Use these Three Stress Relieving Tips to Get You Thru the Holidays so You Can Look, and Feel the Best You’ve Ever Felt
It’s finally that time of the year again… lavish parties, gift exchanges, kid recitals, Christmas….the list can go on and on. While all the holiday festivities can raise dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals that make you happy, too much can stress can have the opposite effect, which not only impacts your mood, but can also wreak havoc on your skin. This holiday season, be good to yourself – mind, body, and soul. To help you maintain a healthy balance this holiday season, we put together 3 top stressors that can affect your complexion and how to combat them for glowing skin all month long.
1. Lack of sleep deprives your body the chance to repair itself.
It’s no secret that the Holiday Season is a stressful time of year. Trying to juggle everything from gift shopping, decorating, kids being out of school, and party hosting can make getting a good night’s sleep a challenge. Repeated late nights and early mornings can cause an elevation of Cortisol, the hormone that regulates a wide range of processes throughout the body, including metabolism and immune response. When your cortisol levels go up, it prompts your skin to produce excess sebum which in turn encourages inflammation in the skin, causing flare-ups in conditions like acne, psoriasis, and even eczema. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep can also play a role in the development of wrinkles, sagging skin, and dark circles under the eyes. The reason? During sleep, your body delivers fluids to organs and tissues that need replenishing, while removing excess fluids from other areas. Cutting this process short is one reason sleep-deprived people often have under-the-eye bags (i.e., pockets of fluid).
There’s a reason why your 40 winks are often referred to as “beauty sleep.” Because the skin is our body’s largest organ, it takes the brunt of most environmental abuse and normally where first signs of damage are visible. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night. When you get enough sleep, Cortisol levels decrease, allowing the body to recover from it’s accumulated daytime stessors, which also include skin damage. During this time, your body releases Human Growth Hormone, a necessary ingredient for collagen production—the protein that gives people shiny hair, strong nails, and glowing skin. This is why nighttime skin creams tend to be “heavier”, as your body is actively working to repair skin during those precious 7-9 hours of sleep.
So be kind to your skin this month and make it a priority to try and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep on a daily basis.
Tip – Having trouble falling asleep with so much to do and so little time? Lavender Can Help! Countless studies have proven the effects inhaling Lavender have on the body in reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, along with…you guessed it, sleep and relaxation! With so many ways to incorporate Lavender into your nightly routine, here are a few of our favorites:
- Rub a few drops of essential oil on your temples, necks, wrists, and soles of your feet.
- Spritz onto you pillowcase or pajamas just before bed. Use a silk pillowcase for an extra beauty boost to reduce frizzy hair and fine lines from friction.
- Arm your bedside with a diffuser for an all night affect.
- Add a few drops of lavender oil to a warm bath.
- Use a lavender-scented body lotion after your shower or bath.
2. Sugary treats can accelerate skin aging.
One of our (and almost everyone) favorite holiday activities is indulging in all the sweets and treats. Regardless of what your favorite is, everyone has some memory of a special cookie or cake that instantly takes you back to your childhood. We are all for treasuring memories but indulging in too many foods with a high-glycemic index can lead to Glycation and Inflammation. Glycation is when sugar binds to other molecules in your body, such as protein and lipids. This process then leads to a loss of function and impaired elasticity of tissues such as blood vessels, skin, and tendons. Inflammation, which we mentioned earlier is a huge contributor to how our skin looks and feel. If you’ve ever had a post-dinner overindulgence of your favorite sugary sweets, then you know all too well what can happen to your skin overnight. All it takes is one look in the mirror to see how that extra slice of pie went to work on your skin while you were sleeping. Keep in mind, high-glycemic foods isn’t just in candy. White bread, soda, salad dressings, and other baked goods that contain refined and processed sugars and starches that cause your insulin to spike.
We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t avoid treats or sugar, we are saying to use MODERATION. Yes, that word. It really is key to overall success in every aspect of our lives. If you’re having a hard time controlling your sweet tooth this holiday season, we suggest you try something that will satisfy your cravings, and provide your skin with beneficial nutrients. Antioxidant rich foods can also help protect your complexion from aging, environmental aggressors while also giving you that sweet satisfying feeling.
Tip – Finding it hard to control your sweet tooth? Here are some great alternatives to refined sugar that will also satisfy your cravings:
- Dark chocolate-covered fresh fruit or fondue
- Cinnamon dusted or cocoa roasted nuts
- Baked apples stuffed with raisins, cinnamon, slivered almonds
- Baked Fruit cobblers or streusels made with a topping of old fashioned oats.
- Dark chocolate bark with dried fruit and nuts
- Hot chocolate made with skim milk
- Berry based treats for an antioxidant boost
3. Additional stress compromises your skin’s natural glow during the holidays.
The holidays can be a very stressful time. Under this stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar for an extra boost of energy to power through those last minute errands, late night present wrapping, and dinner preparations. While this is normally temporary, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can prevent stress levels from coming back down, in which your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. And as we mentioned above, sugar only wreaks havoc on our skin and body.
Have you ever noticed that you break out more when you’re stressed? This is because stress causes your body to raise that pesky Cortisol hormone, which tells glands in your skin to make more oil and leading to inflammation. Not only can this cause oily skin and acne, but can also aggravate psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, or trigger a flare-up of a fever blister. Which none of these look cute in a holiday photo.
Tip: You probably can’t avoid stress completely, but you can try ways to handle it better. Try these approaches:
- Don’t neglect your skin care routine, your skin needs the extra support
- Get regular exercise. It’s good for your skin and the rest of your body.
- Take time for yourself to do something you enjoy, even if you only have 10 minutes.
- Get enough sleep. Seven to 8 hours each night is ideal.
- Say no. It’s OK to set limits and boundaries to lower your stress.
- Talk to someone. Seek support from a friend or a professional therapist.
Remember the holidays only last a season. A special time to create memories for little ones as well as re-live some of our own. We hope you use these tips to help fight off the affects the holidays can have on your skin, body and mind, so you can enjoy the holidays with glowing skin all month long.
If you would like more information on how you can have a stress-free holiday season come visit us at 501 N. Ware Rd. in McAllen. To stay up to date join our newsletter and be the first to know about special events, and get healthy helpful hints right to your inbox. Know anyone that would benefit from these three tips? Please feel free to share it with them. Merry Christmas!