—and it’s because, even though they’re often covered, feet are important. Love yours, and they’ll love you back.
Michael Peggs is the founder of content marketing agency and SEO agency Marccx Media, where they specialize in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.