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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

If you walk up to the first person you see and ask them to pinpoint the time when their skin was at its absolute worst, they’ll probably be able to tell you. For me, this period was two summers ago. After months of clear skin, my face broke out worse than ever. I couldn’t figure out why because I was doing everything right, right? Drinking lots of water? Check. Following a ridiculously complicated skincare regimen every night? Check. Changing my pillowcases every week? Check. It was only until a year later that I figured it out. My breakouts two summers ago lined up with the most stressful time of my adult life, and stressing out about my skin only made it worse! It was only after I tackled the sources of my stress that my breakouts finally calmed down.

Figuring out the root of your stress

The first step in stress management is to figure out the source(s) of your stress. After all, tackling the root(s) of your stress will probably help you relieve your stress faster. However, this can be difficult if you don’t know where to start! I suggest going through your camera roll if you tend to take photos frequently and begin to document the periods you remember being stressed. Your camera roll will help because it’ll jog your visual memory. This is how I finally realized the correlation between my breakouts and my stress!

Dividing your stress into two categories

After figuring out the root causes of your stress, it’s time to split them into two categories: stress within your control and stress out of your control. It may seem cliché, but it helps! For example, two of your root causes of stress could be living the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and figuring out your career goals. So, career goals would belong in the former category and the pandemic in the latter. Writing down that some of your stress is out of your control may help you prioritize what’s within your control and ultimately help reduce your stress levels!

Tackling your stress

Of course, not all stress is easily addressed, even when it’s partially within your control. External factors such as mental health get in the way of focusing on your stress, but that’s okay! You don’t need to tackle all your stress in one day. Instead, I suggest tackling your sources of stress one at a time in manageable chunks. After realizing that stress was causing my breakouts, I spent a large portion of my free time tackling the roots of my stress. The process can be enjoyable if you give it a chance! And make sure to give yourself breaks when you need them.

Continuously checking in with yourself

“Checking in” is a popular concept in this day and age. We check in on friends and family when we’re thinking of them and significant others when we miss them, but we forget the most essential check-in: ourselves! Realistically, life will always throw more stressors your way, even if you manage to avoid them for a little while. So, continuously checking in on yourself and addressing new stressors as they pop up is the best and easiest way to make your life a little easier.

Stress management is super important, not only for your skin but also for your mental health. It’s easy to procrastinate dealing with your stress, especially if you’re a particularly busy person. But if you’re breaking out for seemingly no reason, or you just feel a little dull all around, it might be time to tackle the potential causes of stress in your life.