Take a breath
We've talked about self-care and how to take care of our minds and bodies - even with very busy lives. But it’s also important to understand how exactly stress can affect the body.
When we think of symptoms of heightened stress we often think of things like fatigue, headaches, and perhaps a bad mood. While all of these can be symptoms, there are other ways our bodies can show us we are experiencing a high amount of stress. Being able to recognize stress symptoms can help us manage it better.
When we are stressed, our body produces cortisol. Cortisol causes our skin to produce more oil which can lead to acne and breakouts. Our skin can also get inflamed when stressed, causing it to become sensitive and reactive. If you have sudden changes like this in your skin, it could be stress- related.
Stress has even more damaging effects on our hair. Acute stress can cause hair loss in a number of ways. Stress can push hair follicles into a resting phase, soon after which the affected strands may start to fall out.
Managing stress doesn't have to be a big production. There are small daily changes we can make that over time will have a great impact on our stress levels and our natural ability to manage stress.
Exercise: Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Endorphins released after a workout make us feel good and physical activity has great benefits for our minds. You don't necessarily have to carve out an entire hour. Stretch at your desk, have a 3-minute dance party in your bedroom, or do a quick yoga routine after you get home from work.
Breathe: As cliche as it might sound, stopping to take a breath can ease our minds and put us at rest. Take a moment to inhale and hold your breath for 4 counts, and then slowly exhale for 4 counts. This practice calms the nervous system and can stop the stress spiral.
Connect: We’re all about building relationships and elevating connections. Spending time with people you love and care about improves your mood and forces you to pause and focus on the good. Whether it's grabbing a cup of coffee to catch up with a friend or going for a walk, that connection with another person is powerful. Need an extra incentive? People with the strongest relationships have been shown to live longer than those who don’t. So, go call a friend.