Your Skin on Stress and What to Do About It
“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama
Let’s talk about stress baby! Minimizing stress is a topic near and dear to my heart, especially when it comes to women. We run ourselves ragged vying for the promotion, going the extra mile at the gym, and chasing after screaming children. We want to do it all and be everything to everybody. While our aspirations are admirable they often leave us run down, and let’s face it, burned out. Chronic stress doesn’t look good on anyone. It may manifest in poor blood sugar control, compromised immune function, sleep problems (think trouble falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night), and even inflammatory skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. That’s right, the stress in your life just might be the reason your hormonal acne is still plaguing you.
So let’s do something about it, shall we? There are plenty of proactive steps we can take to reduce the stress we experience or at least adjust our perception of the stress in our lives. Best of all, you don’t have to do all the things. One or two small additions to your daily routine are a great place to start. Changes tend to snowball. Before you know it, you’ll be trading in that frazzled feeling for a mellower mood.
Okay, admittedly that’s a bold opening act. What I mean is do one thing every day just for you. One thing that makes you happy. Sit in silence, read a chapter in a book you have been dying to crack open, roll out that yoga mat, brush on a face mask, whatever! It doesn’t have to be extraordinary. It just has to be yours.
You’ve likely heard this one before and you’ve likely ignored it. Meditation seems like a lofty goal. Something you just don’t have time for. But here’s the thing, sitting in stillness for 5 minutes, 3 minutes, or even 1 minute is beneficial. If you just can’t turn your brain off, I recommend guided meditations or repetition of a word or phrase. For those struggling with skin issues and resulting feelings of low self worth, I highly recommend repeating the phrase “I am at ease in my body” in between breaths for 3 minutes. Works like a charm.
Before you close your eyes at night, think of one thing that you are grateful for. Get really specific here. Instead of the big things like a roof over your head, food to eat, etc., focus on the smaller, seemingly mundane aspects of your day like someone holding the door for you or that song you loved in university coming on the radio while you were driving home from work. Honing in on little beautiful moments can make stressful situations more manageable.
Get it all out. All the bad feelings, good feelings, and everything in between. Journaling is cathartic and can lend much needed perspective to our lives. Maybe that huge stressor doesn’t seem quite so big and bad when you see it on paper. Or maybe it does. That’s fine too. Journaling is best when practiced in the morning because you can set your intention for the day, but any time you can put pen to paper is beneficial.
SOCIALIZE WITH FRIENDS
Running from place to place leaves little time for friends. That’s a shame because connection is key. Chatting and laughing with loved ones pulls us out of our heads and plops us right in the present moment. And hey, coffee with a friend is just another thing to be grateful for!
Feeling chronically stressed out doesn’t have to be your story. Remember that small changes can have a big impact. Don’t stress yourself out with self-care. Let your intuition guide you and do what feels right for you.