The holidays are meant to be filled with joy and laughter, but honestly—they can also be really stressful. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the season, those extra house guests, last-minute shopping sprints, holiday travels, end-of-year work deadlines, and the dizzying array of end-of-year parties can take its toll on your body and can be especially hard on your skin.
Acne, drier-than-normal skin, oilier-than-normal skin, itchy skin, increased breakouts, skin condition flare-ups like psoriasis, and eczema—stress is definitely not our skin’s best friend!
But First—Why Does Stress Show Up On Your Skin?
As your largest organ, the skin has quite the job description: it acts as a barrier, regulates your body temperature, aids circulation, and contains an extensive network of nerve cells. So, when you feel stressed out, your brain signals hormones to release that can upset your skin by triggering inflammation, impairing healing, accelerating aging, and worsening skin conditions.
So, what can you do to prevent the busyness of the holidays stressing out your skin while enjoying the feeling of more tranquility during this too-busy season?
1. Slow. Down. Daily
The mind-skin connection means that what you think, feel, and see can play a significant role in what shows up on your skin. When you’re feeling more tension than usual, you can easily fall into the trap of spending less time taking care of yourself. Take time daily to intentionally slow down your heart rate and release some feel-good endorphins with meditation, deep breathing, yoga or one of these three quick and simple mindful activities.
2. Move. Move. Move
Yes, you are already on-the-go a lot at this time of year but we’re not talking about that kind of movement. There will be new pressures on your schedule, but if you continue to make movement one of your top priorities, those pressures will ease (at least in your mind). Keep on doing your favorite pilates class, going for your walks, and some take the time to stretch all over at the end of the day.
3. Sleep Well, Really Well
Sleep is a big factor in your overall well-being (just ask Arianna Huffington)—but it turns out that not getting enough sleep can show up on your face too. A lack of quality sleep can exaggerate life’s stressful moments and can manifest in things like swollen eyes, dark circles, and lines you were sure weren’t there yesterday! Feeling and looking good during the day starts the night before: create a wind-down routine worth savoring, dim the lights, burn some essentials oils, journal, stretch, meditate, and calm your mind and body.
4. Simplify Your Skincare Routine
While you might not have as much time to complete that 12-point skincare plan—try not to abandon it altogether! Simple is effective when you focus on using natural products: look for a cleanser and exfoliator to keep your skin clean and fresh, a nourishing night cream that revives your skin overnight while you get some shut-eye (win, win!) and an eye cream that hones in on reducing the appearance of those dark circles and puffiness.
5. Get On The “No, Thank You” Train
Do you find that the holidays cause a frenzy of additional requests and invitations? Whether that’s from your job, social invitations—the sense of “this must get done before the end of the year” can be overwhelming. Give yourself permission to name your limits, prioritize self-care, and create clear boundaries at this time of year. Not only will you have more headspace, but your skin will enjoy this indirect form of T.L.C.
Stress affects the body in many ways—but the skin really is a good thermostat for how you’re coping. Because it’s almost impossible to show up with that holiday glow without first addressing the underlying factors. So, find ways to bliss-out during the busiest time of the year, take good care of yourself, and your skin is sure to thank you.