Guest post by Jori Hamilton.
More people are starting to realize the impactful connections between mental and physical health. If your mental health isn’t where it needs to be, symptoms can manifest themselves physically. For example, people with anxiety often deal with nausea and high blood pressure. Those with depression can feel fatigued or experience aches and pains.
You might know some of the basic connections between mental health and your body, but did you know that your mental well-being can impact your skin?
If you’re trying to keep your skin healthy and glowing but you continue to struggle, take a look at your mental health. Are you stressed? Anxious? Do you feel sad or hopeless?
All of those feelings could be impacting your skin more than you realize. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at exactly why mental health and skin health are connected, and what you can do about it.
Most mental health conditions cause a lot of stress. Stress, on its own, can eventually lead to anxiety if you aren’t able to manage it. Unfortunately, it can also take a toll on your body. Some of the most common physical ailments caused by excess stress include:
When it comes to your skin, it’s cortisol that’s the problem. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone”. Your body produces more of it when you’re stressed, causing increased oil production in your skin. As a result, your pores can become clogged, and you might experience more frequent breakouts.
So many things in life can raise your stress levels, so it’s important to find ways to manage them. Things like decluttering your home and keeping it clean to practicing mindfulness every day can make a difference. By figuring out what the main sources of your stress are, you can try to limit them and find ways to relax.
Many mental health conditions cause sleeping problems. Unfortunately, it can often create a vicious cycle. For example, many people with anxiety have trouble sleeping. But, not sleeping can make you more anxious. Depression affects people similarly. It’s not uncommon for those with depression to experience insomnia, which can make their feelings of sadness and hopelessness even worse.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for so many basic functions of the body, but it also has a huge impact on the health of your skin. The phrase “getting your beauty sleep” is actually more realistic than most people think. Research has suggested that even one night of poor sleep can cause:
If you’re struggling to get the sleep your body needs, your skin will show it. It won’t take long to lose any “natural glow” you might have, and your skin might start to look dull and unhealthy.
Finding quality sleep can feel easier said than done when you have a mental health condition. But, there are things you can do to improve your chances, starting with practicing better sleep hygiene. Try forming a nighttime routine, and go to sleep at the same time each night. Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoons, and stay off of your digital devices for at least an hour before bed. A few small changes to your sleep habits can help you to manage your stress and get a better night’s rest.
Fatigue and exhaustion are two of the most common (and problematic) symptoms of a variety of mental health conditions. When you’re tired, not getting enough sleep, and having trouble focusing, it can wreak havoc on your self-care.
Having a skincare routine is important. Even something as simple as cleansing and moisturizing can make a difference in how your skin looks and feels.
But, when you’re tired and don’t have the motivation to do things you typically enjoy, it’s easy to let your routine fall apart.
Skincare isn’t the only self-care practice that can fall away due to mental health issues. Your eating habits might change, you might stop exercising, or you might find yourself isolating from friends and family.
Routines are very beneficial for those struggling with their mental well-being. Even if you have to “force” yourself to follow a routine for a while, it will eventually become a habit, and get you into the practice of self-care again. When it comes to a skincare routine, it’s okay to start small. Your routine should be something that relaxes you, not something that overwhelms you.
The best thing you can do to maintain your mental health is to seek out professional help. Talking to a counselor or therapist can help you get to the root cause of your struggles. But, it’s also important to take care of yourself every day to manage your symptoms. Doing so will help you look and feel your best, and you can keep that natural glow no matter what you’re going through.