BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
1. Get moving It can be hard to feel motivated when it's cold outside and so warm indoors. But not only will exercise give you a rush of mood-boosting endorphins, it’ll increase the blood flow to your skin, helping to nourish the cells and keep them healthy.
2. Eat omega-3 Aim for plenty of foods rich in omega-3, like salmon – canned or fresh – walnuts, flaxseeds/pineseeds and dark green leafy vegetables. Omega-3 fatty acids keep cell membranes healthy, helping the cells to hold water. Great news for skin!
3. Drink up Drink plenty of water and aim to avoid drinks like caffeine and alcohol. You don't have to miss out on your daily coffee, just exchange one for a herbal tea or a hot chocolate made with maca and cacao to warm you up.
To make Healthy Maca & Cacao Hot Chocolate: Heat a cup of your favourite milk, add about 2 tsp of maca, 2 tsp raw cacao, 1 tsp cinnamon and honey to taste. You’ll find maca and raw cacao in health food stores.
4. Stay social You might be tempted to hibernate at home rather than making an effort to get out. But spending time with friends and family, going to watch the footy or having a BBQ in the park, is likely to leave you feeling happier and warmer.
5. Dress warm It’s hard to feel happy if you’re shivering in the cold. Dressing warmly also helps to encourage healthy blood flow, which will keep your skin cells oxygenated.
Look after your extremities. Don't forget your feet and hands! Our feet tend to get a little forgotten when we're hiding them away behind socks and boots for three months - so why not treat yourself to a pedicure and foot scrub to freshen up and get sandal ready! Our hands need moisture too, so a hand cream, like NIVEA Express Hydration Hand Fluid, that you can pop into your bag on the go is a great idea – or you could start using hand cream every night before going to bed to help your skin regenerate while you sleep.
Pamper yourself. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a full body scrub and a great facial, so why not treat yourself before the weather warms up? Scented oils and some fresh ingredients are perfect to get you in spring mood.
WARM UP, INSIDE OUT!
Ancient Chinese Principles
Ancient Chinese medicine divides common foods into two groups: cool and warm. It's no surprise that in winter, we should be stocking up on the warmer options. Some delicious options on that list include cherries, pine nuts, mangoes and lamb!
A hearty soup is always a solid choice, with some serious versatility and nutritional benefits. Load up on vegetables and some lean meats and give yourself extra points if you add chilli to aid cardio health and even burn a little fat!
An evening cure
If you've had a long day, there's nothing better than curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and some reading material or a great show. If you make the traditional Chinese Oolong tea, you're going to be treating yourself to a drink jam-packed with antioxidants and less caffeine than a regular black tea! There's nothing wrong with needing a little milk too - make it goats milk if you can, it's gentler on your stomach and has more healthy fatty acids than cow’s milk.
Not a tea drinker? Not a problem! Apple cider vinegar has been called the 'miracle drink' because it has so many healing properties. Another great digestion aid, it also works to detox inside and out and has been known to clear up some nasty skin problems. All you need to do is add a few teaspoons to a glass of warm water, add a slice of apple as a tasty visual aid, choose a great book and you're set!
There's no denying we all get a little blue in winter and we can't help it - the warmer months just seem so far away. Our serotonin levels are known to drop a little with the absence of Vitamin D but there's a fun way to get them back on track and use our largest organ (our skin!) to our advantage with a sneaky hug here and there, or just a cheeky bit of hand holding. It's a well-known fact that like exercise, physical contact releases endorphins in our brains to help reduce stress, boost our immune system and put the roses back in our cheeks with better circulation.
Turn off the heater
We all do our best to keep our skin soft and supple, but what many people don't know is that our skin can dry out overnight if we leave the heater on. The hot air steals all the moisture from our skin, so a better idea is to grab a hot water bottle or an extra blanket and be kind to the environment, too! If you can't sleep without a heater, the trick is to leave a bowl of water in the room to equalise the air and water balance - leaving your skin to rest in peace.
The best changes begin on the inside, so don’t be afraid to get cosy or brave the outdoors this winter without a backwards glance!
HOW TO SOOTHE DRY AND FLAKY SKIN
Avoid air conditioned environments – try not to enclose yourself in a small room with a heater or air con on, without some way of increasing the humidity. A humidifier will add moisture to the air. If you don’t have one, placing a bowl of water near the heater or air con vent may help.
Protect yourself against the elements – if you’re out in the sun or wind, it’s important to shield your skin from UV rays and wind burn. Wear appropriate clothing and apply good quality sunscreen and protective lip balm.
Reduce hot baths and showers – long showers and baths can dry out your skin, especially when the water is too hot. Try to keep your bathing time under 5 minutes and use warm water.
Avoid irritants – harsh soaps and detergents will take a toll on your skin. Go for products with natural ingredients and fibres when it comes to cleaning yourself and your clothes.
Moisturise after bathing – when you’re out of the shower or bath, pat your skin dry (some moisture should remain) and then apply a gentle, nourishing cream. This will help to ‘trap’ moisture in the skin.
WINTER SKIN CARE
When winter hits, our skin needs a little extra love. Here are some quick and effective remedies to lock the moisture into your skin this winter!
- Hydration – take care of your skin from the inside first. Staying hydrated will help your skin cells to retain moisture. Drink plenty of water and maintain your electrolytes (especially if you’re exercising). Also, try to avoid excess diuretics, like caffeinated beverages.
- Milk it – if your skin needs some TLC, take milk from the fridge and pour it into a bowl. Apply it to your skin for around 5 minutes by plunging the affected area into it, or used a washcloth. The lactic acid and anti-inflammatory properties in milk can reduce itchiness and give your skin time to heal.
- Rich is the word – . The best treatment for really dry skin is a thick blanket of a rich moisturiser that’s left there to do its work for as long as possible. High “traffic” areas, such as hands and feet may need gloves and socks over them to help the cream really do its work.
- Overnight treatment – get some PJs and sheets that you don’t mind potentially ruining. Soak yourself in a just-warm bath until your fingers and toes start to ‘prune’ up. When you’re out, towel yourself, but leave as much water on the surface of your skin as possible. Then it’s time to apply a body oil. If you have solid oil that you can rub on, that will work well. Next pop on some PJs and leave the oil to work its magic while you sleep!
Rich Nourishing Body Lotion
4-in-1 Firming Body Oil
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use.