I am writing this at the end of April 2020 and this situation with a global pandemic is alarming, and it feels like it’s been so long since we were living our busy lives. But there’s a plus side to it.
After spending weeks in lockdown due to COVID-19, I noticed the difference in my skin and hair. After a while, I realized that it has to do with stress and sleep. See, when we have more stress, we actually age faster!
No matter what your beauty and health regime is, our skin breaks down and rebuilds and our hair falls out and regrows. This is a normal process that goes on throughout life.
We break down collagen and then build it up again. However, research shows that when we are under stress, we break down more collagen and are slower to rebuild it. This is because, when we are under stress, we release the stress hormone cortisol.
This cortisol speeds the breaking down process of collagen in our skin. With age, the building up phase slows down naturally.
Therefore, when we are stressed, we break down more collagen and then we are not able to build it up accordingly.
The same goes for hair growth.
Cortisol can lead to more loss of hair and then we are left with less ability to grow it back. The result – thinning hair and wrinkles due to collagen loss in the skin.
If you take small breaks to take a few deep breaths and slow down your breathing and heartbeat, the effect of cortisol will significantly reduce. Set your timer to have a 5 min break for breathing exercises 3 times per day. In a week you will feel the difference.
As a physiotherapist and pilates instructor, I noticed one more way that stress makes us look older: our posture. When we are stressed or feeling burnt out, we tend to let our head hang with the shoulders slumped forward. When you have poor posture, you look like an older and less happy version of yourself.
Try it, spend a day with perfect posture – drawing the navel in to make yourself an inch taller. A simple tool for finding good posture is to stand against a wall with your head, shoulders, backs of your ribs and pelvis touching the wall. Then, step away from the wall and try to maintain this posture.
Use this posture all day and see how it changes the way people react to you and the way you feel. Let me know how it goes in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.