We’ve all had days where we just feel like zombies, and don’t really care how we look or what we wear. Sometimes it’s the result of partying a little too hard over the weekend, or those extra hours you put in to finish that project at work. But what about the times when a sympathetic someone tells you “you look tired,” but you feel just fine?
When you look tired, you have dark circles under your eyes, your hair seems scraggly and limp, your skin has a dull, grayish tinge and you are perpetually being patted on the back and asked if you would like to sit down. Not only is it unattractive, it can also make you look less professional. It could make people feel less confident in your abilities, and less willing to take you on as a project partner or employee.
Admittedly, not everybody gets everything they need to look well-rested and glowing. We bet you struggle with the daily difficulties of juggling work or study with your personal and social life, and sometimes the pressure does show on your body. But we’ll let you in on a secret… you don’t have to look tired.
There are hacks to looking as fresh as a daisy – even when you don’t feel like it, here are some of our favorites.
Tiredness is not fatigue
But first we want to clarify that these are not tips to cure chronic fatigue, which is a completely different, and more dangerous, condition. Everyone gets tired or looks tired, but constant exhaustion that saps your energy as well as your motivation, your purpose, and your will is not the same thing. If you are feeling tired all the time, you might want to see a doctor.
Fatigue can be an illness onto itself, but it’s more often a symptom of a larger underlying problem. There can be a lot of reasons for it that are easily dealt with, such as sleep problems or excessive stress. But there’s a host of illnesses, too, that you could catch early. These include Cushing's disease, kidney disease, electrolyte problems, diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, arrhythmias, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure kidney disease, and liver disease.
Looking tired is not exhaustion
On the other hand, just looking tired is not likely to be something terrible waiting to rear its ugly head. It can be as simple as finding more time to sleep, getting back on a better diet, or drinking more water. If you want to look more refreshed and less droopy, try these easy to follow tips:
1. Get enough sleep
It sounds simple, but making sure that getting enough rest is a priority is key to keeping your skin, and hair in tip top shape. It’s also essential to keeping your eyes bright instead of red and puffy.
2. Check your water intake
Keri Glassman, the founder of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice in New York City, stresses that proper hydration keeps you looking perky. Water contributes to your skin’s elasticity and plumpness, which means less wrinkles and less sagging. “It sounds like such a basic thing, but when you're hydrated your skin looks younger and more fresh," says Glassman. "That's why when you get off a plane you often look tired and run down—it's because you're dehydrated, which makes your skin look more wrinkly."
3. Keep your diet clean
If you’re noticing that your skin has dulled, you can revise your diet to make sure that your skin gets more nutrition. You can do this by minimizing or replacing junk food.
Stay away from fried food. Anything deep fried is potentially your skin’s enemy. Loaded with oil and trans fats, they could potentially clog arteries and stiffen blood cells on top of making your skin look dull and tired.
Salty food, dehydrates your skin, making it look duller. Cut back on the cold cuts as well, because preservatives in these are known to cause skin inflammation in the skin that makes it look sallow. Instead, choose to take your protein in the form of fresh meat flavored with spices instead of relying on salt.
4. Drink more green tea
Research has given us compelling evidence that with enough green tea, your skin can discover the fountain of youth. It contains the polyphenol EGCG, which reactivates dying skin cells. This smooths out skin and makes it look fresh and young again. Another “rejuvenating” effect of green tea is that it makes skin better hydrated and more elastic, as well as improving its oxygen and blood flow.
Here’s a tip: A Purdue University study discovered that adding citrus to green tea boosts the bioavailability of antioxidants in it. To ensure that your green tea helps wipe the years and the tired, droopy eyes away with maximum effectivity, squeeze some lemon into your cup just before you’re ready to drink it down.
5. Manage your allergies
Having allergic reactions can create congestion, which can lead to dark circles under the eyes. How do these seemingly unrelated conditions happen? When your sinuses are congested, blood flow from your head (mostly in your face) has a harder time finding its way back to your heart. This causes the tiny veins right under the skin below the eyes to swell up, and since they’re so close to the skin’s surface, the inflamed veins can be seen as a dark, sometimes bruise-colored, swelling.
If you notice that you have darkness and swelling underneath one or both eyes on a fairly regular basis, you may want to see an allergist, who may prescribe some antihistamines. Or you can temporarily set up your diet to minimize refined sugar in order to detox your system. However, be aware that without finding out just what you’re allergic to, you may have to keep repeating the process until you find your trigger and avoid it better.
Luckily, testing methods to find the culprit behind your allergies has become more available and more reliable in the past years. Take advantage of it and see great improvements to your well-being in as little as a week.
6. Eat more Omega-3
Food rich in omega-3 such as walnuts, salmon, sardines, flaxseed, chia seeds, spinach, and soybeans have anti-inflammatory properties. These promote increased hydration and better circulation, as well as reduce your skin’s sensitivity to irritants.
7. Get some Selenium in you
This mineral naturally occurs in brazil nuts, tuna, and mushrooms. It also improves the quality of your skin by warding off damaging free radicals that accelerate aging, as well as preserves the skin’s natural elasticity.
8. Eat more dark, leafy, greens
While most lettuces are pretty good for you in the way of hydration, you may find that it’s the dark green veggies that give you the most oomph in your battle against looking like something someone ran over.
Spinach, kale, and swiss chard have a good amount of vitamin C in them. This helps your skin cells replenish and keep their collagen stores, keeping them firm and your face wrinkle-free.
9. Try more tofu
While being a great protein source, tofu also promotes great-looking skin. The soybeans tofu is made out of has heaps of benefits for your skin, hair, and nails. It has phytic acid that acts as an antioxidant, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and all sorts of good stuff that perks up your skin in no time at all.
Looking tired is not always a choice. However, if you aren’t even feeling tired, looking like you are can be a bummer. It can wear down people’s confidence in you if you look worn out all the time, and make people think you’re older than you are.
A few quick adjustments to your diet can help ensure that you don’t look ill when you aren’t. Simply drinking more water and getting enough rest can work wonders, along with eating the right things.
Too often we make the mistake of thinking that these small things, often attributed to common sense, don’t make a difference. But they do add up, and you’d be pleasantly surprised when people tell you that you look radiant even when you’re not even trying.
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