10 Ways to De-Stress Yourself (and Your Skin) Right Now
There’s no denying that most of us experience some sort of stress on a daily basis. In fact, there are numbers to prove it: The American Institute of Stress reports that 33% of Americans live with extreme stress and 77% of us experience physical symptoms (like headaches, insomnia, lack of focus, and yes, skin issues like acne, rashes, and redness) as a result of our stress levels. Work, health, and money are some of the most prevalent causes and, given everything that’s going on right now, who can blame us?
High stress levels can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, but there are some simple actions you can take to feel better, right now, from your very own home. In honor of Stress Awareness Month, peel your eyes away from the news and read on for 10 science-backed ways to feel less anxious ASAP.
Swap Coffee for Herbal TeaCaffeine may only be accelerating those stress-driven jitters. Switch to decaf or try sipping on an herbal tea—like green or chamomile—instead. The amino acid theanine, found in green tea, has been proven to reduce feelings of anxiety. As an added bonus, look for green tea extract in your skincare (like in our Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream). It also has soothing, calming effects on your skin.
Practice Digital DetoxingWhile it’s important to stay connected and informed, too much time scrolling, swiping up on news articles, and yes, tagging friends in memes, can exacerbate feelings of stress. Take breaks from your phone by switching to silent mode and doing IRL activities like puzzles, coloring, or reading a novel.
Bring the Spa to YouFacials feel so relaxing because your facialist hits certain pressure points on the face, which relieves muscle tension and induces feelings of calm. It may not feel as good as having someone do it to you, but you can recreate the experience by giving yourself an at-home facial massage. Pop on a mask, separate your middle and ring finger, and gently press down in an upward motion from your chin to your cheekbones. This is especially beneficial to release tension from the jaw. And don’t forget to set the mood with candles and a soothing playlist.
Write it DownOur stress levels increase when we keep emotions pent up inside. Physically putting words to paper has been proven to release some of those feelings, diminishing stress instantaneously. Not sure where to start? Try listing what you’re grateful for. Feelings of gratitude doesn’t just give you a positive perspective, it also reaps its own mental health benefits.
Eat Mood-Boosting FoodsA well-balanced diet is essential for overall health, but specifically chowing down on mood-boosting foods is especially beneficial for reducing stress. Amp up your intake of magnesium (found in leafy greens and whole grains), probiotics (like kefir and sauerkraut) and omega-3’s (in salmon and nuts).
Get MovingFact: It only takes 5 minutes of movement for the body to reap the stress-relieving benefits of exercise. Take an online cardio class, practice some yoga, or simply walk around the block—it doesn’t take much, just find some way to move your body. We recommend 5 minutes of trying to learn a TikTok dance (admit it, you’ve downloaded it by now).
Breathe in a Soothing Scent
Essential oils have been proven to have an uplifting impact on the mind, particularly scents like lavender, ylang ylang, and eucalyptus. Fill your home by diffusing essential oils or just take a whiff: three deep inhalations of the eucalyptus found in Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm will do the trick.
Tidy Your SpaceThis one’s easy: Make your bed. There’s a reason why many of us turn to cleaning when we feel stressed. Finding something you can control—especially when everything else feels wildly out of your hands—may put your mind at ease. Try to keep your mind focused at the task at hand; mindfulness can scientifically alter your brain to reduce feelings of depression. While you’re at it, don’t forget to recycle and consider donating unwanted items to those in need.
Calm Your Mind With MeditationAnxiety can cause shallow, labored breathing which limits the amount of oxygen in your brain and may lead to symptoms like chest pain and panic attacks. Deep breathing is one of the easiest ways to offset that. A breathing exercise (we like this one) or meditation is an easy way to alleviate stress without barely moving a muscle.
Get a Good Night’s SleepAre you getting enough sleep? Sleep deprivation is an endless cycle—it increases stress levels which only causes you to lose out on more sleep. A lack of shut-eye also has a negative impact on your skin health, too. Take a break from your phone an hour before bed, drink chamomile tea, or invest in light-blocking curtains: whatever it takes to get those much needed zzz’s. And make the most of your beauty sleep by popping on an one-step overnight mask, like The Shortcut Overnight Facial.
1. Acupressure for Stress and Anxiety. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/acupressure-stress-and-anxiety.
2. “Daily Life.” The American Institute of Stress, 18 Dec. 2019, www.stress.org/daily-life.
3. “Excessive Cellphone Use May Cause Anxiety, Experts Warn.” ABC News, ABC News Network, 2017, abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/excessive-cellphone-anxiety-experts-warn/story?id=48842476.
4. “Exercise for Stress and Anxiety.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety.
5. Malcolm, Benjamin J, and Kimberly Tallian. “Essential Oil of Lavender in Anxiety Disorders: Ready for Prime Time?” The Mental Health Clinician, College of Psychiatric & Neurologic Pharmacists, 26 Mar. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007527/.
6. Powell, Alvin. “Harvard Researchers Study How Mindfulness May Change the Brain in Depressed Patients.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard Gazette, 27 Aug. 2018, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/.
7. Purcell, Maud. “The Health Benefits of Journaling.” Community of Mindful Parenting, 2000, communityofmindfulparenting.com/curriculum/week7/S7-Articles-TheHealthBenefitsofJournaling.pdf.
8. Singh, Maanvi. “If You Feel Thankful, Write It Down. It's Good For Your Health.” NPR, NPR, 24 Dec. 2018, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/24/678232331/if-you-feel-thankful-write-it-down-its-good-for-your-health.
9. “What Are Some Foods to Ease Your Anxiety?” Medical News Today, Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322652.
10. Williams , J L, et al. The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review. Plant Foods Hum Nutr., Mar. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31758301.