Published on November 30th, 2012 | by Karin Jenkins
‘Tis the Season to…Prematurely Age!
Everywhere I look right now, there are magazines filling the shelves with a million “how to” beauty tips for the holidays. Well, let me save you a lot of time and expense by reviewing quickly what the magazines are saying so I can get to the point I need to make in this article.
The color of the season is purple. All shades of purple. Why? Because purple shades look good on everyone – this applies to all different hair colors as well as skin tones. Your makeup is, of course, a little heavier and bolder for special holiday events.
Definitely use eyeliner. I prefer cake eyeliner because it is easy to apply and stays on the longest. Application of false eyelashes can also be a great addition to your makeup. They really help your eyes “pop” and they always photograph well.
If you have fine lines around your eye area (like I do), then keep the frost eye shadows on your lids and away from the creases. There is nothing worse than bringing more attention to our lines and wrinkles. I am not saying don’t use the fun colored frost shadows, just know where to use them for the best results.
Then the holiday health issues will tell you to watch what you eat and drink, exercise, drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? I wish it were. You and I both know how the holidays really work in most families, especially for the women. I am not saying men don’t get as stressed this time of year, but the women are the ones who show it on their face. It’s not fair, but it’s true.
As women we try to take on the world during the holiday season. We believe we truly have “super powers” and we can and will do the impossible. We feel it is our personal responsibility to make sure the holiday season is perfect for everyone we come in contact with. We can’t help it – it’s how most of us were raised.
We must be perfect hosts, perfect cooks, perfect housekeepers, perfect gift wrappers, perfect wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, employers, employees and the list goes on and on. While we are pounding the pavement, shopping for the perfect gifts for everyone else, we are giving ourselves the worst gift of all – premature aging! This is not a gift we need, want, nor can we return.
There are times in life when you can’t help but stress.
This year, in a 3-month period, I lost my mother; four days later I almost died due to blood clots in my leg, and both lungs. Then my body stopped producing estrogen, and I was thrown into full-blown Menopause, which was great fun (not only for me, but also for anyone in a 100-mile radius of me). To top it all off, my father was diagnosed with Leukemia. I must tell you, those were huge stresses and they have affected me physically, mentally and emotionally.
They were life stresses that couldn’t be stopped and they happen to everyone. It’s important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are out of control. The most dangerous thing about stress is how it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel even normal. You don’t notice how much it is affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll.
Everyone experiences stress differently so we have to listen to our bodies and make good, solid choices for ourselves.
It’s Christmas time and I love this time of year. I say that every year at the start of the holiday season, but by December 26th, I am usually sick and rundown and wondering why I say year after year that I love this season.
My Grandma Rathwell would say, “You look like something the cat dragged in.” She was so right. I have a feeling most of you probably feel the same. I can guarantee it isn’t the look we are going for in our holiday family pictures. I know you are thinking, “Christmas season equals stress. The end.” We all have to find ways to eliminate the unnecessary stress or we are not going to like who is looking back at us in the mirror.
All the fancy holiday lip gloss, shimmer powders, eye shadows and sparkly purple outfits aren’t going to do “squat” if we are tired and stressed out. I am here to tell you, first hand, that there is no amount of makeup or moisturizing creams or magic potions that will cover stress and exhaustion. None!
Don’t even get me started on the amount of hair loss stress can cause. You also need to know that your body can’t tell between “good stress” and “bad stress.” I read it described like this: “Like termites undermining a structure, stress works insidiously to undermine body, mind and emotions, but the results can become all too obvious, by showing up on your skin.”
Dermatologists are still debating whether or not stress actually causes skin disorders, but they do seem to agree that stress aggravates or triggers skin conditions such as acne, hives, eczema, rosacea, warts, cold sores, blisters and more. Even if stress doesn’t actually show up on your skin in one of these conditions, it is one of the chief contributors to an increased population of free radicals in the body, which, in turn, have been discovered to be a major cause of premature aging.
Here are a few common external causes of stress during the holiday season:
- Relationship difficulties
- Financial Problems
- Being too busy
- Children and family
- Major life changes
Not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be self-generated. Here are a few internal causes for holiday stress:
- Inability to accept uncertainty
- Unrealistic expectation (HELLO!)
- Lack of assertiveness
- Feeling overwhelmed
I have to share this with you – as I just finished writing this last paragraph, my husband David, stopped and read what I had just written. He said, “We have a bunch of those stresses. We should look 80.”
It’s true, but we are going to work on correcting this – fast!
Really think about how you can relieve stress in your own life right now, before Holiday Madness can give you one tiny little wrinkle.
