Stress doesn’t always have to be negative – like red wine and dark chocolate a little stress can be good for you.
The stresses and strains of modern day living are on the increase and women are particularly vulnerable – brilliant at multi-tasking and juggling demands from all quarters, we’re not so great at calling a halt for some much needed me-time. A small amount of stress can energize, motivate and boost our capacity to cope but needs to be balanced with plenty of rest and relaxation.
We all have different stress triggers, but our bodies respond in the same way - releasing adrenaline that speeds up the heart, breathing and metabolic rate. Continuous stress leaves our bodies anxious, tense and exhausted. Skin looks dull, washed-out and prone to breakouts.
Stressed out skin
Adrenaline redirects blood away from the skin leaving it looking pale and drawn
Anger and frustration release chemicals which stimulate sebaceous glands leading to blocked pores and breakouts
Tension slows down the rate of cellular turnover resulting in dull, sallow skin tone
Continual stress suppresses the skin’s natural protective mechanisms making it more vulnerable to free radical damage.
Exercise - is a great stress-buster but it’s usually when we feel we can least afford the time that we need to do it the most - so schedule it in to your day. It doesn’t have to be the gym, although kick-boxing can be terrific after a bad day at work! A brisk 30 minute walk every day, a 20 minute cycle ride, or a few laps of the swimming pool all release endorphins – the body’s feel good hormones – and help boost sluggish skin cells. Do it with friends who can help you keep your commitment or do it alone to give yourself time for reflection.
Rest - it´s not called beauty sleep for nothing. You may be asleep but the body’s natural restoration system kicks in whilst you slumber and skin cells renew themselves twice as fast as during the day. Body temperature is higher at night, increasing blood flow to the skin – so it’s the ideal time to treat your skin to a high performance night cream. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and do something relaxing to unwind beforehand, a warm bath, a milky drink, a gentle walk. As you lie down, let go of the troubles of the day and visualize the healing, soothing power of sleep.
Massage - is a great way to relieve tension and relax muscles. Put yourself in the hands of a professional for an hour of bliss or ask your partner for a shoulder or neck rub.
Bryan Gan, an alternative therapist who contributes to the IMEDEEN Inside-Out workshops in Singapore recommends a DIY peppermint oil head massage to soothe and calm. He also recommends simple acupressure techniques to boost circulation and improve skin radiance. Find the acupressure point in the ball of the foot hold for 6 seconds and then release. Repeat 3 times.
Learn to recognize the early signs of stress – in mind, body and skin - and take action which generally means dealing with the source of stress, eating well, exercising and sleeping more and taking time out to relax.