Beauty: Don’t Let It Stress You Out, by Kristen Ma

“Don’t push me cuz I’m close to the edge, trying hard not to lose my head…”

So Grand Master Flash is speaking from the view of living in the projects, and I’m speaking from the view of being a young career gal in downtown Toronto – but it’s safe to say that we’re both stressed.

Stress oh, stress. It’s one of those afflictions which are so easy to aid because it’s within in our own control to limit, but so hard at the same time, because it’s up to our control to limit. And I admit, I’m the worst when it comes to stress management. I sometimes feel like I have made a sport of worrying. No, I definitely am not a person who easily goes with the flow.

“Kristen gets many things done, but she insists on making herself so uncomfortable doing it,” my mother announced at a family dinner last week. This was a response to being told that my easy going cousin lets life fall into place and somehow always ends up successful.

But I find it very difficult to put my thoughts in a drawer and leave them there for another time. There are so many pressures today that I think many of us feel like we are in a space of going somewhere instead of being somewhere (this is something I have only recently began to overcome). And in this Vata weather I think it’s amplified. So many of my clients this week have come into the spa breaking out and telling me about their anxieties as they juggle work, relationships, children, and change. And of course, on top of this, as many of them are uber ambitious and self-aware, they also take extra courses, volunteer, network, and worry about worrying so much. Often, this time-poverty is also married with forgetting to care for themselves: skipping meals and forgoing sleep!

While I have known for many years now that I need to make a point of calming down, recently it really impressed itself upon me while reading the book “Your Life is in Your Hands” by Dr. Krishan Chopra (father of Deepak) which outlined a study conducted on rats to study the effect of stress on our tissues. One group of lab rats were used as a control group, and another group was put under stress by being put into a tank of water for a few minutes everyday to stimulate the stress of drowning. What they found was that these stressed-out rats would experience dramatic physical changes within three weeks or less. Their hearts, livers, lungs, and other organs would harden and become dark and fibrous. If the experiment persists, these rats also would die of “old age” as opposed to the normal, control group of rats who live for two to three years! It is clear that stress is extremely damaging to their bodies and health.

In vain terms: the depletion of our tissues caused by stress will affect our skin and bodies, aging our skin faster than an IPL pulse! I take this very seriously, because God knows I had an eye bag competition with one of our clients at our Midnight Madness sale a couple of months ago (“I have bad eye bags!” “What?! No, no, I have bad eye bags!”).

So as much as we make the efforts to exercise, eat well, get monthly facials, perform our skincare regimes, and make-up our faces, we need to commit to resting our minds. I know, not an easy task.

To quote the wise Mr. Flash: It’s like a jungle sometimes and I wonder how I keep from going under.

Kristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up.  She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India.  She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia.  Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company.  Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine.  She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine. She blogs regularly at Holistic Vanity.