First, make a list of everything you think you must do before the holidays. If you are like me, your list will look something like this: Cook Christmas dinner (for I don’t even know how many yet), decorate the house, decorate our salon, bake 5 million kinds of Christmas cookies (eat most of them myself), bake banana bread, make my famous Russian Tea, clean the house – several times, take the dog to the groomers, continuously get the cat out of the Christmas tree, buy perfect gifts (even though I don’t have a clue what those “perfect gifts” are yet and the clock is ticking!), work at least 5 days a week at the salon, address and mail out 100 Christmas cards, ship gifts to my kids in Chicago and family in Ohio, prepare and plan activities and meals for visiting relatives and friends throughout the season, prepare and schedule to attend every holiday happening and parties and theater shows in this town and nearby areas.
I know there is about a page more of “stuff,” but I think you get the idea. I just re-read my list…and then I had to lay down for a bit. OMG! I need to make some serious changes this year or I will look 80 by January.
I need to dissect this list into what I love to do and how happy and festive it makes me feel and another list of what makes me feel stressed, anxious and over-whelmed. I want you all to do the same. I won’t bore you with all my holiday plans or lack thereof, but I will share with you a few of my obvious changes.
First, who needs to spend days standing in a kitchen baking millions of cookies, especially when you know in your heart that you will be the one eating most of them? And then the self-loathing will follow when you get on the scale. Truthfully, my husband and I can easily put down a dozen Christmas cookies every morning with our coffee. If it is in our house, we will eat it! I am going to pick just two or three of my “easiest” holiday favorites and if I need/want more, I will buy them from bakeries that will probably do a better job than me anyways.
I will most definitely make my “Rum Balls.” I can sit and roll them and wrap them in foil while watching one of my favorite sappy Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. Those cookies (my mom’s potent recipe) have one entire bottle of Bacardi 151 Rum and after two or three cookies I don’t even care if I get anything else done. Merry Christmas to me!
I will purchase more gift cards and stick those in with my Christmas cards – that way I am not standing in long lines at the post office and my family can pick out their own perfect gifts.
I personally love the whole Christmas card process. I love choosing a photo for the card, sitting down in the living room and “visiting” with friends and family with the notes I put in their cards. Again, I can do this while watching all my favorite Christmas movies or listening to Christmas music which I would play 24/7 if I could get away with it! It’s my “Happy Place.”
The relatives can plan a lot of their own activities and take me out to dinner once in awhile.
I love theater, so I will choose the shows I want to see most, like “Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the New Smyrna Beach Little Theatre, which opened Nov. 23. I also want to see “Scrooge, The Musical” at the Athens Theater in DeLand, starting Dec. 7 (…and that concludes the shameless plug portion of my article).
As far as parties go – if I feel up to it, I will go and if not, I won’t be afraid to say “I wish I could, but I just don’t want to.” Well, maybe I will use more tactful words, but I will know it means the same thing.
You have to figure out what works for you. The magazines and “experts” tell you what you should do. A popular “should do to de-stress” in the beauty magazines is always a nice, warm bubble bath. Not at my house. The minute I get in my tub of lovely bubbles my dog, Tommy, and my cat, Lola, are trying to get in with me. If I lock them out, they scratch at the door non- stop. Laying in this lovely tub yelling “No” at the top of my lungs makes bath time not my de-stressing place to be, but it might be yours.
This holiday season I want you to take care of you. Without you I am sure there is a lot of family and friends out there that would be in a world of hurt. When all is said and done, it’s not the perfection that makes your family and friends love you. It’s you just being you at your best – happy, relaxed, healthy and rested.
Think about Christmases past. Do you think of all the “perfect” things over the years or are the funny, not-so-perfect holiday events what you lovingly remember most? I remember those best and cherish them with all my heart.
Like the year my mom spent literally days locked in the guest room perfectly wrapping every gift with great detail only to have our dachshund puppy un-wrap every single gift before Christmas morning.
Or the time my sister and I got a three-wheeled dirt-buggy (like a dirt bike) and my Grandma jumped on it and ran it straight into our above ground pool Christmas morning. Priceless! And of course it just wasn’t the holidays until my Grandpa Rathwell started a small fire somewhere in our house (in his later years).
One year my husband and I were all dressed up for Christmas Eve and we had a champagne toast with our brand new fancy flute glasses. As we made our toast and “clinked” our glasses together, they broke in half and our new outfits were soaked. Classic! Our daughter, Tara, even got it on film!
Everything was just perfect and she and her husband, Ryan, clearly worked very hard to impress us with so many little holiday details.
On Christmas Eve, a tradition she took from my side of the family of letting everyone open one gift (mom would choose the gift and it was always pajamas) she decided to continue that tradition.
What none of us saw coming was that she had mistakenly purchased women’s pajamas for her husband and she made her Father flannel pajama bottoms that were about three times too small. This is what the holidays are really about. We all laughed so hard and I am woman enough to admit that I peed my pants from laughing!
Laughing is a GREAT de-stressor anytime of the year. Faith, family, friends, love, laughter and a really good sense of humor is a perfect combination that will keep you eternally young and make it your best holiday yet.