It is common for us to throw around words like ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’ when we list ways on how to de-stress our body and mind. There are multiple studies that lay out the benefits of these practices which can help you achieve inner peace and calm your mind that chatters constantly.
Cambridge Dictionary describes mindfulness as, “The practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.” The term is often interchanged with meditation while there are others who would point at the differences between the two. In short, they’re two sides of the same coin and mindfulness can also be called a part of meditation.
Now, if we were to look at reasons that affect our physical health especially our skin, stress would be one of the top five. When you’re stressed your body will release hormones that will divert the blood flow from your skin to the organs or muscles that need it more to do their job quicker. Your skin is thus deprived of the essential nutrients and oxygen that your blood provides.
We also tend to ignore tasks that we would generally perform when we are under stress. Like, skip meals or gorge on greasy foods, you sleep less, switch to caffeine or sugary drinks instead of water, skip our skincare routine or workout. This would cause premature ageing, fine lines and wrinkles, oily skin, eczema, dullness and a host of other issues.
Stress is always hovering around like a dark cloud ready to burst and wreaking havoc on our body as well as skin. But even then we must learn how to de-stress and de-clutter our lives and minds.
ENTER THE ZEN MODE
When we hear the word ‘meditation’, many of us will let out a deep sigh of disappointment. Why? Because we’ve tried to shut our eyes and take some deep breaths but it doesn’t seem to work. It doesn’t calm us down or stop those endless passing thoughts. We can’t be master practitioners within a few days or weeks. It takes time. You can begin meditating with a simple technique which is to focus on your breathing only. Whether you want to sit or lay down somewhere quiet, it’s on you. Drain out the noise and tell your mind to watch you inhale and exhale for at least five to 15 minutes in the beginning. That’s it. Let those thoughts and emotions pass through your mind.
This relaxes your brain which releases chemicals that’ll counter the stress hormones. Since you take deep breaths, there’s more oxygen in your body too. People who meditate notice a natural glow on their skin. You feel radiant from both within and outside. It is also known to be helpful in slowing down the ageing process.
But, remember, when stress triggers skin problems like acne and aggravates conditions eczema, psoriasis, etc, we must consult our dermatologists and treat it.
MORE INDOOR PLANTS
It’s usually on the weekends that we get to breathe fresh and clean air as we leisurely stroll outside. We don’t realise that were are surrounded by toxins even inside our house or office. Formaldehyde, a respiratory irritant, can be found in our household products like in your furniture or even the rug and there are other chemicals like benzene, etc. With our windows closed (because heating or AC), these stay trapped in the air and can harm your skin. You can get natural air purifiers by getting indoor plants like the spider plant, dracaena, peace lily, snake plant or Boston fern. Another plus point is that these houseplants will also beautify your homes by adding a dash of the colour green.
Go on an early morning jog, hit the gym for some cardio or sign up for yoga classes, but whatever it is you do, just be regular. Working out increases your blood circulation which means more oxygen and nutrients are reaching your skin as well. Exercising also helps dissipate stress which in turn will make your skin feel and look healthier. You also start losing your skin’s elasticity as you age. To keep its firmness, you must tone your muscles. Speak to your workout instructor and figure out an exercise plan. But remember to wear SPF before stepping out for a walk or a jog. Keep your hydration level up as well and make sure to get a restful sleep.
Work out your facial muscles too. Lift your eyebrows, scrunch up your nose, pout, and laugh! Just make weird faces, it’s that easy.
There’s no better way to unwind at the end of the day than a warm bath. It relaxes your whole body as you submerge yourself in the tub. Add essential oils to the water because they have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits for your skin. You may use lavender which is known to relieve stress and anxiety or eucalyptus oil that can clear your nasal passage if you have a cold. Pick your favourite fragrance and also add some Epsom salt to it which helps soothe muscle ache as well.
Our daily skincare regimen is fixed. We know what to pick and apply on our skin. We often do it like any other chore and at times even skip a day because there’s too much on our platter already. It’s understandable. But your skincare routine is more than just slapping a product on yourself. It’s about giving attention to every part of your face and body. Connect with inner yourself and notice how your skin feels and looks like. Massage your products on your skin gently. Try using more chemical-free products on your skin which might irritate it. Don’t forget to pamper it now and then with a home spa treatment using essential oils, mud face packs and some refreshing bubbly on the side.