Stress: it’s the number one cause of lackluster skin, breakouts and poor health. We all deal with it day-to-day, but do we really have to wear it on our faces? It’s all too easy to reach for the zit cream or a face mask as a solution, but finding a little inner calm and combining that with a great skin routine is a smarter solution for stressed skin.
Stress can actually change our hormones and cause breakouts in the skin. It affects our bodies, too. Stress can cause issues with our breathing, our heart rates and our blood pressure, leading to serious health conditions. It can also affect our immune system. When this happens, the skin is far more prone to breakouts as well as dullness and sallowness.
We all get bogged down in the day-to-day routine of dealing with the demands of work life, home life and our social lives. We seem to accept that busyness and stress is normal. That it’s normal to feel unwell from it or to struggle with skin health. But how often do we take a few moments to be still or reflect or schedule in some nothing time for ourselves?
In order to bust stressed skin and allow it to rejuvenate (and our bodies too!) we need to make time for down time. This might only mean small adjustments in our schedules, but it does mean being mindful of where we’re placing our time and attention and how much down time we really allow our skin, mind, body and soul to heal and re-balance from a busy day or week.
10 tips for stress busting:
Say no and feel good about it! Often we don’t like to disappoint others so we say yes to social plans we’re not so keen on or we say yes to workloads that are just too much. Who doesn’t want to please? But saying no means allowing yourself the time you need, putting your health first. It means saying yes to your self worth.
Get regular exercise. It might just be a short walk. Exercise helps the body process stress-related hormones. It also helps us feel good which makes us more resilient to stress.
Spend time in nature. It’s a great way to revitalise your body and reduce stress. If you’re living in the city, a walk in the local park might do the trick or you could make your garden into a place where you can just be still. A weekend drive, away from all that catches your mind, for total time out is ideal!
Nourish your body. Healthy food means your body is getting what it needs to sustain itself during stressful times. Drinking water is important, too. Being dehydrated can trigger the flight or fight response because the body thinks it is in survival mode.
Get your vitamins. Vitamin B5 is a great support for the body during stressful times and is ideal when used in combination with other B vitamins. During stressful times when you’ve not been so great with balanced meals a multivitamin is a good idea, too.
Pay attention to your thinking. We can stress ourselves out by over thinking. We often do this with things that we can’t do anything about, or things that have already happened. Bringing your attention back to the present and letting go of what you can’t change takes practice, but it reduces a lot of self-created stress.
Laugh whatever way you can! What makes you smile? It might be a funny blog, a good comedy film or heading to your local laughter group once a week. Choosing to giggle each day – even when the day feels heavy – can be challenging, but lightness of heart means less stress.
Meditate. Even a quick 5 minute meditation can have a great impact on lowering your stress levels. Most good yoga classes will incorporate breathing, yoga and meditation to really help with wellbeing and lowering stress levels. Be it a yoga or meditation group or a daily meditation of your own, allowing the mind to still means far less stress!
Be mindful of your breath. Breathing into your belly can turn on your relaxation response, which is the antidote to the body’s stress response. Just gently follow the breath with your mind as it comes into the body and let it go down into the belly, letting your belly rise before slowly letting the breath out. This is a good focus for when you meditate, too!
Visualise. The brain can’t actually tell the difference between a memory, make believe or the real thing. So visualise being happy. This might be using a happy memory of a time when you felt calm and relaxed or it might be imagining yourself in a place that brings you these feelings. Visualisation takes the mind away from worrying about the future and back into being calm in the now.