The holidays are in full swing so we thought we would give you the rundown on some tips for surviving the season with your sanity intact. December can be full of wonderful events where there are plenty of memories to be made, but it can also be full of stressful situations that can have you feeling far from festive. Our goal is to help you maximize the fun during the most wonderful time of the year. It may seem weird that we would be linking stress with acne at first glance but stress can dramatically impact the bad stress that increases glucocorticoid production, which means that it can lead to acne and other structural changes in the skin - none of which are favorable! cortisol can also increase excess sebum production or hormone imbalance which can contribute to the severity of your acne. Also, when you are maxed out it can suppress your immune system leaving you more susceptible to bad bacteria like p. Acnes to run rampant putting a full-on damper on plans to look and feel your best.
With that in mind, we wanted to throw some tips your way so you can keep calm and keep your skin clear throughout the process.
Here are some tips to reduce stress and allow yourself the space you need to take a breath.
It’s okay to say no!
Sometimes stress can pile up simply because you have too much on your plate. The holidays are usually all of your every day responsibilities plus the added joy of tons of other tasks. It can feel overwhelming and lead to unnecessary stress. If you feel like you have too much on the go, take a moment and make a list. Prioritize what is important and what you absolutely need to get done. If after you get organized, you feel like you still can take on extra tasks or duties - decide what those are and how much time you have to commit to them. If you are at full capacity and someone asks for you to come to an event, or do x or y - it is okay to say no. It may not feel great in the moment, but that awkward 30 seconds or few minutes will be so much better than days, weeks or months of unnecessary stress.
Take a breath, take it slow
Do you ever feel like your thoughts are racing? Maybe some days you feel overwhelmed, or like you have been on the go all day. It can feel efficient to push through in the moment but the rate of burnout when you are constantly outputting that kind of energy can be pretty hefty. Our advice is to find a quiet space even for a few minutes and just focus on breathing and releasing the tension in your body. Focus on taking conscious breaths, bringing attention to your inhale and exhale. Try to clear your mind and reset before starting your usual tasks, continuing the pattern of concentrating on your breath for 3-5 minutes with no distractions. This can also be a lifesaver when you feel underslept or stressed at work or school and there is not the time for a true “break.”
Ask for help
When all else fails, go to friends, family or co-workers and ask them for help. People around you care and will be happy to work with you to reduce your stress. Figure out all of the tasks on your plate by writing a list or going through your calendar, and from there take an inventory of everything that needs to be completed and approximate deadlines. Then, select the activities you enjoy doing or you’re best at and examine what is left over. If there are a number of “other” responsibilities that are better delegated or make sense to forego to temporarily lighten your load, that is completely okay. We often feel like we have to do everything ourselves to be successful and that is just not true. The most successful people know when to ask for help from other people. So take a page from their guidebook and outsource the stuff that feels like it is too much.
Your health is important
No matter what is going on in your life, your health comes first! That means if you know you work (or play!) best when you get 8 hours of sleep, eat a certain diet, or can carve out an hour a day for a hobby or sport, make that a priority. Some days it may not be possible to squeeze in everything you need, but the good news is if you make it a priority, as soon as your schedule opens up you will be able to get back to your regularly scheduled programming and get on track.
So why did I just ramble on about breathing and priorities? While there are a lot of factors that can contribute to your acne and we can’t comment on a gospel or cure-all remedy for acne but self-care is always important and if you reduce the stress you can work on balancing your hormones and avoid situations that can contribute to making less than stellar skin decisions.
Do you find that you get more stressed during the holidays? Do you find these techniques helpful? Let us know in the comments below!