Stress is seriously exhausting and damaging to our own health and our relationships with those around us! Sometimes we go through short terms stages of major emotional stress in our lives from a specific event such as a bad breakup, loss of a job or a sickness within the family but sometimes it can be consistent low-grade stress coming from work, family or financial problems.
Stress reduces your desire to exercise and eat well, lowers your immune system’s ability to fight off colds and flu and puts you at long-term risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other life-threatening illnesses.
Stress doesn’t only make you look older it also ages your genes. Adrenaline and cortisol are the two main stress hormones that are released during the fight, flight or freeze response to danger. These nervous system responses are designed to help increase the chances of surviving a physical threat to safety. However, your brain doesn’t distinguish between different types of stress for example a lion running after you versus your boss breathing down your neck will both result in a stress response. The more stressed you are the more cortisol you release and cortisol inhibits collagen formation which is the key to younger, more youthful looking skin.
If the situation that alarmed us doesn’t go away, your body goes into the resistance stage. In this phase, the body switches up the mix of stress hormones, from being mostly the quick acting adrenalin over to longer lasting cortisol. You also release other hormones, especially corticosteroids.
This mixture of hormones makes both your blood sugar and blood pressure rise, in a bid to help you maintain your energy levels - as if you were still being chased by that lion (or your boss!). In this stage in particular, your response is very much dictated by your core beliefs, stress management techniques, outlook and attitude - which all directly affect the choices you make. For example, if you see the situation as a disaster, you may compromise your ability to cope.
So here’s our top tips for a stress busting anti-aging routine to defend against the signs of premature aging:
1. Listen To Your Body
Your health and wellbeing are your first priority. Most people are not aware of how stressed they are until it's too late such as a major health crisis or exhaustion. It is important that you are aware of the problems in advance, simply by just listening to what your body is saying. Perhaps you feel more tension in certain parts of your body, particularly your forehead, jaw, shoulders, back and hips which are areas where we tend to store a lot of tension.
It is also important to know how to protect yourself from the effects of stress and its damage by having a plan in place to help you get through those periods of stress.
2. Get Sufficient Sleep
It sounds so simple but sleep is essential for maintaining good health and reducing the effects of stress on your mental and physical health. The body goes through a night-time process of healing and repair while you sleep so getting 7-8 hours sleep a night is key. However, for many getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult as cortisol makes it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Check out some our tips to get a good night’s sleep here.
3. Eat Well
You may have noticed that when you eat junk food you get a feel-good hit that crashes as soon as we’ve finished eating, and then comes the sluggish, low-energy stage. When we are stressed we reach for unhealthy fast-food options for that initial feel-good hit but then crash straight away. Eating unhealthy processed food or junk food is a source of stress on our body’s digestive system also. Meanwhile good food can provide us with energy and provide us nutrients that fight diseases and promote self-rejuvenation.
Our nutritionist recommends foods containing vitamins B, C and magnesium that are particularly important for helping your body fight stress, support your adrenal glands, and support your immune system.
B Vitamins - Essential for stress management and energy production. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in particular is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands. Sources include bananas, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and dairy products.
Vitamin C - The largest store of vitamin C lies in the adrenal glands, which are responsible for the production of stress hormones. This nutrient is rapidly depleted during chemical, emotional, psychological or physiological stress and it is particularly important to supply high quantities during these times to cope with increased demand. Keep your adrenals healthy by eating plenty of vitamin C rich foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens and broccoli.
Magnesium - A mineral which can relax muscles and reduce anxiety, while also playing an essential role in hormone and energy production. Nuts - particularly Brazil nuts - are high in magnesium, as are beans and lentils, whole-grains and leafy greens.
Dehydration increases the level of cortisol in the body so it’s essential to drink lots of water and lower your in-take of alcohol, sugary drinks and caffeine. Dehydration can cause headaches, digestive issues and dries out our joints. Try and drink 8 glasses of filtered water every day and start with a hot water and lemon to detoxify your system when you first wake up in the morning.
5. Breathing exercises
Making sure you are inhaling enough oxygen and also detoxifying the body fully with your exhales is something so simple yet easily ignored by most people. Most of us don’t know that we can do so many things with our breath because we’ve never been taught. Breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to control the stress response within the body, it is the bridge between the mind and the body. When you’re feeling stressed here are two great breathing exercises to help:
1) Take slow and even long deep breaths making sure you’re inhaling all the way down to your belly. As you inhale your belly should expand and exhale it moves towards the spine. Try and inhale for the count of 5 and exhale for the count of 5 for at least 10 times.
2) Alternate nostril breathing balances the right and left side of the body and brain. The left side of your brain holds your capacity for intellectual thought and your rights side holds your emotions. When the feelings of stress takeover it's hard for the left side of your brain to 'talk yourself out of it' because the right side is hi-jacked by emotions. Taking nice long slow deep breaths alternating between each nostril balances these two sides and switches on the parasympathetic nervous system. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril inhale for the count of 3 to 5 and use your ring finger to close your left nostril, removing your thumb and opening your right exhaling fully for the count of 3 to 5 before inhaling and continuing to alternate each nostril for at least 2 minutes.
6. Creating a daily routine that includes movement and meditation
Movement is one of the best ways to reduce the feelings of stress because it releases endorphins which literally burn stress away. Doing a combination of movement that raises your heart beat and gets the endorphins going as well as stretching to release tension especially in the areas of your body that store stress are very effective in calming the body and mind.
One of our favourite meditations is yoga nidra which is basically like a massage for you brain. It brings your brainwaves down from your waking state into theta or delta brainwave state where healing, repair and rejuvenation happen similar to the night-time process that happen during sleep. Hence, it’s a great meditation to do when you are feeling exhausted and in need of a refreshing nap to uplift your mood.
Your daily skincare routine could add a glow to your mental well-being. Aside from having beautiful skin, this daily ritual is a dedication of downtime to focus on taking care of you. This ritual is not just for beauty sake but for you to check in with your skin, the largest organ of your body. When you have a pimple that is not related to your menstrual cycle, it could be an indication that you are more stressed than you realise.
Stress and fatigue can have damaging effects to collagen, the structural foundation of skin. Incorporating a nourishing serum into your skincare routine will optimise your skin's renewal overnight for youthful and radiant skin.
My Daily Dose® of Uplift, Skin Inc’s newest wonder serum, is a cocktail of encapsulated Collagen, Coenzyme Q10 and Hyaluronic Acid that delivers an anti-aging power punch, giving you smoother, firmer and younger-looking skin.
Treat yourself to a 10-minute flash facial each day, with Skin Inc’s signature 3-step routine.
Step 1: Exfoliation is key, prep skin with Skin Inc’s Pure Revival Peel to gently remove dead skin cells for better absorption.
Step 2: Nourish skin with Skin Inc’s My Daily Dose® of Uplift serum to strengthen skin and achieve that youthful fresh glow.
Step 3: Optimize using the Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ device which harnesses the power of NASA inspired LED chromotherapy. Each light penetrates the skin at varying depths which triggers different reactions beneath the epidermis to address multiple skin concerns.
8. Uplift your thoughts
There is a strong connection between our thoughts, emotions, and our physical appearance. Positive thoughts not only evoke happiness, but give you a beautiful glow! Uplifting thoughts not only reduce stress, but release endorphins and neurotransmitters that reduce inflammation and enhance the immunity of your skin.
Together with Skin Inc, we have created a 28 day Journey of Uplift that will infuse joy and positivity into your thoughts. Sign up now to receive daily notes of inspiration and happiness over 28 days for a healthier and radiant you.
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