Updated: Nov 19, 2022
Are you just so done?
This is the phrase I tend to tell myself when things get really stressful. I am just so done. I can't, I won't. And then, an emotional hell breaks loose inside me, everything from you're not enough to I am a failure to why did you bring all this upon yourself. Negative thoughts don't help and neither does the way stress compounds it.
What is stress?
According to the World Health Organization, “Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain. Stress is your body's response to anything that requires attention or action. Everyone experiences stress to some degree. The way you respond to stress, however, make a big difference to your overall well-being.” Responding to stress is crucial to understand and crucial to begin implementing.
As you get older it is harder to “bounce back” externally and also internally. Research shows that stress is a silent killer. Stress is made up of a few hormones. The main contributor is cortisol, which is produced in your adrenal glands. Cortisol affects many different aspects your life.
What exactly makes your body produce the stress hormone “cortisol?”
According to the John Hopkin Medicine, “Adrenal glands produce hormones in response to signals from the pituitary gland in the brain, which reacts to signaling from the hypothalamus, also located in the brain.”
Each body naturally produces cortisol to help with, “body’s use of fats, proteins and carbohydrates; suppresses inflammation; regulates blood pressure; increases blood sugar; and can also decrease bone formation.” The interesting thing is that when stress is activated in the brain, your cortisol levels rise. The idea is that the body looks to boost the body’s energy to get the emergency done. Think of it like an ambulance that assists with dire and special situations. Yet sadly, many go until they are at the breaking point instead of for special cases.
Imagine for a moment if you made an EMT your regular primary care physician? Is that practical? Not in the slightest. Yet we do it every day to cortisol. Each of us needs to make our cortisol be like an EMT.
Cortisol can either make or break your life’s longevity and your youthful appearance– yes beauty is influenced by cortisol.
The Basics to Relieving Your Stress:
Physical touch: there are countless articles and research on the power of physical touch. One report shared that kissing your spouse for 90 seconds or more can decrease stress.
Personal Self-Care Rituals: Being willing to fully care for yourself by the way you unwind. Have a system that helps you put aside the undone things to be set aside, the thoughts in your head that need to be resolved, and the worries and to-do’s to find a place to be addressed accordingly. As you do this you will find that you can sleep better, connect better, and lower your levels of stress. Ask yourself, how do I prepare for my day? How do I prepare to sleep and allow my body to really heal itself through the night? (Jolene Hart has an incredible journal for this)
Environment: Avoid places and people that stress you out, you’re just asking for trouble. Understand your internal environment as well as your external environment. Be willing to understand your triggers, to observe your life and your interactions with clarity so that you can choose where you respond the best and where you feel your best. As for the external environments, be willing to set boundaries of respect with people through body language, tone, and connection. Learn to communicate your needs and seek to understand first if there is a conflict. Lastly, continue to hold space for yourself no matter where you go. Sometimes you may need to shift the focus or the environment for yourself or while out in order to regulate and maintain your stress.
Choose Movement: John Maxwell says, “what you focus on, increases”. This is entirely true. If you are stuck in the same frame or in negativity – switch things up a bit. Dance, going for a walk, or even deciding to just stand for a little bit changes everything. Exercise is a game changer and learning to find enjoyment in movement is the simple solution to many of your stressful situations. That is why Nike’s trademark slogan “Just Do It” aligns with their product and core because if you just do it, things change.
Choose Silence: This can come in more than one way. Choosing to hold space to just listen to your own thoughts which is what we call being mindful. Choosing to sit in the silence, to enjoy nature. To just breathe. Breathing has incredible benefits and most people breathe shallow. Imagine the extra oxygen that can get into your brain when you really learn how to breathe. There is a time for everything, allow yourself the space to be. (Brooke Snow has an incredible free mindful meditation course).
How Does Cortisol Affect Beauty?
Stress hormones are connected to weight and aging.
Gaining weight is not just connected to overeating. Hormones that are related to stress and elevated blood sugar levels are destroying triggers that make your body keep a hold of excess body fat – especially around the belly area.
When cortisol is triggered, it basically is telling the body to just take in more food and stop burning it – enter your stress eating habits. Also, too much cortisol slows your metabolism. It is a double direction issue.
In your stress eating habits, there is a lot of sugar based and comfort foods that are fatty, fried, and fully loaded with things that are designed with your tongue - not your health - in mind. Usually when you feel a sugar craving it is a mask for your body’s need for protein. Reach for a healthy protein and rehydrate your body through soothing tea or water. If your serious about taking your weight and blood sugar to balancing and actually stable levels, learn more here).
Stress affects the skin in many ways – sagging, wrinkles, and thinning in areas. Your skin is your largest living organ. When it gets vulnerable you open yourself up to receiving a whole lot more disease and issues. Irregular blood sugar levels can and do take a bite out of your ability to stabilize and renew. Thus, affecting your aging.
What Can You Do Today?
With all this information, it is easy to passively move to your next thing. CAUTION: This next part my just change your life. Take a moment and think of what is the NUMBER ONE thing that is stressing you out right now. Then, make a promise to yourself on how you can relieve that burden from the list above.
Knowledge is powerful as we pivot slowly, by degrees, towards a better and more vibrant life.
Take the time. Your body, mind, and beauty will thank you for it.
Please share what is one thing you stress over and what can you do about it? Share the love, thank you.