Let’s face it, our mommy lives can get pretty darn hectic, which can make us quite stressed out. Some amounts of stress can be healthy, but when we are stressed out for long periods of time, our body will start showing signs that we need to slow down, take a deep breath (or two) and center ourselves.
We live in a world where pushing ourselves beyond our capabilities is seen as admirable success. Our bodies pay the price of our negligence while we push ourselves in order to appear brave, strong and invincible.
I was that person; trying to be superwoman. I pushed myself to be the “perfect mom” and it took its toll on my health. One of the things that I remember the most is how I used to dread looking at myself in the mirror each morning. Why? Because I knew I had another “breakout” to cover up with makeup. I never thought that at the age of 40, I would be dealing with wrinkles AND acne!
These breakouts were a sign that my body was lacking balance. At the time, I was dealing with a newborn who wasn’t sleeping well and wasn’t feeding properly, as well as a 5 year old who felt neglected because mommy was often too tired and overwhelmed to play with him. As you can imagine, the guilt and the exhaustion eventually affected me on a physical level.
When we are under constant stress, our body’s response is to increase the production of the stress hormone called cortisol. Hormonal imbalances wreak havoc with the rest of our system, with acne as one of the primary secondary symptoms.
Excess cortisol also increases cravings for fatty comfort foods and can lead to an intake of high-fat and high-sugared foods. Guess who had her hand in the cookie jar every day?
We are all different and my stress showed up through my skin, but there are other signs that show us when we’ve pushed our body’s limitations.
Here is a quick list of what stress can look like:
Headaches, frequent colds and infections, heartburn, weight gain/loss without dietary changes, skin problems such as rashes and acne, hormonal imbalances, blood sugar dysregulation, sleeping problems and so much more!
So how did I get rid of my acne?
First, let’s see what causes acne.
We are talking about a stress and gut related issue here. Clogged pores can lead to bacteria and yeast overgrowth on the skin causing acne. Too much sugar, antibiotics and birth control pills can be the culprit for this. Inflammation, hormone fluctuations, and increased cortisol can also exacerbate acne. Like I have mentioned earlier, cortisol is directly linked to the Adrenal Glands which produce the main hormones of stress. I talk more about the adrenals in other articles.
Here’s what I did
I included these foods to my diet
- Probiotic rich foods like kefir and cultured vegetables
- Zinc rich foods like pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds
- Vitamin A rich foods like spinach and carrots
- Foods high in fiber (vegetables, seeds, nuts)
- Good protein sources (organic eggs, poultry, grass-fed beef)
- Healthy fats (coconut oil is best)
I avoided these foods
- Sugar and carbohydrate rich foods (reduce fruit intake and use raw honey or Stevia instead)
- Gluten and wheat containing foods
- Fried food and hydrogenated oils (use coconut oil instead)
I included these 6 natural remedies
- Probiotics. Typically 2-3 capsules twice a day. Probiotics boost immunity and kill off yeast and bad bacteria.
- Zinc. Promotes immune function and reduces buildup of DHT to improve skin healing.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Fish oil / cod liver oil daily or flax or chia seed oil. Helps reduce inflammation and support hormone balance.
- Tea Tree Oil. Apply tea tree oil to blemishes morning and night. Tea tree oil has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.
- Vitex. Balances hormones that can reduce acne formation. You can alsotake Evening Primrose and Borage oil for hormone balance
- Antioxidants. Elderberry syrup
I adopted a simple yet effective mindfulness routine
- Simple daily breath work will do wonders for stress
- Gardening lowers rates of depression and anxiety, raises energy levels, improves mood, and also helps to reduce stress and tension. Tend indoor plants, if you don’t have a garden
- Epsom salt baths ease stress and promote relaxation.Stress drains the body of magnesium, and given that most of us are under chronic stress, our bodies are magnesium deficient. When Epsom salt is dissolved in warm water, the magnesium is absorbed through the skin to help replenish magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium helps promote a feeling of calm and relaxation. It also increases energy and reduces irritability. Epsom salt baths can help improve your sleep and concentration.
Our bodies speak to us every single day and are a chronological photographic series of our choices. Our choices do matter. What you eat and how you manage stress really does matter. What you drink does matter. How you speak to yourself and others matters. The health of your relationships matter.
As parents, we have an extremely important role to play and the best way to show up for our children is the take care of ourselves. I am happy to report that I have learned how to listen to my body and not feel guilty for taking care of myself. I invite you to do the same 🙂