We all know that stress kills, but what does it do to our bodies before that happens? In US society we are taught to work ourselves to the bone for more than half of our lives until we are nearly 70 years old, then and only then, we can begin to enjoy the fruits of our hard labor. By that time our bodies have broken down, we hardly have any energy, and time is not on our side. Stress begins in the mind and triggers responses in the body.
Things like redness in the skin, eczema, pimples, hives, over production of oil, hair loss, all of these things can be caused by stress and the body’s cortisol levels shooting up, increasing inflammation. Did you know that there is a new term in the medical field called “Psychodermatology”? This is the study of how the mind affects the skin’s condition. The way we think, feel and behave, all have extreme effects on the skin.
Check out this article on WebMD about stress and skin
Now of course, the doctor’s job is to prescribe medications for any and all conditions, which can and will cause other and more harmful side effects. I like to take a more holistic approach to my healing, mental health. What’s interesting to me is that the medical field treats many pain and skin disorders with anti-depressants. The skin and the mind are connected and interwoven so tightly, it’s time we pay attention. Honestly, everything is connected, our mind, body, spirit all play a role in our quality of life and the choices we make on a daily basis.
Incorporating different ways to relax, unwind and go with the flow are so important in the US society we live in. All too often I see compromised skin conditions that can be avoided if they learn a few wellness, self care, self love tips.
I, for one, do not subscribe to the idea that we should be hustling ourselves to the bone, working our lives away, taking a vacation once a year, if that. I try to incorporate rest and leisure into my life on a weekly basis. Even if it’s sitting with my plants drinking a cup of tea for an hour, this is a type of meditation for me. A time to think and reflect on where I am, how far I’ve come and where I am going. Other times I just sit and won’t think at all, just admire life for how wonderful it is. Gratitude is always my prayer, I don’t ask the creator for much, I simply give thanks for everything I already have and all that is to come.
Here are a few ways we can begin to de-stress our lives and decrease the amount of inflammation inside our bodies and on our skin.
1.Massage Therapy: This is one of my absolute favorites! I aim to have massage monthly, but my schedule doesn’t always allow. It’s very hard to find a good massage therapist but once you find one your golden! Physical touch is vital to human brain function and it increases our Oxytocin levels making us feel more inspired and positive. Massage also reduces anxiety, boosts your immune system and lowers blood pressure. Did you know that there are cuddling service companies that will come to your home and cuddle/snuggle with you? Physical touch is lacking in our society. I’m still searching for a massage therapist that specializes in sports therapy (my body needs readjustments, not just massage) but I have a couple of recommendations for you where you can get a great massage in Raleigh and Cary NC. White Dahlia , RaleighNCYoga and Ultimate Touch Therapeutic Massage
2.Get out in nature as much as possible: We are indoors way too much as a society, on our phones and out of touch with the natural rhythms of life. Nature teaches us to slow down and be patient. Everything happens at the right time exactly as it’s supposed to. The sun will rise, the leaves will fall, all without any manipulation at all. If we slow down and begin to be more gentle with ourselves we give urself the space needed to learn and grow as we are supposed to. Depression lessens, anxiety decreases and a lot of tension begins to fade away. We don’t have as much control in our lives as we may think, so it’s best to just get into the flow and relax. Do your best and the rest allow nature to take it’s course.
3.Sleep, Sleep, Sleep: I can’t stress this enough. Lack of rest can have major effects on the body and the skin. Puffiness, irritability, weight gain can all be caused by not sleeping enough. When it comes to the skin, it is resting, or feeding at night. The skin goes into an active state and this is a good time to use your high quality serums and moisturizers that can repair damaged tissue. In fact all of the organs and body functions go into repair mode during sleep.
Do you have a night time routine? Try warm bubble baths, essential oil diffusers with lavender oil, do a few minutes of meditation, light a candle and say a prayer. Sit still and listen to your soul speak, it is always communicating with us, we just have to slow down enough to hear it.
I feel like a lot of the time we may not even know how much stress and anxiety we are carrying inside our bodies until it’s too late. I know for me, I can tell I’m stressed when I start biting my nails, I really hate to do this so I try and catch myself quickly. Keeping them polished deters me from messing with them as well. I try to be mindful of every thought and action, it’s not easy being human, we just need to do the best we can.
What are some other ways you practice self care to reduce stress in your life? I’d love to hear about it!