What Holiday Stress?


Have you ever thought about the effects that the holidays can wreak on our skin? Between the lack of sleep, the enormous (and calorie loaded) meals, the breaking of fitness routines, the stress and planning involved in gift buying, traveling, family gathering and schedule keeping… it’s a wonder our skin doesn’t age dramatically during this time. Or does it? We’d like to think that by taking a few simple measures, we can help reduce the likelihood of wrinkle acceleration. 

First of all, make sure you get enough sleep each night. That means getting 7-9 hours nightly.  During the night when we sleep, our body resets and repairs itself by releasing a cocktail of cortisol and growth hormone.  A deprived or disrupted sleep schedule can offset the right amounts of each hormone from being released.  This can result in damage to our skin’s collagen which leads to reduced elasticity, an increase in fine lines and wrinkles, lackluster skin tone and puffiness/darkness around our eyes. Sleep is one of the easiest and most effective skin treatments and it keeps our bodies and minds healthy and sharp… whether it’s the holidays or not, it’s something we all need to get enough of all year long.

The most all-encompassing measure we could take would be to exercise regularly. Exercise helps our bodies rest better at night, burns some of those extra calories and gives us clarity of thought. It naturally releases the stress our bodies carry and generally gives us a better and more relaxed attitude throughout the day. On top of all this, exercise increases blood flow to the skin which increases the rate of new cell growth. This means that the right amount of exercise can help keep your skin looking and feeling fresh.

Despite all the savory temptations that are about to head our way, it’s important to make sure we don’t overindulge in sweets and sugar. Whenever possible, try to balance your diet with healthy, nutritious snacks throughout the day. Keeping your appetite satisfied during the course of the day will mean less overindulgence at meal time and also less calorie overload in one sitting or at the end of the day.

In all the “busy-ness,” make sure you take time for yourself.  That can mean different things to different people, so take the time to figure out what works best for you to be able to ‘recharge’ and not feel like you’re neglecting yourself.  You may choose to take a hot bath at the end of the day to unwind; or you can take a nice long walk to clear your thoughts; maybe take a little time to bury yourself in your hobby… whatever your ‘happy’ place is, make sure you get there daily so you always feel like your own needs aren’t being left behind.

Another great holiday stress reducer is making sure you’re prepared.  And this can mean from everything  like the clothes you want to wear (or your kids to wear) to that special party, or just making sure you have enough tape and wrapping paper for those presents you need to wrap. Make that ‘to do’ list, and start checking things off as you go. You’ll feel a lot less stress if you take the time to think of what you want to buy someone rather than spending three hours searching at the mall and coming up with nothing. A little careful pre-planning can not only take you far but can also keep you from overspending – which is another holiday stress inducer. Creating and staying on a budget can really offset one of the major components of holiday, and post-holiday stress. This applies to hosting a party, buying gifts for friends or family, and even holiday traveling. Making the effort to stick with your budget allows you a less stressful holiday, keeps you out of debt, and means you won’t have huge bills to foot after the holidays have passed.

Imagine coming out of the holidays having stayed on budget, not gained any weight, having gotten plenty of sleep and exercised regularly and, best of all, not having put yourself through any wrinkle causing stress.  It sounds too good to be true, but it’s completely possible. Carve out some time for yourself. Be sure to plan ahead and get busy… and this year, you might have your best holidays yet.