Crystal Pearlmann rushed to get dressed and get out the door to head for class. She had less than ten minutes to get to her final class for the week – a course she had to take to get her liscense as an esthetician. She loved the field she was studying – the best ways to make people look and feel beautiful! Appearance and aesthetics had always been an important part of her life. But recently, her busy schedule was driving her into the ground. She had to make time for classes of course, and school work afterward. Then, she had work at Dresses for Days – a local consignments shop that specialized in pretty dresses for a cheap price. Plus, family and friends – she always made time for them. And then there was practice with the hula-hoop team, too!
While Crystal loved all of the things on her busy schedule, it was taking a toll on her. She was starting to lose sleep in order to study and finish her school work, couldn’t concentrate at work as well as she normally could, and even lost focus in class sometimes. It felt that there was too much on her plate, and she often got stressed out over things that wouldn’t normally stress her out. But it was too late to think about that now, as she was in a rush to get to class – late again! Her instructor would be angry at her for barging in through the door, out of breath, rushed, and making a racket that would distract all of the other students.
She made it to class, and as quietly as she could, took a seat in the back. Crystal got out a pen and some paper to take notes, but found herself nodding off. Eventually, the class ended, and she gathered her belongings while the other students trickled out of the room, talking amongst each other about what they were going to do for the weekend. Crystal sighed. She missed having weekends, and being able to rest and relax for a couple of days. But with her busy schedule, she didn’t get them anymore since she had to go to work and make sure her homework was finished before classes the next week. Just as she was about exit through the door, she heard a familiar voice call to her.
“Crystal, do you mind if we talk in my office for a moment?” It was her instructor, Ms. Perry. Ms. Perry was a stately, attractive woman in her mid-forties to fifties. Crystal had taken numerous courses with her, and really looked up to her as a talented esthetician. She cringed to think what Ms. Perry had to say about her tardiness and inability to take notes properly.
“Sure, Ms. Perry,” she replied. As they walked up the stairs to the hall that held the instructors’ offices, Crystal felt her heart begin to pound so loud, that she was certain Ms. Perry could hear it. Ms. Perry’s heels clacked purposefully and authoritatively on the tile, and Crystal slouched behind her. When they got into the office, she took a seat across from her instructor.
“So, Crystal, I guess you might know why I asked to see you up here.”
“I think I have an idea.”
“Why are you here then?”
“I’ve been late and falling asleep in class. I’m sorry. You know I like your teaching. I’m not intentionally doing this.”
“Yes, and it isn’t like you to have these habits. You’ve been in a lot of my classes and exhibited impressive performance. So, tell me. Why have these habits come to be?”
Crystal sighed. She really hated talking about her problems to other people. So many of her peers seemed to handle a schedule as crammed as hers with ease. She felt overwhelmed by all the things she had to do in a week. “To tell you the truth, I’m having some trouble keeping up with this fast-paced schedule. I have work, school, family, friends, all this stuff to do and not enough time to do it.”
“I suppose it is safe to say that you are stressed.” Ms. Perry’s gaze softened up a bit.
“Yes, ma’am. I guess I am kind of stressed out. Final projects, exams, and papers are coming up in a couple of weeks. My car has been acting up and giving me problems. I need to work more hours to be able to fix it and pay my bills at the same time. And my family needs me around every now and then to babysit my little brother and sister.” Crystal rubbed her temples. “And then if I tell my family I can’t do it or I’m too busy, I’m the bad guy.”
“I understand. But, as an up-and-coming esthetician, and a talented one at that, I think you may need to realize what all this stress is actually doing to your appearance – and health! You know, I was once in your shoes – juggling so many things at once I could barely keep up. Even though I was young, I can guarantee that those years of stress accounted for some of the wrinkles and grey hair I’ve got now.”
“Really? I can’t imagine you having problems dealing with anything.”
Ms. Perry laughed. “Well, I’m only human, just like you. But do you realize what you are doing to yourself by stressing out so much?”
“I know a little bit about it. But, you really think it has some affects for me later in life?”
