Stress is a normal part of life, but not all forms of stress are bad. Short-term, moderate stress can be beneficial - it helps us to stay focus, improve our mental function, and become more productive. Low-dose stress also stimulates the production of interleukins and signals our immune system to protect against illnesses.
On the other hand, chronic stress lowers our immunity and increases inflammation. Prolonged stress causes depression, insomnia, hypertension, and heart issues among others.
Your skin is also a reflection of your psychological well-being. Chronic stress negatively impacts our skin by releasing a chemical response - making it more reactive and sensitive. It also speeds up aging because cortisol, the stress hormone, breaks up elastin and collagen which leads to wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Some skin conditions such as hives, rash, and eczema are triggered or aggravated by stress.
While stress is unavoidable, the key is to identify good stress from bad stress, and learn to deal with stress before it becomes chronic.
Manage stress by incorporating these micro-steps:
Spend time in nature
While staying home slows down the spread of viruses, a few 30-minute walks (away from crowds) a week in nature helps you get some exercise outdoor, improve immunity, and release stress.
If you need to work late at night (Chinese Medicine recommends to sleep by 11PM), make time for power naps in the day. Napping also helps to lower blood pressure induced by stress.
Studies show that meditation helps enhance focus + creativity, improve emotional regulation, and lower stress. If you are a beginner, simply start with mindful breathing for 10-20 minutes every day.
Take Some Adaptogens
Instead of reaching for coffee to give you energy, try some herbal tea with adaptogens. Rhodiola, ginseng, and reishi are adpatogens used in TCM for thousands of years as tonics - they help alleviate stress, boost energy and enhance focus.
Add a few drops of calming essential oils in your humidifier. Lighting an incense is also meditative and helps clear negative energy. A few of our favorite essential oils to alleviate stress: agarwood, douglas fir, sandalwood, and frankincense.