Winter Wellness Tips for Your Healthiest Self

As the seasons change so do our health needs and during the winter we all need a little extra care. Below are some of my top tips to get you started.

1.Take Extra Care of Your Skin 

Winter can be a really rough time for our skin. Between time spent in the cold, dry winter air outside and then into the moisture sucking indoor heating systems, your winter skin is just screaming for some hydration. The result: dry, itchy, scaly and parched skin that doesn’t look or feel too great. You can give your skin an infusion of moisture and a protective barrier from the elements by regularly using an intensive moisturiser or body balm that is meant to help repair skin. These creams are usually thicker and denser than what you would apply in summer.

My absolute favourite body cream is Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm and the Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm is such amazing for hydrating and softening hands. My hands are like a construction workers from years of dumbbell work so believe me I know a good moisturiser! I get my Aesop fix from Samui Cork @samuicork.

2.Take A Soothing Detox Bath

While science has yet to prove all the healing wonders of a hot bath, the anecdotal evidence alone is enough to get the water running. Even if you’re more of a shower person, taking a bath once in a while can help improve your health in winter. Not only can it help to reduce the pain and inflammation of stiff winter muscles, but it can also help to improve circulation, reduce stress and tension, and elevate your body temperature which can help your body fight off infections and viruses.

All you need is a 15-minute soak in a warm bath. I love enhancing my bath water with essential oils and natural bath oils. They add a beautiful aroma and will keep skin from drying out. But never add essential oils directly to the water. Without a carrier oil, they can immediately adhere to your skin and sensitive areas which can be quite unpleasant if you know what I mean.

3. Be Kind To Your Lips

Cracked, dry and chapped lips in winter are what a bug bite is in summer. It’s annoying, but it’s just going to happen. To keep lips smooth and supple, apply a natural lip balm regularly.

Nuxe Reve De Miel is a classic amongst skin care enthusiasts. It's super rich and thick texture works amazingly when applied before bed. Slightly pricier than some, a little goes a long way, and trust me once you've tried this you'll be hooked.  Another great classic and one that I use is Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. Personally, I can't live without 8 Hour Cream. A multi-purpose balm that can be used anywhere it's fantastic on the lips. Greasy but lovely it really feels like a barrier to the outside world, so especially great applied before heading out in the cold.

One Last Lip tip If your lips are in need of some real TLC or you just need them to be ultra prepped before applying a matte lippy try a lip scrub first. You can use an old toothbrush but be gentle, it works so well. 

4. Make Sure To Get Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble vitamin beneficial for our immune system and works with calcium and Vitamin K to maintain healthy bones. But often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” it’s also the only vitamin that requires actual sunlight to manufacture. That means when sunlight is scarce in winter, our ability to make vitamin D decreases. The rest must come from our diet or supplements. 

But in the winter as we spend most of our time indoors and have less sunlight available during the day it can be difficult to get all the vitamin D we need. Plus most of us are so bundled up that our skin is never even exposed to daylight. But vitamin D is not naturally found in great quantities in most foods. While some foods are considered good sources of vitamin D including salmon, shrimp, oysters, tuna, egg yolks, milk, and mushrooms, an easy way to make sure you’re getting all the Vitamin D you need is in a supplement.

5. You Still Need Sunblock

If you’ve ever hit the slopes on a sunny winter day you know that winter sunburn is an actual thing. So if you are spending any time outdoors or near windows keep skin protected from sun damage and continue to wear sunblock through the winter months. If you wear a foundation, BB cream, CC cream or tinted moisturizer check the label to see if SPF protection is included. If not, be sure to find a sunblock product that agrees with your skin and won’t dry you out. Don’t forget to apply sunblock to your hands which may be exposed during times outdoors or while driving.

6. Stay Hydrated

We can often forget that we need as much water in winter as in the warmer months. If drinking water feels less comfortable during winter, try warm water with a dash of lemon or an herbal tea. Caffeine-containing drinks like coffee, energy drinks, green tea, black tea, and soft drinks don’t count towards "drinking your water" and can actually promote dehydration.

7. Support Your Immune System With Nutrition

In winter it’s so important we eat lots of nutrient-dense foods including dark leafy greens, and fresh fruits and veggies. Not only can they help you curb those cravings for sweets, but they can also strengthen your body’s defenses and help you fight off those nasty winter bugs. If the cold weather makes eating salads and greens less appealing I totally get you. Try making a green smoothie in the morning with kale or spinach, cucumber, apple, lemon, and ginger.

And don’t forget your omega-3’s! Found mostly in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to not only reduce inflammation, but to also promote healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and liver function. It has also been shown to be an effective aid for those who suffer from depression which can be common in winter. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help give your skin a boost of hydration which can help protect against winter dryness.

8. Zinc To The Rescue

During the winter there’s always a cold or some other bug going around. And we all know that feeling just before we’re about to get sick. If you feel something coming on, taking zinc may help to shorten the length of a cold and the severity of those icky symptoms. And some promising studies have shown that zinc lozenges may be one of the most beneficial ways to get a dose of zinc on the fly.

Prevention is always the best medicine so try eating a diet rich in zinc-containing foods such as chicken legs and thighs, beef, oatmeal, yogurt, wild rice, tofu, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and mushrooms. 

9. Get Moving And Stay Active 

When it’s cold outside and it’s basically dark by 4:00 pm, to say I’m motivated to work out all of the time would be a lie. Sometimes I’d much rather be buried under a weighted blanket on the couch with a movie. But to stay healthy in the winter we need to get moving. Not only can exercise help release endorphins that can help boost our mood and beat the winter blues, but exercise can also boost our immune system to ward off winter colds and flu.

Try to fit in some type of exercise at least three times per week. Staying motivated with exercise for me always comes down to doing something I enjoy. Some fun winter activities like a winter walk or hike can be a lovely way to get that blood pumping while getting some time outdoors.

Lesley x x