How do YOU reduce your stress levels?
Following on from my previous blog post on how stress affects our skin, (you can read all about it here if you missed it) what do you do to reduce your stress levels? I feel like it would be a bit patronising for me to just tell you activities to do, and I don’t want to do that. You probably already know what you should be doing anyway, but actually doing them is another matter. Hopefully reading the effects it has even just on your skin alone will make you have another think about the importance of fitting in something for you. Have a think about what you ENJOY. What you find happiness in doing. Something that is just for YOU.
— Sometimes the build up of stress gives you a burst of energy – think “fight or flight” mode. It’s there to get you to run away from the danger! But what if there is no danger? Why not put some upbeat, energising music on and dance? Get the kids or the dog involved too! Music really changes your mood and can get your endorphins pumping (the happy hormones!), and really helps me if I’m feeling a bit low or just need something to make me get up and moving.
— Have a bath. Yes, it’s a popular one, but it’s a popular one for a reason. Wrapping your body in warm water, putting your favourite bubble bath or essential oil in there too, having soft lighting… hmm can I have one please? That just sounds like heaven to me. Who would still feel stressed after that? If you’re partial to a wine or a gin, take a glass in with you. And if you have kids (or even if you have a partner, ha!), LOCK THE DOOR. This is your time.
— Go on a tech detox. Put your phone down. Step away from the iPad and computer. It’s not important, and it doesn’t let you relax. Make a conscious note of having time away from these time and energy drainers. Your mind will thank you, and your relationships might too.
— Take a look at your diet. Cortisol (on of our stress hormones) can make us crave sugary, fatty foods because it releases sugar into our bloodstream to provide quick energy for “fight or flight”, so reduce these if you can. The reason we like eating them too in times of stress, is because they trigger a release of serotonin in our brain, which soothes and calms us down. Alcohol and caffeine both cause similar reactions in our body as stress, so try and reduce these too. Make sure you’re staying properly hydrated by drinking lots of water, and making sure your selenium levels aren’t too low, which can contribute to a low mood. This is found in Brazil nuts, mushrooms and fish such as tuna and cod.
I didn’t want to overload you with loads of strategies, and instead just went for some easy ones that hopefully you can identify with, even if it’s just one you can implement.
So hopefully you can see now why it’s so important to TRY and manage your stress. The main word there being try. I know it’s not easy. I know we’re constantly bombarded with things we need to get done NOW. Prioritise. Make lists. Will it matter if those jobs aren’t done right now? Can you identify a job on the list that makes all the others irrelevant? Just remember, when you relax, you feel good, which is vital for your overall health. When you are stressed, can you say the same?
As always, if you found this useful please leave me a comment and give it a share if you know someone who would really benefit from this too! If there’s anything you’d like me to discuss in a blog, let me know below too.
Until next time, take care!
PS. Stress is a HUGE topic, and I’ve struggled to condense it down in my recent posts – you might have been able to tell, ha! Don’t be surprised if you see other posts in the future adding to the impacts of stress on the skin and our health!
Miletto, G., Jones, L. & Somers, S. (2011). The Food Hospital. London: Penguin Group.
Rowe, W (2016). Eat beautiful. London: Ebury Press.