Panic about all the things I have to do
Start a to do list
Write down all the things I have to do
Look at my to do list
Look at my to do list again, calmly
Deep breath and realise that overwhelm isn’t helping
Make my way through all the things on my to do list
Tick them all off as I go
Look at my completed to do list with pride
Breathe a sigh of relief
Treat myself for being so awesome
Start again with a new list tomorrow
In this article:
I love making lists. Actually, I really love making lists. I love making lists so much that I even add things I’ve already done, just so that I can have the satisfaction of ticking it off.
When I have everything I need to do written down in front of me, I feel like things are in order. I’m instantly more productive and feel less overwhelmed.
My lists aren’t just for work related tasks, I use them for home related tasks too. And there’s no better time for making lots of lists for the home, when Christmas is approaching!
So in this article we’re going to talk about the benefits of making lists, specifically the benefits to our stress levels when there’s something big approaching, and how that also positively impacts our skin. Because who wants a break out over the festive season?
Stress can have a big impact on our skin, and at this time of year we can really let stress get to us. There’s so much planning for Christmas, from food to presents, spare beds and who’s looking after Grandma, not to mention possible food shortages, that it can all get on top of us.
So give your skin a hand this year by reducing your stress through the use of lists!
How Does Stress Affect the Skin?
If you’ve ever noticed that your skin misbehaves when the chips are down, then your skin is suffering the effects of stress. When we’re under pressure from work, family life, money worries or simply life in general, we can feel it physically.
The physical effects of stress include headaches, breathing more quickly, a rapid heart rate and stomach upsets and pain. In the longer term, we might be at risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and a weakened immune system.
Our skin also suffers, especially so if we already have skin that normally doesn’t even need an excuse to act up. If we have a skin condition such as acne, rosacea or eczema, stress can, and often does, make it worse.
This is because when we’re stressed, our body releases stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol causes the blood vessels to constrict, or narrow, whilst adrenaline causes the heart to beat faster.
A faster heart beat means more blood flow at the same time as narrower blood vessels meaning the blood has less space to flow. This can lead to red, irritated and inflamed skin and skin rashes. (This is also why stress can also lead to heart disease.)
Cortisol also triggers the release of more sebum from the skin, the waxy, oil like substance that acts as a natural moisturiser and protective barrier. Too much sebum, and it can block the pores, trapping dirt, bacteria, pollution and dead skin cells, leading to spots and acne breakouts.
What’s more, long term, chronic stress can lead to premature ageing of the skin and again, this is down to the hormone cortisol. Cortisol breaks down collagen in our skin, the protein that’s responsible for our skin’s youthfulness and plumpness.
We naturally lose collagen as we age, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and drooping. But if we’re under a lot of stress and our cortisol levels are high, we can accelerate this process, leading our skin to appear older than it is.
So it’s clear - there’s a lot to be said for reducing our stress levels. And I think making lists, lots of lists, is one solution! (If you’re really struggling with stress and it’s significantly affecting your ability to enjoy life, try speaking to your GP who can recommend some talking therapies or other ways to help you deal with stress.)
The Benefits of Making Lists
It isn’t just me that loves making lists. Research proves that we can perform better when all the things we need to do are written down.
Lists help us feel more organised, help to support our memory, increase our productivity and boost our motivation. Plus of course, they make everything feel structured, neat and tidy.
Also, the feeling of a completed to do list gives us evidence and a robust record of all that we’ve achieved that day, week or month and that feels amazing!
If, like me, you can be forgetful as you consider all the things you need to get done, having a daily task list that you can easily add to as things pop into your mind is extremely cathartic. It also decreases the risk of that annoying feeling when we’ve forgotten something.
List writing also helps us to structure our days if we know roughly how long we need to do each task. That way, we’re less likely to run out of time - as long as we’re not over zealous and making lists with unreachable targets. That only serves to increase our stress levels, the complete opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.
All of this combined can help to reduce the stress and overwhelm that is so often brought on by simply living every day life.
How to Make Lists
It might sound obvious, as surely making a list is easy. But to do lists need some kind of structure.
I like to keep work and home lists separate. At Christmas, if I’m planning to host (which at the moment is all an unknown again thanks to Covd) I also like to narrow things down further into gift and dinner lists. Gifts belong on one list, and all the food prep and jobs I need to do to prepare for dinner (or the whole day) go on another.
So if you’re planning a Christmas (or any other) list, organise them into different sections that make orderly sense. Otherwise they’ll cause you more stress!
You could organise tasks further into time slots if you like. I personally don’t do this, because sometimes I like to wing it and do jobs a little haphazardly. That means I might do them in a different order to how I intended, depending on how I’m feeling. As long as they all get done, it’s ok, right?
I’m quite old school in that my lists are generally of the paper and pen variety. (I also draw little boxes beside each point so that I have somewhere to actually tick, rather than crossing each line out. But that’s just me…) I also LOVE any excuse to use new stationary, so colourful pads with ready made to do list templates are ideal for me.
Lists can take on any form, from the back of an envelope or a chalkboard to an app on our phones or a full on spreadsheet that’s accessible by the whole household.
However you make your lists, just make sure they’re organised or at least make sense to you (and whoever else needs to use them).
Adding Sönd Skincare to Your To Do List!
We know that stress isn't just relieved by writing lists - if we’re under an immense amount of pressure then we need more extreme measures to relax us. But we can help to support our skin by using the right skincare.
The Sönd range of alkalising skincare includes our cream cleanser, day and night moisturisers, serums and toners each developed to respect the skin, hydrating and nourishing deep within the lower layers. Designed to suit all skin types, our products are especially beneficial to those of us that struggle with acne, inflamed skin, rosacea and eczema.
So why not add Sönd to your Christmas list this year? We don’t mind if you’re on the good list or the bad!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.