I work as a full time health journalist for national newspapers and magazines with about two deadlines a week. I edit healthista.com. Outside work I am rebuilding my kitchen and bathroom, showering in the gym (due to being shower-less) and eating take-away off my lap most nights (due to being kitchen-less). Each day I wake up between 4.30am and 5.20pm to start the day.
It’s safe to say I am stressed.
Yes, I go to the gym most days but I barely do any yoga practice (I used to do it daily) and where I used to practice a little mindfulness meditation, now I just can’t fit it in. I barely take time out to breathe. Mind you, I am the co-author of a book on stress The De-Stress Diet: The Revolutionary Lifestyle Plan for a Calmer, Slimmer You with nutritionist and stress expert Charlotte Watts so I know what I should be doing. Taking regular breaks (I am currently working through lunch), having time out (I work seven days a week), doing regular deep breathing (forget it) and eating well (doing my best but until the kitchen is finished it’s looking like one Indian take-away after the other).
Today Auriole Prince, a forensic artist I have worked with before, got in touch. Auriole is am ex-FBI forensic artist who in the past has worked with investigators on ageing images of missing persons in order to release pictures of what they might look like today. She now runs a website called changemyface.com that provides ageing software so people can see their faces in the future (they have created the app Drinking Mirror which allows you to see the effects of cutting back on alcohol on your skin in ten years – great motivation).
I have worked with Auriole before on stories in which she aged my face ten years according to the effects of alcohol, smoking and eating too much junk food. She mentioned that it was National Stress Awareness Day and did I want her to doctor an image of my face to show what stress might be doing to it. Did I ever. One of the best motivators for me is after all, vanity.
Today, Auriole has aged my face according to what I will look like if I continue under my current levels of stress. It makes for sober viewing. This is me now. I am 45.