We have always wanted to encourage the ceremony of self-care. It’s the foundation of why we created Moss of the Isles. Conscious wellbeing is important to us throughout the year, but especially during long, Winter evenings when the ceremony of self-care itself can become our own, personal sunlight.
For us, this is a pretty exciting time of the year. We love the fun of Halloween and the build-up to Christmas. Despite the chilly weather, the festive season always feels warm. The change in seasonal foods, finding your favourite sweaters, putting logs on the fire for the first time; Autumn and Winter bring with them a more defined feeling of home – a feeling of nurture,
Personal wellness ebbs and flows like rivers and streams. It is not one thing all the time. We change and grow, and our wellness needs walk alongside us. Spring feels hopeful, and summer is filled with activity. But Autumn and Winter, quite naturally, settle us and change how we take care of ourselves. When the darker days makes us feel like we need to go into hibernation, our wellness needs become more enveloped in self-nurture.
Taking care of our skin during the Autumn and Winter months is important, but taking care of ourselves on a more holistic level during this time is equally essential. Days grow longer and darker, and we must pay attention to how we emotionally and spiritually respond to the change of light and the change of life. Additionally, this is cold and flu season, so making sure we support and boost our immune system becomes imperative too.
Winter can be a tough one to tackle, especially if you’re a summer lover. Winter blues are very real and can be hard to navigate our way through or shift entirely. But the thing with winter is that is comes around every year, so it’s better to embrace the changes and understand how best to combat them.
Sunshine might be rare during these months, but there are plenty of things we can do to make sure our own light does not dim this winter:
Boost your body’s immune system with the energy and nutrients - everything it needs to fight off colds, flu and fatigue
B vitamins are essential for keeping our energy levels high, as they support our normal energy-yielding metabolism. When that’s running nice and smoothly, we feel less tiredness and fatigue. B vitamins also help our body form red blood cells and helps cell division. Try using a B-Complex (B3, B1 and B12) that will take care of everything from tiredness to maintaining a healthy phycological function.
Try natural serotonin boosters like natural 5-HTP. 5-HTP is made by the body from the amino acid tryptophan, which is transformed into serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Serotonin can also be boosted by foods like bananas, sunflower seeds, asparagus and spinach. Find winter ecipes that work boosting foods into your diet. Alternatively, Vitamin D is an incredible mood booster.
When it comes to balancing mood and maintaining high energy levels, there’s no more important mineral in our body than iron. Iron reduces feelings of tiredness and helps our brain function normally. I’m a vegetarian, so I look to find my iron in fruits, nuts and vegetables like Beets, Almonds, Spinach, pine nuts and grapes, but there are also plenty of iron-rich meats for the carnivores among us.
Adjust your skincare routine to make sure your skin isn’t as dull as the days. Cold weather requires changes in how you treat your skin, and it’s also great to include self-care ceremonies if you’re mood and energy levels are suffering.
Our skin needs all the moisture it can get during the winter months, so we recommend putting lotions to one side and moving over to creams and oils which are more likely to seal in moisture and moisturizing ingredients. In winter, your skin needs a moisture barrier, so serums under moisturizers work well at keeping your skin hydrated and healthy.
Dry body brushing is a wonderful way to exfoliate dry, winter skin and to increase blood circulation – although the quiet, focused ritual of body brushing might be the best thing about it. Bringing self-care rituals like dry body brushing into your winter routine creates a sense of self-celebration and can increase serotonin levels.
We know a hot bath or shower can feel amazing after a long, cold day. However, too much hot water can strip oils from our skin and make it dry. In winter months, we suggest applying body oils to warm, slightly damp skin immediately after a bath or shower to maximize absorption.
Don’t be fooled by the rain clouds. Always wear your SPF.
Natural lip balms and rich hand creams are a great way to avoid dry, chapped skin. Avoid lip balms that have a base of petroleum. Your lips don’t have sebaceous glands so rely on humectants for moisture, and petroleum based lip balms will starve your lips of moisture. This is important all year round, but especially during the winter months.
Enjoy snuggling up with a blanket, and make sure you balance your mind and body with plenty of restorative sleep. Sleep is so important for a healthy lifestyle. It’s the time your body needs to recuperate and repair. During the dark, Winter months, sleep can maintain a healthy mood function and keep energy levels high and focused.
The biggest mistake we make in Winter is ignoring our body’s natural Circadian Rhythm. Even if we are tempted to stay in bed in the cold, dark mornings, it is best to get up and start the day ahead. Do not go into hibernation mode.
Maintain the same cycle of sleep that you had in the Summer months. Our bodies produce more melatonin in the Winter, so it is best to get up and open the drapes.
Keep your bedroom cool – not hot.
If you have access to a humidifier, then use it. Artificial heat not only dries out our skin, but can also dry out our nasal passages and make restorative sleep difficult to achieve. Humidifiers are also a proven way to ward off winter nasties like colds and flu viruses.
Maintain your daily exercise routine.
Don’t use Winter as an excuse to over eat. Eating heavy meals before bedtime can affect your access to deep, restorative sleep.
Try to avoid too much artificial light and light some candles to create a sense of calm and coziness. Candles play an important part in Hygee: the Danish tradition of cultivating comfort and coziness during winter darkness. In fact, the Danish word for candlelight translates to “living light” and candles are used to bring the natural world indoors when the outdoors feels so inhospitable and lifeless. Always remember to blow out your candles before bed though.
When you switch over your Summer clothes to your warmer, Winter wardrobe, use that moment to switch your self-care over too. Colder months are to be enjoyed – they are a time to relax more, connect with your family more; connect with yourself more, and a time to discover new rituals that will keep you healthy and happy.