By Bridie Woodward
Why do we look and feel so much healthier in the summer ? That summer glow and bounce comes from healthy lifestyle habits that are easy to form in the summertime and all too easy to lose once the temperature starts to drop! We’ve put together our top tips to help you maintain and adapt healthy routines right through the hibernation months.
Maintain your Vitamin D supply
During the summer time, we spend lots of time outdoors meaning we get plenty of the “sunshine vitamin.” Our bodies make vitamin D from sunlight which is said to affect our energy levels and mood as well as help boost immunity.
In addition to emotional and physical benefits, vitamin D also plays an integral role in maintaining healthy hair and bright skin. Contributing to both skin protection by strengthening the epidermal barrier and rejuvenation by enhancing cell growth and repair, resulting in natural glowing skin. What’s more, it helps to optimize the skin's immune system and eliminate free radicals that can cause premature aging.
When the days are shorter and sunlight is reduced, we can further supplement levels by including vitamin D rich foods in our diets such as plant oils and fats, organic raw dairy, fish and fish oil, leafy greens and mushrooms.
- Keep spending regular time outdoors even in the colder months. Dependent on your skin type a few minutes in the early morning or late afternoon sun should maintain your vitamin D levels sufficiently.
- Mushrooms are widely available in the fall and winter and provide a rich source of vitamin D2. A series of studies by mycelium expert Paul Stamets showed that mushrooms multiply their available levels after being sunlight, due to high levels of ergosterol - a compound that converts to vitamin D when exposed to UV rays. Try giving your shrooms a sunbath on the window ledge before you cook them to maximize your vitamin D intake!
Make time for nature
Continuing to spend time outdoors during the winter is not only helpful in terms of maintaining your vitamin D intake, but choosing to immerse yourself in natural surroundings can have numerous additional benefits. In the 1980s the Japanese government commissioned extensive scientific research into ‘forest bathing’ or shinrin-yoku. The study found that time in a natural environment could reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels and improve concentration and memory. Their findings went beyond correlations between fresh air, exercise and wellbeing and showed that the chemicals released by trees, created an antimicrobial effect and could strengthen the immune system.
- Making space for regular walks in natural environments is beneficial both physically and emotionally. Bundle up for regular winter hikes, try snowshoeing or cross country skiing and treat yourself to a warming hot cocoa or golden latte as your reward.
- Bring nature inside! An indoor essential oil diffuser with pine/conifer oils can help keep the air clean and prevent airborne microbes from thriving (limiting your exposure to winter coughs and colds.)
Adjust your skin care to a seasonally appropriate routine
For many of us, summer brings the promise of clear skin. The humidity softens skin and encourages moisture retention meaning our summer skincare routine can be simplified. Winter brings harsher conditions that strip skin of its natural moisture, meaning we need to invest a little more TLC.
The colder months can provide the perfect opportunity to take advantage of quieter times, tune into your body and skin and adjust your self care rituals accordingly!
- In the winter when skin craves a little bit of extra moisture to avoid dehydration, reach for more nourishing and hydrating products. To get glowing skin work with both a lighter weight oil such as our antioxidant rich rose serum and a heavier regenerative night balm to maintain healthy skin barrier function. Keep dull skin at bay with a hydrating toner and exfoliate when your skin feels like it needs it with our nutrient-rich hibiscus mud. Need help deciding on the right products for you? Take our skincare quiz
- Setting up a humidifier in the spaces where you live the most can help keep at bay the dryness that central heating and alternating temperatures can cause.
During the summer we tend to feel more thirsty due to the heat, so our water intake naturally increases meaning better internal hydration which reflects in the look and feel of the skin.
- As the weather cools down instead of iced water, opt for warm or hot water to keep your skin hydrated, flush out toxins and improve overall circulation. A study published in the European journal of pharmaceutical and medical research detailed the multiple benefits of sipping warm water throughout the day. Water cleanses the digestive tract and flushes out toxins and interestingly warm water significantly helps speed this process up. Add your favorite warming herbal tea or a squeeze of lemon for an additional vitamin and nutrient boost!
Adjust healthy eating habits to suit the season
In the summer months we gravitate towards fresh, raw, whole foods that are nutrient dense and hydrating. Additionally, seasonal local produce is more readily available in the summer, meaning we are inspired by ingredients to create healthy eating habits.
As the temperatures drop and the evenings get darker it’s easy to fall into making choices based on convenience, and let’s face it, often some much needed comfort from the cold!
- Opt for hearty options that will sustain your appetite in the cold weather. Veggie stews and soups can be quick and cost effective to prepare and big batches can be made and frozen so that they are easy to fix on the go.
- On the East Coast local farm produce is usually available through to the early months of the year. If available in your area, joining a CSA farm share for the fall and winter season is a great way to support independent farmers and be closer to the process of the food you consume.
- Drying flowers that are commonly found in the spring and summer such as chamomile, rose, lavender and herbs such as lemon balm, rosemary and means you will have your own apothecary to access right through the fall and winter.
- Keep your pantry stocked all year round with your favorite summer flavors by canning corn, beans, tomatoes, apricots, cherries, berries and more!