“Yes, I do. I’ll start by telling you the basics about what it does to age you. No esthetician wants to look older than they really are, you know.”
“Of course not.”
“First of all, you don’t have to stress out for years for it to appear on your face. Chronic stress factors into premature aging in a number of ways. So, unless you want to be in your thirties, your prime, and looking much older than you really are, you have to get a grip on it. When I was your age, some bad things kept happening – one after the other. And one day I looked in my bathroom mirror and found that I had horrible, puffy eyes with bags under them, and even a little sagging. I wasn’t even out of my twenties! I had only been dealing with some intense stress for about six months.”
“Really? You’re kidding. It happens that quickly?”
“Yes. And I can already see it is happening to you a little bit as well. You’re acne has gotten worse than before. Your complexion looks pale and ashy. Have you even been out in the sun recently?”
“No. I haven’t had time. I’ve been too busy to go outside except to get to my car.”
“I see. And how has your sleep schedule been?”
“Terrible, if I’m honest. I’m up so late getting school work finished.”
“And what about your diet?”
Crystal started to rub her eyes – something she often did when she was tired or overwhelmed. “Well, I haven’t had time to go shopping or cook. Can we say ramen noodles and fast food?”
“How long have you been eating this way?”
“I’d say about a month and a half now. It just went downhill – everything from sleep to my food. I hardly noticed.”
Ms. Perry nodded her head knowingly. “Yes, that’s another price you pay when you get stressed. Your preference for healthier options and habits tends to go downhill as a means of handling the other stuff piling up. Let me tell you what you are doing to yourself. There’s a stress hormone called cortisol that your body releases when you are under pressure. It damages and dissolves your collagen and elastin fairly quickly. That means that you could get more wrinkles much sooner in life. In fact, one study shows that constant stress can age your cells about ten years.”
“No, I’m not. When you are under stress, your body stops sending as many nutrients to your skin in order to feed and maintain your vital organs. So, you are starving your skin from stressing out so much. Not to mention that your epidermal cells have more trouble regenerating themselves, which will leave you with a dull, lifeless complexion. Keep it up much longer, and you could look ten years older than your actual age one day.”
“Gross! That’s the last thing I want. I’ve noticed my hair has gotten thinner, too. Could that also be the reason behind this?”
“Of course it is!” Ms. Perry tapped the desk with her hand. “Your body won’t circulate nutrients to your hair, either. And it takes a long time to grow it back to the fullness it once was. Plus, the fact that you aren’t eating right will further the process along. These processed foods you’re eating right now will further the destruction of collagen and elastin. And the fact you aren’t getting enough sleep reduces the amount of human growth hormone your body releases, which is highly important for your skin and hair’s regeneration process as an adult. So, tell me, Crystal. What are some of the changes you’ve already noticed?”
“Well, you’re right about my acne and the puffiness and bagginess under my eyes. Plus, I am super pale – more so than usual. I look all around blah. And my hair – like, it’s just so much thinner. I think there may even be a little less tone to my face, too. Although, it might just be my imagination.”
“Then you can see that you’re well on your way to an anti-aging disaster. I know because I was there once. It also does some damage to the rest of your body as well. You will get sick more often, and have a more difficult time getting better. Plus, you put yourself at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and heart attack. Your brain ages faster which leads to a greater chance of degeneration, meaning stroke or dementia. You may as well smoke cigarettes because it is that bad for you.” Ms. Perry looked Crystal right in the eye. “Believe me, I know. I have been where you are. And I’m sure some of my facial developments and bodily problems are part of the price I paid for those years of stress during my twenties.”
Crystal started wringing her hands, nervous all of sudden. She could see clearly how all this stress was affecting her now more than ever. And what esthetician can’t control her stress levels for the sake of anti-aging? Crystal didn’t want to look ten years older than her actual age later down the road. “What am I supposed to do? I can’t make all these things disappear with a snap of my fingers. If I could, I wouldn’t be in this situation now.” She sighed, feeling like her looks and health were doomed.
