7 ways to reduce stress and feel well

 Photo @elsewhere

Photo @elsewhere

We all know the impact stress can have on our lives. It can greatly affect our physical and emotional well being. When we are stressed our bodies go into shut down mode and our skin is one of the first things to suffer. The skin is affected by stress as it reacts to the increased levels of cortisol when we live in ‘fight or flight’ mode. The impact increases inflammation in our skin resulting in redness ‘flushing’, pimples, dry and dull skin.

One of the simplest ways to take better care of ourselves (and our skin!) is to reduce stress levels by integrating activities in our week that assist us to feel good. It sounds easy but investing time into this practice is generally the hardest part.

 Relieving stress is different for everyone. Some of our favourites include:

1.    Go for a walk! Get out of the office, house or car and stomp the pavement. Even better, try and get out into nature with some fresh air. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. Walking will promote circulation throughout the entire body, increasing oxygen levels and endorphins. This surge of endorphins can help reduce our stress hormones and improve our general mood.

2.    Do you have energy to burn? A high intensity exercise class, running or the gym might be the best stress release for you. High impact exercise can provide the perfect platform to physically release the buildup of the day to reset the mind.

3.    Low intensity activities like yoga and pilates are other great options to reduce stress. Both of these activities focus on breathing and help to nourish the body and mind. Consistent and regular breath work is one of the simplest ways we can encourage relaxation and regulate our hormones, including over-production of cortisol. When we feel centered and in tune with our breath, we naturally engage a state of release and relaxation.

4.    Meditation is perfect for encouraging equilibrium in the bodymind. For many people just the word meditation can be overwhelming. However meditation can be as simple as sitting quietly for just a few minutes a day. Even a few minutes will provide so many benefits to our entire well being. Meditation calms the nervous system, regulates the production of cortisol and even aids digestions. If you feel unsure about how to get started, there are many apps to assist you. Check out The Mindfulness App, Headspace & Calm.

5.    Mindfulness is another great tool and encourages the act of being present. We are so busy and accessible now we are actually inaccessible. We spend so much time on our phones and looking at computer screens we can live a life disconnected from what we are actually doing. We are constantly living in a state of over stimulation. Practicing mindfulness is as simple as being present. Notice the sounds around you, the smells in the air, people talking, birds singing, how the air touches your skin.  A great book is ‘Change Your Thinking’ by Sarah Edelman and provides some tips to integrate mindfulness.

6.    Make a commitment to cultivating quality sleep. How we sleep has a direct effect on how we experience life, our performance and general well being.  Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Give yourself time before you sleep to detox from the distraction of phones and other electronics. Have a warm bath or shower. Use a drop or two of lavender on your pillow and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Always retire into a dark room and invest in a good quality pillow.

7.    Get pampered and indulge yourself. Consider a massage or treatment that will make you feel nourished and revitalised. Choose a treatment that encourages detoxification, increases circulation and lymphatic drainage. Enforced relaxation is often one of the best ways we can let go. If you want to pamper yourself and look after your skin, we recommend Skindepth’s Signature Treatment as the ultimate skin rejuvenation and relaxation. Your skin and mind will thank you.