It’s written all over my face

Several folks have been saying things to me like “Aren’t you excited about your new job and lab? Because you seem so… calm.” Okay, so maybe I’m not running around all frantic-like, feeling like I want to cry at the drop of a hat, experiencing heart palpitations, and constantly wondering when my head is actually going to spin off. (That was two months ago, thankyouverymuch.) But I’m still feeling pretty stressed. And that stress is starting to wear on my body – specifically my face. I’ve been breaking out like a little teenage girl praying for a prom date these past few weeks. Add on some extra poundage from weaning, holiday baking, and lack of exercise due to repeated illnesses, and I feel completely ugh.

Maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about the physical manifestations of my stress, but I am. I spent extra time this morning covering my blemishes with makeup, as well as a little more time on my hair and wardrobe to distract from my snug waistbands. Not that I think worrying about what makes me feel attractive is necessarily a bad thing, especially when the feeling of *ugh* is partly due to not being at the peak of my own health. But I can’t help thinking that the time spent trying to cover up my flaws is a little, I don’t know, wrong. As I get closer to starting my new grown-up job, I’m feeling a bit insecure, and the flaws on the surface are mirrored by butterflies in my stomach and anxiety in my head. Who knows – maybe some extra work on the exterior will quell my underlying angst.

I’m probably seriously over-thinking all of this. What I need is a serious day at the spa. Alas, I don’t have time for that right now. But I am getting a haircut at my favorite salon in a couple of weeks, and I just made an appointment for a brow wax and pedi. So what if my toes are buried in wool stockings and Birkenstocks – it makes me feel pretty, and it relaxes me. This is just one area in which I will always be a bit of a girly-girl.

How do you all unwind when stress takes over your mental and physical well- being?


9 thoughts on “It’s written all over my face

  1. The trick is going to be when you move to your next wonderful place, taking time for yourself. You will feel pulled by your new job, making sure your fam is making the adjustment, etc. You might be tempted to give up on your ‘you’ time. Don’t even think about it, Dr. O!!! Me? I go get a monster, massagey-pedi about once a month. I know, it’s not extravagant, but it’s enough to feel relaxed and recharged.

    It’s excellent that your taking the time for some quality salon time. Don’t let yourself forget how that feels…..

  2. You know, whatever works, right? If it makes you feel more confident about things by dressing up more or spending time on your hair and make-up, then go for it and don’t feel guilty about it! I love the idea of doing a monthly pedicure or something like that just to have some “me” time. I haven’t done that in a while and really should.

  3. I may be a bit pragmatic but here’s my 3 suggestions:

    1-: massage, facial mask and general workup at Yves Rocher (or something like that in the states). I do take such a workup once a month and it does a really good job on me.

    2-: if suggestion one fail,see a doctor, suggest short term as needed benzo but if you’re lactating, this might not be the best solution.

    3-: a psychologist could be very useful in addition to the previous suggestion.


  4. I love yoga, and I love spa time. The bigger problem for me (right now) is finding the time to do these things. We have a mini spa across the street from our condo, so I can slip away for a brief escape on weekends. Yoga, not so easy. Although I made lots of time for it when I was preggos – VERY helpful then!!!

    When we get to TTT, I’m hoping for a shorter commute to the lab and more convenient home location to these types of things. I have a feeling I’m gonna need it.

  5. Ugh, I eat my way to total relaxation … or so I think. This week has been particularly stressful, between the PMS, a frustrating day with the boss and much more I ate a ginormous burger with fries and a big strawberry milkshake yesterday.

    One thing I try to do is to surround myself with happy/relaxing fragrances. I love lavender, so I invest in good soaps and lotions and take extra long showers every morning to help me start the day with a little less stress.

    Having started my first real grown up job somewhat recently I can relate a bit to what you’re feeling. It’s important to put ourselves and our help first. Enjoy your well deserved pampering, you’re not only worth it but you definitely will benefit from it. Congrats again!

  6. My face went to hell after I had my daughter, and stress of grad school and postdoc sure didn’t help. Last year I broke down and tried several different systems for my face and landed on the clinique 3 step system for oily skin. I really like it and it has helped a LOT. I was also able to return all the clinique products that didn’t work as I was searching for the perfect system, which is nice since this stuff gets expensive fast!

    I know I’m the type to think that little things like getting new eyeshadow will cover up the fact that I’ve gained 5 pounds and am a ball of stress. Since there is little time to go to the gym, let alone a spa, I do what I can to just feel better, even if it’s taking a bath at 1:30 am before heading to bed. and honestly, chocolate does make me feel better so I’m not about to cut it out even though it isn’t helping my weight or skin problems. I do try to get fancy dark chocolate and eat it slower so i don’t eat as much…

    Good luck and hang in there!

  7. I went through exactly this when I was a month or two out from moving, with the exception of the weaning part, of course 🙂 And honestly, once I got to NJC everything got better. My stress gut went away, my skin cleared up basically overnight, and even though I was starting a crazy new job and alone in a new city and everything, it still was as though a giant weight was lifted. Hang in there, Dr. O–for now, do what you can to make yourself feel good, and FFS, there is nothing wrong with a little primping! I thought our generation was done with the whole “you can’t be a feminist if you care about your looks” thing?

  8. and FFS, there is nothing wrong with a little primping! I thought our generation was done with the whole “you can’t be a feminist if you care about your looks” thing?

    So very true. Although I think our generation is still carrying a lot of baggage from former ones; at least I sometimes seem to be 😉

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