Many of us don’t understand how stress affects the body. And, even if we do, we still tend to relentlessly put ourselves through overwhelming situations. It may be your drive and motivation that doesn’t allow you to ease up on your work hours. Disorders like anxiety and depression might be preventing you from cutting yourself some slack. Or, you may simply just have too much going on and aren’t sure how to deal with it all. Either way, it’s only going to hurt you in the long run.
So how do you save your body from the effects of stress? We have a few tips that can help save your from, well, yourself!
There are those of us who have shelves and drawers of the newest serums, the best moisturizers and top dollar exfoliators. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those of us who maybe splash our face with water every once in a while. Whether you love skin care or hate it, it’s really an important factor in handling stress and preventing your body from looking like a ball of stress. Yeah, there are a lot of products and conflicting ideas about everything on the market, but, with a little research, you can find something that works perfectly for you.
Researchers have found that stress plays a big role in how you age, and can really affect your physical appearance. So it’s going to take a lot more than water to keep stress off your skin. This isn’t just for ladies either — I’m looking at you too, guys.
While I could spend hours here talking about skin care routines, I’ll keep it simple. A cleanser, serum and moisturizer will work wonders. Face masks are also great, and keep your mind off things for a little bit. It’s basically a (cheap) mini spa at home.
This seems obvious and, more than likely, you’ve heard it all your life. That said, many of us tend to ease up on working out and eating well when we’re stressed, deciding to go out after work or live it up on the weekend. After all, food is one of the only ways we can get the nutrients and vitamins that keep us alive and feeling good.
While I’m not saying you have to strictly follow a paleo, raw, I-only-shop-at-Whole-Foods type of diet, it’s better to err on the side of healthy. Going out for drinks is fine as long as it’s not every single day of the week. Same with weekends; partying is fun, but is beating up your body Friday through Sunday worth it? Everything in moderation is a good rule to follow.
Losing control over exercise and diet is also common when a person is stressed. Some of us tend to eat foods that make us feel better short term, but have no nutritional value (sorry, Ben & Jerry’s, we’re just as heartbroken as you).
Working out also gets thrown on the backburner because of exhaustion, but we’ve talked before about the benefits of working out for success. It can be hard to find motivation, but if all you can do is go for a walk or eat an apple, start with that. When you begin training yourself how to react to stress in a healthy way, it’ll become easier to do.
It’s also important to find something that works for you. If you’d rather do yoga than Crossfit go for it! If you want to keep ice cream in your food pyramid, that’s fine as well just keep moderation in mind. Before you jump into something, stop and take a minute to consider how your body would feel first — this kind of mindfulness will pay off.
This doesn’t mean you have to workout and meditate. This is something that relaxes you, not everyone else.
Sure, it’s easy to feel guilty when you read about celebs and Insta-famous guys and gals who swear by pilates to ease their mind, or love taking detox retreats to de-stress themselves. But, be honest with yourself, first off, none of us have the money for $500 glorified stretching classes or $5,000 cabins in the woods. And, second, even if we did have that money, it still might not be what calms us down.
Something as simple as reading a book and grabbing a fruit smoothie before work can be a really useful, chill routine. It’s easy to forget that you have to care for both your brain and body. But, in doing so, it’s a lot easier to kick stress in the butt.
For all of you out there, here’s a memo: Do not feel bad focusing on your “me time!” Truth is, if we refuse to prioritize our physical and mental health first, we’ll crash and burn. This doesn’t just affect us, either, our coworkers and employers also lose out when we’re not feeling 100 percent, too.
Take mental health days, choose to take a bath or a nap instead of checking emails, or turn down plans to go out after work. Simple things like this are far from selfish. It’s self-care, and without it, stress is going to be a constant threat to your health.
If you’re not used to setting aside personal time and finding the proper work life balance, we get it, it can be tricky to just make an abrupt change in your life. In fact, you might feel guilty or nervous about missing an important text or email. However, just like with everything else, practice makes perfect.
Remember, the more you focus on yourself, the better you’ll feel. When you’re feeling your best, that’s when you can achieve those goals and kick ass at getting what you want.
All images via Getty
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