Wellness Week™ is coming to your neighborhood to bring you fabulous savings on spa and wellness options this March 21-27th, but in the meantime we want to bring you as much great wellness information as you can stand! This week we’re focused on how de-stressing your life can bring make you feel healthy and happy. There are so many options for managing or preventing stress — from at-your-desk-yoga moves to de-cluttering your space, everyone has their tricks for keeping themselves sane!
Skincare expert Kate Somerville shares her Wellness Week™ advice with us, because as we know, stress can impact everything in your life, including your skin! Check out Kate’s tips for de-stressing from our Q+A with the celebrity esthetician (check back for the rest of her awesome advice as we get closer to Wellness Week™), and be sure to share your de-stressing tips with us in the comments.
Q: What do you do to de-stress?
A: A technique I’ve discovered is paced breathing. I especially use this method before my QVC shows. I sit quietly somewhere and just become conscious of how I’m breathing. The idea is to slow down to about 5 or 6 breaths a minute. Inhale deeply, using your diaphragm and pushing out your abdomen. Hold it for a few counts, and then slowly let out the air. Studies have shown that this kind of breathing lowers your blood pressure and is beneficial to your health in other ways, such as stimulating the flow of lymphatic fluid through your body, which in turn boosts your immune system.
I’ve also discovered progressive relaxation, which is a great way to relieve muscle tension caused by stress. Lie flat on the floor with your feet slight apart and your arms by your sides, palms up. As you inhale, scrunch up a set of muscles as tightly as you can for about ten seconds, starting with your feet. Then, while you exhale, consciously let those muscles go – just let them flop. Allow the tension to just melt away… until your entire body feels heavy, relaxed, and supported by the floor.
I’ve become convinced about the power of meditation after I witnessed significant changes in the skin of several of my clients who practice it. Meditation is a state of deep physical relaxation combined with acute mental alertness, and there are many ways to achieve this state. Meditating is most effective as a stress reliever when you do it regularly, so try to carve out a few minutes every day for your practice.
Like meditation, yoga is another ancient practice that’s a terrific stress buster for our modern times and is credited with any number of health and psychological benefits. Whether you take a class or pursue yoga on your own, be sure to look into the different types so that you find the method that works best for relieving your stress.
Exercise, particularly cardio, is known to help relieve stress, boost spirits, fight symptoms of depression and increase your brain’s production of those feel-good endorphins. I try to exercise every morning. Like deep breathing, I know that physical activity also helps my lymphatic fluid get moving through my body, sweeping out cellular debris and toxins and boosting my immune system.
Exercising really hard is certainly one way to work up a sweat, but I believe that sweating in general is amazing. When you’re in a sauna, steam room, or hot tub (my personal favorite) and your body gets to that elevated heat level, it releases emotional pain from your body. Of course, it also helps with physical aches and pains and tired muscles that result from a stressful life.
Massages have been shown to reduce anxiety, elevate mood, ease pain, lower blood pressure, and be helpful with insomnia. It seems to promote the release of the brain’s natural opiates, which encourages a feeling of well-being.
Some extra steps to make it a “Kate Somerville” Experience:
i. Get into your coziest robe and cushiest slippers.
ii. Light a fragrance-free soy or pure beeswax candle, since they don’t give off any toxic smoke.
iii. Put on your favorite soothing music.
iv. Enjoy a glass of cool water with slices of cucumber or a squeeze of lemon juice.
v. Turn off your phone’s ringer.