During these wild times, many of us are dealing with increased stress due to job loss, illness, and just general uncertainty. Unfortunately, this stress impacts more than your mental and emotional well-being – the effects of anxiety can significantly alter your appearance.
Let’s take a look at some of the physical impacts you may see as a result of intense stress:
Acne: Stress increases cortisol in the body; generally, cortisol levels correlate with our internal circadian clock. When your mind and body are under stress, your cortisol levels may shift. This change can lead to breakouts, and cause flare-ups of conditions including psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.
Hair loss: Extended periods of intense stress can disrupt your hair growth cycle; in some cases, this is a chemical condition, but in others, stress may lead an individual to pick at their scalp and pull out their own hair.
Dry, flaky skin: When we’re stressed, we also tend to reach for vices such as coffee or soda, which can dehydrate us. Your skin will end up paying the price; if you don’t get the hydration you need, you may find your skin is dry and crepe-like.
Undereye Bags: If constant stress is making it hard for you to get to sleep at night, fluid may fill up in your lower eye area, resulting in puffy eyes in the morning. If you sleep on your stomach, this can get worse – gravity makes fluid pool even more.
Weight loss & gain: Some people reach for food when coping with anxiety; foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates release dopamine, allowing us to feel good (at least for a few minutes). Others find it hard to eat at all when dealing with anxiety. If you’re gaining weight or losing weight uncontrollably, keep an online food journal to track what you’re eating and make sure you’re getting enough nutrients each day.
Tips for Combating Stress
To prevent the emotional and physical toll of stress, try to incorporate some of the following self-care habits into your day:
- Get Plenty of Rest
Aim to go to bed earlier and try to get at least eight hours of restful sleep. Try to keep your smartphone out of your bedroom if possible; the screen simulates sunlight and may keep you awake. If you find it hard to get to sleep at night, consider adding CBD supplements into your routine. These natural oils promote feelings of calm and may help your body relax if you find yourself keyed up in the evenings. There are disposable CBD pens you can use occasionally to help you drift onto into dreamland; make sure your CBD juice is crafted from organic plants and not mixed with additives or fillers.
- Look for Positives
If you want to make a craft out of this tip, paint a jar, and label it with “Daily Positives.” Any time something good happens in your day, write it down on a small piece of paper, and throw it into the jar. You’ll find this helps you actually look for those positive moments and provide much-needed perspective in dark moments.
- Limit the Digital World
For many of us under shelter in place orders, phones have become our lifeline to the outside world, and the one way we can continue to communicate with family, friends, and colleagues. However, all this screen time may be impacting your mental and physical health. It’s been proven that digital addiction can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. If the constant barrage of headlines increases your stress, it’s important to take breaks from digital life. Try to put your phone away for periods of the day, get outdoors, and limit your exposure to negative news.
Stress is impossible to avoid, but there are ways to combat its affects. Don’t let anxiety take over your mind and body; incorporate the above strategies and feel better each day.