how kayla handles stress

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kayla joined the skinsalvation team in january 2016, after a whole lifetime of battling acne. she found her calling and has been able to combine her love of self-care and acne-awareness taking care of her clients here, and not only creates but prioritizes time in her life for her other loves – art, her dogs and her partner!  clients love  her straightforward approach, quick (and as painless as possible) treatments, and as she’s been through the acne journey herself, embodies everything she preaches. she’s also an artist of all mediums, and is an astrology lover!
stress can be an all-consuming monster that convinces us that we’re the problem. i can look back on my acne journey and now see that i was chronically stressed out, even though at the time i thought it was normal and i was totally fine. i thought this was how hard life had to be and i was being weak if i felt overwhelmed.
i believe this is a huge issue right now in society, especially in the bay area. we have become conditioned to be work horses and spread ourselves too thin, and call it “life”. then there becomes a common notion that we have no control over our day, our sleep schedule, the food we eat, or the stress we bear.
everything changed for me when i started to prioritize my self-care. my favorite saying is, you cannot pour from an empty cup. we must put our health and wellness first in order to thrive, not just survive. setting boundaries and rituals for yourself is the first step. taking control back is the next.
this is how i take control:
– sleep: i always guard my sleep hours with my life. i will get 9 hours of sleep every night and nothing and no one is going to interfere with that.
 breaks: every day, i honor my lunch breaks instead of working through them. i read, go for a walk, etc. it is my legal, unpaid, uninterrupted break and i ensure that i treat it that way.
 bedtime rituals: each night i stay away from screens (phone, tv, computer) 2 hours before bedtime and i do my nightly ritual (shower, burn sage or palo santo, and read a paperback book). doing the same thing each night trains my body know when it time to go to sleep.
– slow down: i used to try to fit too many things into my schedule; appointments, dates, trips, etc.. i realized that this causes me serious stress and tardiness. so i try to be realistic with my self.
will i REALLY be able to run that errand before work? 
will i REALLY want to land at the airport at 11pm and work the next morning? 
will i really want to go to the dentist at 8am after working the night before and then to yoga and then to lunch with jenni? 
can i really get off work at 7:30 and be at the airport by 8:30?
i used to say YES to all of these. i was trying to do way too much. the simple solution was just to slow down and give myself more downtime by planning for more downtime.
– wellness days: I plan for 1 day each week to meal prep, clean, binge watch netflix, and sleep-in. the meal prepping is especially important because this relieves me of the stress of having to find acne-safe meals last minute. the cleaning, binging, alone time, and sleeping-in just make me happy. (and go along with that whole “planning for downtime” bit.)
 being early: as for the tardiness, now I always give myself plenty of time to get to work (or appointments, flights, etc.) so i don’t start my day already stressed out. once again, i’m just realistic with myself. technically i could leave at 9:48 and be there by 10, but if I just leave at 9:30, I can enjoy the ride and be there early, have a snack, walk slow, and just overall feel more prepared. and less stressed 😉
it also helps not to plan too many things back to back. i can definitely try to squeeze a yoga class & hair appointment in my day and still be on time for my dad’s birthday dinner, but that leaves no room for error or traffic, and the slightest thing that can make me late to everything. so instead, i’ll just do yoga and give myself a few hours of downtime (there’s that word again).
– emotional therapy: when dealing with emotional stress, i have always found art to be very calming and meditative. so i try to make time to draw, paint, sing, take photos, etc. to keep my spirit alive and well-nourished. this has helped me reconnect with my self-expression and significantly decrease my stress.
to summarize, i take it easy on myself and give myself plenty of time to enjoy life 🙂
-kayla, esthetician

how blake handles stress

blake is one of the handful of clients we’ve had over the years that loved their experience clearing up with us so much that they’ve decided to work for us! originally from idaho and raised in san diego, she now lives with her husband in our neck of the woods. we always loved her straight-forward, get-it-done attitude, along with her compliance to the acne-safe lifestyle. she’s literally, a poster-child (woman!) for skinSALVATION!  in recent months, i’ve loved getting to know and working with her – we both have a penchant for the satisfying feeling we get after organizing and cleaning things, areas, rooms, refrigerators.. a skill that really comes in handy as the main woman behind our front office. – kim

while stress affects us all, it is important to recognize how you can individually manage your own. here are a few ways i cope with stress in the evening, after getting home from work or an otherwise busy day.

