Have you ever felt your stress levels rising, actually felt the irritation or fear, discomfort and uncertainty of a situation, flood your body? Sometimes the thought alone is enough to trigger our flight-or-fight responses. Skyrocket our adrenalin, cortisol, and interfere with hormones, cellular metabolism, and drive our body into overdrive.
If you’re a sensitive person, this cascade of biological responses can significantly impact your system - particularly our skin. Our skin is one of the first organs to notice stress- psoriasis, eczema, acne, breakouts - can be physical representations of our systemic stress - inflammation.
Let’s be clear about what we mean when we say ‘stress’
Stress is physical, emotional, mental - every cell in our body is affected by stress, we don't get to choose where we put our stress- although if you’ve had a massage you've probably been told where you hold your stress - shoulders, neck, lower back, TMJ - without ever realising it we hold and carry our stress with us daily. No matter how big or small.
Qi beauty’s 5 tips for managing skin stress
Rituals and habits. Even on holidays I like rituals - something as simple as drinking a glass of warm water, going for a quick walk, or stretching as you wait for the kettle to boil. Rituals are grounding, particularly in times of stress or if we have an existing low-lying stressor in our life. During daily rituals take a moment to check in with how we feel and what we’re thinking.
Time. Create time - or space - in your day to just be. We need space to allow our thoughts to process, create and control our own mindset, re-write something that happened, or process something we might be ruminating and focus on the now.
Skin health. Stressing about our skin can cause our skin to become stressed. Our skin lets us know when we’re stressed. Stress induced acne can be a vicious cycle of fear of a breakout causing a breakout, which makes it really hard to feel like we’re in control. There’s often not much we can do about our skin - it can be quite exhausting, so take the pressure off yourself and seek the help of a professional. Acupuncture, natural skin therapies, or Naturopathy all offer a gentle and mindful approach to supporting the health of skin to take some of the pressure off.
Aromas. We cannot fight the zen inducing powers of aromas designed to de-stress and soothe the senses. Candles, room mists, skin and body products with purposeful scents- or scents you just like, are a simple daily habit to trigger relaxation. Triggering relaxation is like muscle memory - you can create your own trigger for relaxation. Train your brain to relax with your favourite bathsalts, candle, oils or perfume.
Sleep. You can’t talk about health, skin health or stress management without taking about a deep peaceful nights sleep. For a deep sleep allow your body and mind to relax well before you plan to hop into bed. Try simple steps to switch your brain into beta mode. Signal sleep with a how shower, tea in bed, reading a page of your favourite book, or applying facial serums or hand cream.