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Brrrr it’s cold here in Australia! Well in Brisbane it is getting down to 10C to 15C at night and 20C to 25C during the day. I am sure that for some of you I should really not be complaining! But when you live in a semi-tropical location that is dang cold for us! So for those of you going through the deep freeze (ha) at the moment I have compiled my list of all natural winter wellness tips to keep your skin hydrated, your body healthy and your soul happy.
Keeping that Skin Hydrated!
To avoid your skin from drying out in the cold and windy weather you should try the following:
For starters keep your showers short.
I know, I know, what is better than having a nice hot shower to warm you up?! Well the heat will strip your skin of moisture and important oils so keep the showers to no more than 10 minutes once a day.
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate.
Get rid of that dry skin you will inevitably get. So that the moisturiser doesn’t have to wade through the dead skin cells to the skin you want to moisturise.
Choose an oil-based moisturiser.
There are so many options I could give you here, but I will just stick to a couple of my favourites.
- I have tried the Miod Balancing Face Oil but for winter I would step it up to their Rejuvenating Face Oil. A deeply hydrating wonder-juice (wonder-juice?! I just made that up) that contains apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil and a few more amazing oils perfect for winter. Read up here on all my favourite facial oils.
- Indie Lee has a few great oils for face, body and nails. The Jasmine Ylang Ylang Nutrient Oil would be my pick.
- You can’t go past Leahlani’s Bless Balm for soothing the skin with lovely organic ingredients.
- 100% Pure also has an intensely nourishing moisturing balm which is so intensely nourishing that they called it Intensive Nourish Moisture Balm.
Use a Humidifier.
Have a humidifier running in your home, particularly in your bedroom, to put moisture back into the air and help prevent your skin from drying out.
Drink lots of water!
The best way to keep your skin hydrated is to make sure you are hydrated from the inside out. So don’t skimp out on the water in favour of hot drinks, keep up your 8 glasses of water a day!
Consider using an oil on your body as opposed to a moisturiser.
Oils have smaller molecules than regular moisturiser and can hydrate more intensely and on a deeper level than creams. So, if you’re noticing that your legs and arms are still scaly even after lathering them in your moisturising cream, try switching to a body oil. You can’t go wrong with Coconut oil, Jojoba Oil, Hemp Oil or even good old Olive oil for very dehydrated skin.
Keep that Body Healthy!
Have a healthy body to keep the colds and flu at bay or at least reduce their severity by:
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating foods that are high in vitamin C will help keep your immune system strong, so include fruit and veggies such as lemons, kiwifruit, capsicum and broccoli in your weekly shop. Also eat foods that are:
- high in antioxidants, protein and fibre
- high in vitamins B, D and E
- low in sugars and fats.
Clean those paws
Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and spreading illness as it limits the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes, according to the Mayo Clinic in the US. This is important during winter when we tend to cough and sneeze more often. Wet your hands and lather up with soap for 20 seconds to help dislodge germs and rinse well under running water. Or if you are out and about use a chemical free hand sanitizer such as Dr. Bronner’s.
Diffuse an anti-bacterial essential oil blend
A blend of Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Scotch Pine, Spearmint, Galbanum should help keep the nasty colds and flu’s away or help if you do unfortunately catch one. This anti-bacterial blend has been used to help alleviate the discomfort of colds, easing congestion and clearing nasal passages. Check out other antibacterial blends by Organic Aromas here.
Use a natural alternative to Vicks VapourRub if you do get sick *be cautious using essential oils topically on children and if you are pregnant*
A natural alternative to using Vicks VapourRub (which contains petroleum) if you do catch a cold would be to make a rub up yourself with the following ingredients:
1/4 Coconut Oil, softened. 20 drops each of Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus.
Rosemary helps open up the airways. Peppermint opens the nasal passageway. Eucalyptus has antiseptic, antiviral and decongestant properties. Mix up and store in a sterilized jar at room temperature for up to a year.
Take natural alternatives, such as herbs, that will help get you over illnesses quicker *Please consult WebMD when using herbs medicinally to see if there are any side effects that may affect you*
The following natural cold remedies can help you to beat colds more quickly, and reduce the severity of symptoms:
- Echinacea. A traditional herbal cold remedy, can reduce both the severity and the duration of colds. As soon as I start feeling like I am coming down with something I start taking Echinacea supplements and I usually by-pass the cold or reduce its severity. You could try it in a tea or this homemade tincture and throat spray.
- Fresh ginger root. Buy ginger fresh (organic is preferred), and cut a piece about an inch and a half long. Either chop that piece very finely or grate it. Put the finely minced ginger into a tea strainer, and put the tea strainer in a cup. Pour fresh boiling water into the cup. Let the tea sit for five minutes. Remove the tea strainer, and squeeze the ginger with a spoon to get a bit more of the ginger juice into the cup. Flavor with a spoonful of honey and sip. The anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger root will help to relieve a sore throat quickly, and they also kill rhinoviruses, which cause colds in the first place.
- Elderberry/Elderflower. Studies have shown that elderberry syrup and extracts can reduce flu symptoms and duration, as compared to a placebo. So try making a tea from the flowers or this homemade Elderberry Cold & Flu syrup.
- Garlic. With antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal benefits, garlic is the Swiss Army Knife of garden remedies, so it’s not surprising that research has shown that garlic supplements can prevent a cold.
- Sage. It is a powerful anti-microbial and one of the most useful and easy-to-grow medicinal herbs in the world. As far as natural remedies for cold and flu symptoms go, if you’re prone to sore throats then sage is definitely the herb for you. So try whipping up a batch of this sage honey for coughs and sore throats!
You still need to exercise!
It’s vital to keep your workout regimen up during winter, with a recent study showing that a moderate level of regular exercise has a long-term cumulative effect on immune response. Lead researcher Professor David Nieman from Appalachian State University in the US reported that study participants who went for a brisk walk several times a week reduced the number of sick days they took by about 40 per cent. “Regular aerobic exercise, five or more days a week for more than 20 minutes a day, rises above all other lifestyle factors in lowering sick days during the winter cold season,” Professor Nieman says.
Keep smiling sunshine
Continue being a social butterfly
Socialising helps strengthen your immune system by keeping you active and reducing your stress levels, so avoid the temptation to rug up on the couch all winter. Invite friends over for dinner or host a games night, visit local museums and art galleries, wrap up warm and go for a walk in the park with your family or plan a cinema date with your partner.
Get a good nights sleep
Lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to catching colds. A study from Brazil found lack of sleep can result in a substantial decrease in the white blood cells that help to fight infection in the body.
See the light
Get some sun early in the morning. Research shows that exposure to bright light in the early morning can be a powerful and effective treatment for seasonal depression. When skin is exposed to sunshine, your body increases its production of serotonin, a chemical that regulates mood. Sleep with your blinds open to wake up to natural light. And since there’s less sunlight in the winter, consider investing in a light therapy box that mimics the spectrum of light the sun produces. Turn it on for 30 minutes while you sip your morning coffee to start your morning off on a positive note.
I hope my fellow southern hemisperians all stay hydrated, healthy and happy this winter. Have I missed one of your favourite winter wellness tips? Leave yours in the comments below!