Winter is fast approaching us and whilst that means hot chocolate, cosy blankets in front of the fireplace and a hell of a lot of Netflix and chilling, it also means nasty colds and sluggish immune systems. Luckily, there are a few things we can do beforehand to give our immune system the boost it needs to see us through the bleak months. Before winter fully hits is the best time to gear our bodies up and a detox should also be done during and after winter to keep our immune system kickstarted. Here are a few tips to prepare yourself, and your skin, for winter:
1. SWITCH FROM LOTION TO CREAM
When you switch your seasonal wardrobes, it's a good idea to do the same with your skin creams. Use creams and butters, which are typically more moisturizing, instead of lotions, which don't provide as strong an oily barrier to reduce water loss in the skin. Thicker formulas help keep skin nourished through harsher heating and rubbing fabrics. Our body butters contain glycerin as well which draws moisture out from the surrounding air and locks it in the skin for extra hydration as well as being rich in vitamin E which is a powerhouse for repairing the skin.
2. TAKE SHORTER SHOWERS
Ironically, the very things that make us feel good such as long, hot showers, can leave our skin crying out for moisture over the longer-term. Opt for shorter, more lukewarm showers and pat your skin dry afterward, following up quickly with a layer of moisturizer from head to toe before letting your skin get too dry to lock in the moisture. Make sure to use a cleanser that has moisturising properties as well, such as our shea butter soaps. To make showers more therapeutic, we’ve got essential oil shower steamers that bring a variety of benefits to your lungs, nervous system and mood by dissolving with the water on the shower floor and creating a sauna experience for your morning or bedtime routine!
3. CUT OUT STRESSORS
As bleak as it may seem, winter brings a bevy of holidays that can be fun to celebrate but are harsh on the skin. Alcohol, rich foods, not sleeping enough and overindulgence of sweet treats all wreak havoc on your skin by depleting its nutrients and stressing it out, particularly your face which is more sensitive. Cutting back on simple sugars and carbohydrates in anticipation is a useful measure to avoid breakouts when you do indulge (it is the Christmas season after all!). It's best to eliminate alcohol, coffee, and wheat-containing products for 7 days too.
If possible, plan to purchase only organic foods during this period — you don’t want to add environmental chemicals to your body whilst you are trying to remove them!
4. PROTECT YOURSELF
Most people wait until temperatures turn frigid before donning gloves, but it is recommended to wear them every day until spring. That's because even minor skin chapping on the hands can turn into fissures that become infected. The same is true for lips, which should always be covered with lip balm when venturing outdoors. As our lip balms are all natural you won't be adding any extra harmful chemicals to your skin. Of course, our bodies must also be adequately wrapped up too! When we get cold our immune system suffers, making us more susceptible to catching bugs.
If you have a fireplace, use it. Gas or wood—there's something very nurturing about relaxing around the fire beyond just the temperature it generates and contributes to the essential Danish 'Hygge' which is frequently cited as being the secret to why they are always voted the happiest country in the world.
5. STAY HYDRATED
Just because it's not hot doesn't mean we don't need to stay hydrated. Make sure to keep drinking 8 to 10 large glasses of water a day and start the day with hot water and lemon, or a daily maximum of 1 cup of green tea with lemon to alkalize your stomach and get it ready for the day. Make your liquid meal a warm soup instead of a cold smoothie or juice, especially at night to maintain body heat. Herbal teas are great during this period because they warm you up whilst detoxing your body, Dandelion Root is especially good for this.
6. PAMPER YOURSELF
During the detox, it is optimal to get at least one massage and do a sauna at least twice to help remove any buildup. If this is not possible, plan to at least do yoga or some form of light exercise daily for 45 minutes, and take a weekly detox bath with a mineral soak, or make one yourself!
7. SHOCK YOURSELF
Shocking the system with a short burst of cold activates detoxification. You can alternate between hot and cold water in the shower or just finish with one final rinse of cold water, which will also make your hair shinier! Or do like the Scandinavians do and take a dip in a plunge pool.
8. SCRUB UP
Dry skin brushing helps stimulate your lymphatic system, which is responsible for ridding the body of toxins. Skin brushing improves the surface circulation on the skin and keeps the pores of the skin open, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, resulting in an improved ability to combat bacteria, plus helping your skin to look and feel healthier and more resilient! Skin brushing also strengthens the immune system and helps aid the digestion system, both of which are greatly involved in the detoxification process. If you want to perform lymph drainage on your face as well we have a cooling Jade Facial Roller which is also an excellent de-puffer.
Meditation has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system by lowering our stress levels and therefore cortisol levels, which weaken the immune system. It also stimulates immune system brain-function regions. Mindfulness meditation has shown increases in electrical activity in the prefrontal cortex, the right anterior insula, and right hippocampus, all parts that control positive emotions, awareness, and anxiety. These are also the areas of the brain that act as a command center for your immune system. When stimulated, they make the immune system function more effectively. It also increases your antibodies. A recent study confirmed that, after being given weekly meditation training for 8 weeks, 48 biotech workers had significantly higher levels of antibodies than the control group as well as higher levels than before the study.
10. TAKE A VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENT
The majority of the population is vitamin D deficient in the winter months and it is government recommended to take a vitamin D supplement. Sunlight is obviously the greatest source of Vitamin D so try and go outdoors as much as possible as well during daylight hours or use a light lamp alarm if necessary, which will also help align your circadian rhythm- better sleep means a stronger you!
All of this coupled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and you'll be able to make it through winter just fine. Check out our article on Super Superfoods for more ideas. Don't forget to share with friends and family who frequently get sick in winter!