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The web is full of acne information & advice, much of it great for constructing your skin’s recovery action plan. Natural, organic skincare, cutting down on cheese & getting the right medication can each contribute to your recovery, & you’re absolutely right to investigate every avenue with an open mind. However, while these approaches tackle the physical causes of acne, the relationship between your skin condition & your mental health often goes overlooked.
When recovering from or managing any physical ailment, mental wellbeing is just as crucial as meds & diet. In fact, it can make all the difference between sticking to your recovery plan & not getting started at all. What’s more, stress weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to heal itself, & can push your hormones out of whack as well.
You can start by giving yourself a nod for seeking advice in the first place; recovery may seem far off but this research is arming you with the information you need to take responsibility for your own wellbeing. Once you make the decision to fully take care of yourself, you’ll feel much more in control, & you’ll be giving yourself every chance to recover. You don’t have to change everything completely, starting tomorrow, either – gradually introduce the changes & they’ll become part of your life without the feelings of guilt or rebellion that so often accompany dramatic switches to new regimes.
Meditation, or at least relaxation
I’m talking calm relaxation alone, rather than getting drunk with your mates. Socialising is excellent but it’s important to dedicate a regular half hour or so to relaxed breathing & grounding yourself. Actually make an appointment with yourself to do it; it’s so easy to say “ok I’ll try to do it Wednesday morning” but then deprioritise your own real needs when your mum calls, or ASOS has an online sale.
Your health should come before everything else, because you can’t enjoy – sometimes you have to abandon – important or fun activities when you’re sick or under stress. So stick to that appointment. Oh, & don’t try to improvise – you might end up worrying more about getting it right than actually relaxing. Use a guided relaxation MP3, make yourself comfortable & let the speaker do all the work.
As a girl who hated PE & only ever really enjoyed dancing as a form of exercise, it’s taken me a while to integrate exercise into my daily life without begrudging it the time. I finally found a fun dance workout DVD that lets me exercise in hilarious 10 minute bursts. It suits me really well & I’m now breaking a sweat for 20 minutes daily, instead of very rare attempts to complete 1 hour classes. Find whatever suits you & try to do a little very often. Increased circulation will get the nutrients, oxygen & antibodies flowing to your skin, while the endorphins will – they really do – alleviate stress & sadness.
By the way, if you are experiencing depression, whether or not it’s focused on your skin, please speak to your GP about it. It may take a deep breath & some bravery, but I promise that, if you work on it & let people help you, things will shift & eventually improve.