Stress feels awful, and it has serious long-term health risks. Stress raises your blood pressure, weakens your immune system, upsets your digestion, stops you sleeping properly – and steals your good looks!
Stress leads to a chemical reaction in your skin that makes your skin hypersensitive, aggravating psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, hives, and other skin conditions. It also releases cortisol, which causes your skin to become oilier.
Here are some tried and true ways to start getting that stress-monkey off your back:
Make time for leisure
This is a lifestyle change, not a one-off thing. It might be hard if you have a busy life but it’s essential to get at least an hour or two to yourself each day just to do what you want. Not your side hustle, not catching up on emails, not filling your spare but luxuriating in it. Without real leisure time, stress will always be lurking.
A great way to de-stress in the moment is to just drop everything and take a brisk walk. Combine it with mindful breathing: breathe in for two steps, then breathe out for two steps. Repeat until you return to your desk or home with a renewed sense of balance.
Get a massage
Relieve the tension with a head or neck massage, reflexology, or even a full-body massage. Let someone squeeze the stress out of you!
Escape with a story
Collapse on the couch and lose yourself in an audiobook. If you fall asleep, that’s good, or you can jump up and take your audiobook for a walk. Listening to the story will lessen your anxiety and you’ll get some exercise too.
Strike a (yoga) pose
Try a yin yoga class, where floor postures are held passively for several minutes to access deep layers of connective tissue in the body. Physically, it’s great for your joint mobility. Mentally, it helps you let go of stress and find your happy place again.
Have a good laugh
Watch a really funny movie. Laugh as long and as hard as you can. Laughter relaxes your body and mind, and it also boosts your immune system.
Reversing the symptoms of stress
Unless you’ve been living in a Zen monastery or walking slowly through a forest for the last 10 years, you have been experiencing stress. It’s part of life – and part of modern life especially!
Here are some ways you can deal with the effects of stress on your appearance:
Lose the eye bags
If you’ve been too stressed or busy to sleep well, fluid can pool below your lower eyelid area, making your eyes look puffy and baggy. If you’re in the habit of sleeping on your stomach, it could be even worse because gravity accentuates the fluid pooling.
There are a couple of quick fixes you can try. One is to dampen two cotton pads with chilled Okana Cucumber + Lettuce Toner mist, put the pads over your eyes, and lie down for five minutes. Cucumbers are full of antioxidants that will help reduce the puffiness and dark circles.
Rehydrate your skin
Dry, flaky skin can be a symptom of too much stress and not enough water.
The first fix is to start drinking more water. Make sure you’re getting around 8 glasses or 2 litres of water every day to start rehydrating your body.
The second fix is to ensure your skin barrier is in good shape. Switch to a double cleansing routine complete with toner, serum or essence, and Okana moisturiser. When your skin barrier is working properly, your skin will stay hydrated more easily.
Dealing with stress-induced acne
There is a clear link between stress and acne breakouts. Dr Alexa Kimball, a professor of dermatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, conducted research on university students and found that stress can definitely trigger an acne episode – and the greater the stress, the worse the breakout.
While it can be tempting to attack your skin with exfoliators and masks, a gentler approach will yield better results. Use a gentle-but-deep cleanser, like Okana Sorbet Cleanser, then get your pH back to its optimum level with a toner.
Follow with a 100% natural day cream, like Okana Vegetable Garden Moisturiser. Get plenty of sleep, avoid stress and wait for the zits to pass.
How to calm psoriasis or eczema
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes excess skin cells to build up in itchy, painful patches on the body. Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups. In turn, a psoriasis flare-up can really stress you out. It’s a vicious cycle!
Eczema can also be exacerbated by stress. Your skin will be more sensitive so it will feel itchier, and you’re more likely to scratch to self-soothe when the pressure is on.
Avocado oil is a natural anti-inflammatory treatment that may help to soothe and heal flare-ups of psoriasis or eczema. An enjoyable way to give your skin the daily benefits of avocado oil is 100% natural Okana Avocado Smash Body Butter. Apply it all over after every shower or bath, or topically to sooth inflammation.