Anyone who knows me can attest that I struggle with Work-Life Balance. I cram as much into my day as possible, and it’s usually business related. I require constant monitoring to keep mind, body, and spirit in harmony, so I decided to try something different this season. With Thanksgiving closer to Christmas this year, I realized I could become overwhelmed by the multiple business parties I was invited to, holiday preparation, work, household chores, family life, and, of course, the holidays themselves. So I made a decision this year: I declined every invitation to a business holiday party this season. And at the time I had no idea of the epiphany I would have as a result.
My initial reasoning for this decision was not because I didn’t want to go to these parties. It was about self preservation. I recognized that I could not keep up this year without becoming highly stressed: angry, grumpy, and no fun. What happened is that I had one of the most relaxing holidays in memory! Instead of running out every weekend to spend time with business associates at holiday gatherings, I went home to simply be available to my family for four weekends in a row. Guess what happened! The family ate dinner together, played games, put together jigsaw puzzles, and actually interacted in a positive manner. I believe it was because the interactions were allowed to happen organically. These evenings were not scheduled “Family Time”, where everyone must participate in a game and like it! In a nutshell, my holidays were relatively stress free due to unplanned down time with my family.
You are probably wondering how this relates to anti-aging, and I am so excited to tell you less stress has anti-aging benefits! Without regular self care, which includes down time with family, stress will develop. Stress is a HUGE aging factor, and by curbing stress, we can slow the aging process.
When under stress for extended periods of time, we experience a depletion in energy, sleep issues such as insomnia, and a tendency to eat poorly and exercise less. We feel fatigued, anxious, irritable or depressed, and have trouble concentrating on simple tasks. Our skin shows this by looking aged: haggard, tired, wrinkled, sun spots, and poor skin tone and texture. Stress can also manifest itself in the form of rashes such as dermatitis or eczema, and even show up as acne or rosacea.
Basically, when your body fights back stress for periods of time, it goes into survival mode. In survival mode, the body’s only focus is on survival, not looking good. In this state, our skin is the last to get valuable nutrition such as water and antioxidants. Just picture what tired, sleep-deprived, nutrition lacking skin might look like to you. Is that the kind of skin you want?
I for one, do not! So, in the new year, I vow to strive for work-life balance and the benefits of less stress and ageless skin. I will make down time and self care a bigger priority. In this way, I can give myself the gift of balance and harmony, and ultimately age more gracefully.
I offer this gift to you, also. Please take my experience this year and use it to find opportunities for down time and allow yourself to recharge and rejuvenate your soul. Take time for nurturing and self care. In turn, you will support yourself in a healthier lifestyle, where you will begin to look and feel younger. It is never too late to become more youthful, and you’re worth it.