i usually start completing my sS skincare regimen at least 45 mins before i plan to sleep. this sets the tone for the evening since my regimen is extremely therapeutic for myself. i then make a warm cup of this.

this tea helps to calm and regulate digestion, which is such a nice two-in-one 😉 i then retreat to my bedroom and snuggle into a blanket. a huge contributing factor to my nightly routine is music! spotify is a great tool for finding relaxing stations or some good ‘ole frank sinatra.

after i’ve done this, i find it extremely helpful to pack away my phone and laptop, playing the music in my living room and leaving my door cracked. for the past year, i have created a “no-tech zone” in the bedroom. restricting all electronics to outside my bedroom creates the atmosphere for sleep and relaxation only, allowing your body to know it’s time to rest and avoid that harmful blue light!

finally, i slowly drift off after reading a paperback book.

-blake, front of house

how emily handles stress

emily is a long-time client of sS, turned front desk associate and now, esthetician in training! she’s gone through quite a few growth spurts this year (changed careers, got licensed as an esthetician, started 2 new jobs – reception and esthetics at skinSALVATION, and got married!) and thus, has had her fair share of busy- and sometimes stressful times. it’s been years since i’ve tried to coax her to joining sS, and we are super lucky + happy to have her as part of our team! -kim

if i don’t put a real effort into managing stress, my default mode is to be a stress case. i put a lot of effort into managing it so that i can be the best version of myself, for myself and the people i love and interact with everyday. here’s a glimpse into my stress management toolbox:

meditation is the cornerstone of my approach to handling stress. i especially like body scan meditations to get me back in my body/reality. you can search “body scan meditation” on youtube and find a plethora. i also like this one for when i really need a reset and a reminder that everything is ok. if i don’t even have five minutes to spare, i follow the steps below. i got this technique from here.

  1. get comfortable. adjust your posture (whether sitting, standing, laying down) so that you are in the most comfortable position possible
  2. do a quick scan from head to toe, relaxing each muscle as you move down from head to toe. you can imagine a warm golden glow moving down your body if that helps. this can be done in as little as 5 seconds if you are in a rush, but ideally it would take about 30 seconds-1 minute
  3. smile inwardly and remind yourself that holding onto stress and resentments is silly
  4. take 4 slow, deep breaths and feel the relaxation moving down your body with each out breath. slowly open your eyes after the fourth breath

if other people are stressing me out and i find myself easily annoyed, i try to do a quick spot check inventory to put a stop to the downward spiral of resentments. i’ve included some questions that really help put a hex on unhealthy thoughts – but just a warning, they aren’t always fun to answer. give them a shot next time you’re feeling super stressed at a person or circumstance, i promise it will at minimum change your perspective on the situation.

  • why am I angry?
  • what are my expectations?
  • what am I failing to accept? (accepting opinions of others doesn’t mean I agree with them)
  • do I need to be right instead of happy?
  • what have I done in the past to set this ball rolling? (trains of circumstances)
  • am I being loving and tolerant?
  • where have I been selfish or inconsiderate?
  • where have I been dishonest?
  • where have I been self-seeking?
  • where have I been frightened?
  • where was I to blame?
  • what should I have done instead?

basic miscellaneous tips:

  1. i try not to let myself get too hungry because when my blood sugar gets low my mood gets crazy. eating breakfast helps me avoid getting too hungry throughout the day. if you’re like me and don’t always feel hungry in the morning, i have found that smoothies and oatmeal are an easy way to get some calories quick, and i can drink/eat them fast on my way out the door. 
  2. having two dogs forces me to focus on something other than myself. i start out each day walking my dogs for at least twenty minutes. i get fresh air, exercise, and connection to my community just by walking around the ‘hood. it helps me more than my pups even know!
  3. to get settled at night i drink this and this, plus take 3 of these. i try to stay off my phone and not watch anything too scary on tv before bed so that i don’t get all riled up.