“I’m glad you asked, Crystal. There are ways that you can manage your stress levels. Let me get the ball rolling by suggesting I give you a few extra days to complete your final project for my class. That way, maybe you can get a little more sleep at night. By the way, if you can help your physical body handle stress more efficiently, it will cut down on the anxiety that comes along with it. Make sure you get your sleep from here on out, and start eating better food! You don’t have to cook in order to get plenty of nourishment. That’s the beauty of raw, organic foods. For the most part you can carry plenty of apples, bananas, and packs of berries in your purse to eat throughout the day.”
“I never thought of that before. I’ll definitely start doing it from now on.” Crystal immediately decided to take a trip to the grocery store after her talk with Ms. Perry. What a great idea!
“Stop sweating the small things. Things that are out of your control. Like your car, for instance. If it breaks down on you, just email me and your other instructors, and I’m sure we will all be happy to not penalize you for something out of your control.”
“Really? You think the other instructors would do that?”
“You’re a good student, Crystal. Everyone gets overwhelmed. I’m sure they’ll understand. Next, talk to your family about what’s going and how it’s affecting you. Ask them to hire a babysitter for your younger siblings. You’re dealing with school, finals, and a job, all while paying your bills. It’s important that you keep up your health.”
“Okay. I’ll talk to them, and I’m sure they’ll understand. I just don’t like to cause problems or be a burden to other people. That kind of stresses me out too. I feel like I’m in the way.”
“That’s another thing – anticipating stress counts as stress. So, stop it with that train of thought. It’s nonsense. You need to remember self-care as a final touch. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and doing something you enjoy regularly. It keeps your brain happy, as well as your body. Give yourself a facial mask or make a coffee scrub. One of my favorite ways to indulge in some self-care is through face naturals. They have some great, organic products for a reasonable price.”
“Really? Where are they located?”
“It’s online, silly!” Ms. Perry giggled. “Go to www.facenaturals.com, and check out some of their blogs. They have some great tips and tricks on how to manage a healthy diet, stress, sleep, and even your skincare routine. Plus, the products are great and fun. I think you’d really like them.”
“I’ll give them a shot. Thanks for all your help, Ms. Perry. I actually feel a lot better now after talking to you. Do you think I can heal my body from all this damage my stress has caused? I’ve been feeling this way for several months now.”
“That’s the best news about this whole thing, Crystal. Studies show that once you take the proper steps to eliminating some of the stress, the damage is reversible, provided you take the proper steps in your daily habits to ensure that you stay healthy. Get your sleep, take some peaceful time to yourself, and eat well, my young friend! You will see your skin, hair, and health get back to where you need to be.”
Crystal put her jacket back on and picked up her messenger bag before heading toward the door. “Thanks so much, Ms. Perry. No more premature aging for me! I’m going to go home, email my other instructors, and get some rest. Can’t wait to see you in class next week!”
“Have a good weekend, Crystal.” Ms. Perry watched her student leave the office, thinking to herself that she would be just fine with a little more self-care and a little less stress. After all, how else did Ms. Perry herself manage to stay so attractive at her age?
Take a lesson from Ms. Perry and Crystal Pearlmann, and know when you are overwhelmed. No matter how old or how young you are, you can still be affected both physically and mentally by too much stress in your life. Keep track of how you are treating yourself, and make sure you keep some good sleep habits and eat a healthy diet during stressful times. This will stave off the effects of stress, and keep you feeling and looking younger for longer. While we cannot keep all stressful situations at bay, we can keep our bodies healthy during those times. Make sure you take care of yourself, and do not be afraid to let someone know when you feel overwhelmed.
Start your anti-aging routine with some self-care from face naturals. Pampering yourself during a stressful time in your life can help to lessen the effects of what it does to your looks and your body. What better way to accomplish this than with some non-toxic, skin-loving skincare products made with botanical ingredients? Contact us with information about your skin type, what you wish to accomplish, and which of our products interests you the most. The friendly face naturals staff will direct you toward options that suit your unique skin type. Plus, keep up with our blog posts for more articles about hot health and beauty topics, and short stories that may tell a tale similar to your situation.
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