Second to PMS, I’m my worst, most insane self when I’m stressed out. I lose control of every aspect of my being: my skin short circuits, I develop the temperament of a toddler, self-control becomes a concept I’ve never heard of (you know when you eat things in secret and convince yourself that if no one sees, it doesn’t count?), you get the picture, and it ain’t a pretty one.
So when we were talking about this first installment of our new How To series (Hi! Welcome to
the How To series), tackling stress management seemed critical – for me, for the sake of my coworkers, and for anyone else who faces stress on a regular basis (see: nearly every other person on the planet).
I reached out to a handful of smart, talented women in a variety of trades, all of which help in the management of stress. I was curious know how they deal with it, and how we can too. Because most of the time, the things we’re stressing over are totally not worth it. The almond croissant I ate yesterday when no one was watching on the other hand, totally worth it.
Daphne Javitch, Holistic Nutritionist | @doingwell
Chronic stress constitutes much of the modern toxic burden. Whether it’s coming from work, family, financial or relationship issues, stress can result in indigestion, constipation, weight gain, skin issues, anxiety and depression. And most of us confuse accepting it with managing it! There are a few things that help me manage stress that are easily adaptable into your routine, especially as we begin a new season!
1. Routine. It may not sound sexy but neither is tearing your hair out or snapping at your local barista. A routine can anchor our day and be a mood stabilizer. The body and mind respond to consistency so choose 3 things to incorporate daily. My go-tos are dry skin brushing, green juice, and 30 minutes minimum of exercise. When we’re feeling off or out of control, gently returning to a routine can be empowering and healing.
2. Sleep. 7-9 hours is ideal. And if you can get into the routine of falling asleep and waking around the same time everyday, well that’s two benefits in one! Sleep is when the body and brain detox, our cells rejuvenate, regenerate and heal. It’s crucial! When we’re under-slept we’re more likely to make reactive, grabby choices (behavior & food wise) all day long. Well-rested humans are more mindful, intentional and aware.
3. Nature. Nothing soothes my soul like connecting to nature. Whether it’s an ocean or lake swim, a hike or a stroll through Central Park- nature heals! Some alternative doctors even prescribe it. Surround yourself with plants which oxygenate our cells and remind us that we’re a part of something bigger than that disaster at the office. And if nature isn’t available nearby eat a salad (living foods oxygenate!) and get some sun during safe hours.
4. Connection. No text and no Instagram post brings me back to me like connecting with a dear friend does. Yeah, yeah, yeah we’re ALL VERY BUSY but this is something we have to make time for. Schedule it like a meeting or a doctor’s appointment because consistent human connection with people who get you, who accept you, and who are there in good times and bad could extend your life by 8 years!
Cindy DiPrima, Founder of CAP Beauty | @cindydiprima
Stress creates inflammation and aggravates the skin. When your skincare routine acts to counter stress, its benefits expand and reverberate. So many of us save our nightly skincare routine until late in the evening, just before bed, when we are too tired to give it our all. It may even fall by the wayside. Instead, we should try hitting the sink the minute we get home from work. This allows the most active products to work for the longest time. But more importantly it transforms the cleansing regimen from a to do list item into an act of true self care. You can take the time to properly massage the skin and engage with the scents and textures of your products. This ritual helps you shift away from the work day and into a calmer more grounded space. Beauty is Wellness. Clear your mind and your skin will follow.
Amy Galper, Aromatherapist | @nyiofaroma
Scents have an immediate effect on the way our bodies respond to stress. Without getting too deep into the science of it, certain scents create a chain of reactions that happen in the unconscious part of our brain, triggering the way our bodies produce stress hormones. When I’m stressed out, I turn to three oils:
Lavender: Quiets racing thoughts and eases pain and discomfort from tense stressed muscles. Soothes breathing, and balances the mind-body connection.
Cape Chamomile: A powerful anti-inflammatory for the body and mind, sweetly floral, resonates deeply with the heart energy to make us feel loved and comforted in times of stress.
Rosemary: Awakening, focusing, and clearing, Rosemary is one of those oils that clears out what is bogging us down (like negative thoughts and self-doubt) and guides us to connect to our purpose. It’s also really soothing to stiff tense muscles.
When stress starts to increase, try incorporating this blend! To make it, you’ll need:
.35oz glass rollerball container
1/3 oz of jojoba oil, or you can also use just basic sunflower oil too.
14 drops of Lavender
3 drops of Cape Chamomile
6 drops of Rosemary
Add to rollerball, gently shake, and voila!
Anna Zahn, Lymphatic Detox Specialist and Founder of Ricari Studios | Ricari Studios
For myself and most of my clients, the key to managing stress is incorporating what I call “active rest” into your weekly regimen. I call it “active” rest because I find most people have a difficult time justifying and valuing scheduled relaxation. We are conditioned to see self care as indulgent or lazy, forgoing its essential quality in overall beauty and wellness. Valuing active rest is just as important as valuing exercise. The majority of my clients and friends are often spread thin, their nervous systems are frazzled, schedules packed, and they feel pressure to workout more, eat better, and do more. Relish in the less is more mentality. Instead of going for an intense workout after a stressful work week, take an hour to dry brush, take a salt bath, and finish with a luxurious facial massage.
Danika Altman, Psychologist
Life is stressful. You can’t escape it, but you can take breaks. Whether your break is 10 minutes or 24 hours it gives you a chance to refresh. Fill your break with something you love. Pleasure is the best way to combat stress. Choose your pleasure and indulge in it. Light a candle, go for a walk, listen to music, or watch the sunset. If you have trouble breaking away, first make a to do list, then take your break. Journal about the problem you are stuck solving, then go for a massage. Often you arrive at the best solutions when you are not focused on the problem. Give yourself the gift of a break. You will return with a positive outlook and the energy for new solutions.
Supriya Lay, Acupuncturist at Maha Rose
I always tell my patients that Chinese medicine is not only a powerful healing form, it’s a way of thinking. Symptoms are not thought of in isolation, but rather as the result of an underlying root imbalance. If you treat the root, the symptoms will eventually resolve. One of the most well-known and effective modalities within Chinese medicine is acupuncture, which involves a system of meridians that traverse the body and are each associated with an organ. While stress can manifest in many ways, Chinese medicine typically associates stress with the liver and its associated channel. When diagnosing a patient, I typically ask various questions related to both the patient’s emotional and physical well-being, palpate the patient’s abdomen to discover areas of pressure pain, and finally check their pulses and look at their tongue. Based on my findings, I insert needles into the patient’s arms and legs to clear the pressure pain. After the patient rests, I remove needles and do work on the back, very often adding some form of manual therapy such as cupping (of Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Phelps fame) or gua sha, a technique that utilizes an implement to move across the muscle layer to reduce inflammation and enhance positive immune system response. Many patients feel significant results after only a single treatment, but effects accumulate, so consistency is key for the best results.
While I encourage everyone to give acupuncture a try from a licensed acupuncturist, there are a few
recommendations I provide my patients to reduce stress at home. Try them!
· Begin a meditation practice
· Engage in deep breathing
· Include exercise in your daily routine
· Avoid eating late at night
· Consume dark leafy greens, lemons, and radishes
· Lay off the booze!