care for yourself by caring for others

Link

i have found that when life is busy, even with wonderful things and people i love, it can feel hectic and overwhelming. doing things that aren’t alllll about me ends up being a great way to slow my mind and relax. magically, i’ve found that helping others is an unexpected form of self-care!
for a couple of years i volunteered at project open hand (poh) once a week. poh is a non-profit that was founded in 1985 and delivers food to seniors and people battling critical illness. they also provide daily meals at their locations in san francisco and oakland. this is not your average food kitchen! poh collaborated with UC san francisco school of medicine in a study published in january of 2017. the study demonstrated how nutritious food has healing powers that are crucial for helping the critically ill.
volunteering at poh proved to be a wonderful break from my hectic schedule, where i could play just a teensy role in getting food prepped to be provided to people in need. while helping out in the kitchen, i primarily peeled and chopped vegetables. in the grocery center i sorted and packed food in the warehouse – both activities were super simple but extremely fulfilling!
in addition to the awesome kitchen, grocery center and meal deliveries, poh also has a radical indoor greenhouse at the polk street location. it’s unlike any greenhouse i’ve seen before – reminding me of a science fiction movie! it has veggies planted in these wheels, which rotate at a slow pace around the light in the center.
the greenhouse garden grows veggies like red sails leaf lettuce, freckles romaine lettuce, basil and micro greens. it can produce a lot of leafy greens at once! for example, if they dedicate all space on the wheel for basil and then use all the leaves produced for a sauce, it can be used in up to 1,400 meals! to see the awesome video that explains how it works, click here.
to help the cause, please click here to donate and here for more information on how to start volunteering! also, if you’re in the mood for a tear jerker, here’s a heartwarming video that gives a more complete idea of how project open hand changes lives – https://www.openhand.org/about-us
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empact northwest is a non-profit organization providing immediate disaster response, rescue training and medical education for underserved communities. one of skinSALVATION’s AMAZING clients volunteers with this organization and was in haiti last year helping rebuild the community!
founded in 2010 in response to the haiti earthquake, empact is dedicated to providing technical rescue service, direct medical care and education around the world to those who need it most, regardless of national or political affiliation.
they strive to complete their mission with minimum bureaucracy and a maximum involvement of volunteers. empact also offers training to fire department, law enforcement, search and rescue, and other emergency response personnel. they welcome input, so if you have suggestions please contact them by sending an email here.
 on sept 9th, empact posted this update on their facebook page regarding relief and aid provided during this brutal hurricane season: 

-hurricane harvey: all empact personnel have returned from the texas/louisiana border area.-hurricane

-hurricane irma: empact is actively monitoring the situation in partnership with the cajun navy and offering what assistance we can. It is our hope that residents of florida have heeded the warnings and evacuated.

-mexico earthquake: empact continues to monitor the situation in southern mexico in partnership with INSARAG and the UN OCHA. no request for international assistance has been made yet.

as you can see, empact is helping communities all over the place and needs support! to donate to their mission click here.

i had an epiphany to give back!

when asked if there was a specific charity i know of and want to support, two places immediately came to mind: epiphany center and friendship house. many of my loved ones and close friends have recovered from an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. i know how hard it is to get sober! there have been times where i felt that without the support of my community, i would not have been able to start my walk on the path towards success. for example, i am not sure if i could have left my previous career to start the journey toward being an esthetician if i didn’t have my loved ones cheering for me along the way!

change is scary and deciding to address an addiction is not only making a commitment to change but also relearning how to interact in this world. for this reason, getting clean is much more than just putting down the alcohol or drugs – and these two programs focus on the human as a whole, versus solely the addiction.

epiphany center provides holistic care to those who are struggling by focusing on multiple types of growth: physical, social-emotional, intellectual and spiritual! they have a residential recovery program for women and their young children that provides everything from vocational training groups to auricular acupuncture. their goals, in their words, are simply: “to keep children safe, to strengthen parent-child relationships and to keep families together by reducing risk factors.” in doing so, they impact the future of our community.

 

friendship house association of american indians is “dedicated to stopping the cycle of dysfunction that has been passed down from one generation to the next”. they don’t see their clients as simply clients, but instead as family. they have an 80-bed residential facility that people can stay in for up to 6 months. during this time, they work to empower themselves through resume development, computer training, job training and housing assistance.

whether or not you or a loved one has struggled with addiction, it is evident that the goals these two companies have are commendable! the goal is to help treat the addiction to empower the human. interestingly enough, skinSALVATION has the same idea – help treat the skin to empower the human. a donation to these organizations expands their programs to reach a greater population in need.

if you would like to help, you can donate directly to the epiphany center or friendship house.