Find out what you can do to keep your immune system intact and your skin glowing through the holiday season.
Sleigh bells ring...Your skin is glistening.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season are upon us with festive parties, fanciful feasts and gifts galore! We’re shuffling from one gathering to another and drinking in the fun and excitement of the season. It’s magical, mystical, tiresome and can be stressful on our skin.
Although many of us look forward to this time of year, the busyness of it all increases cortisol levels. (Highlighted in our Om Your Way to Healthy Skin article.) Cortisol is the hormone that regulates our metabolism, immunity function and the anti-inflammatory process. However, when this hormone is abundant due to increased stress, it can cause weight gain, a lowered immune system - hello cold and flu - and skin flare-ups such as rosacea, acne, eczema and dermatitis.
Of course, this is the time of year when we want our skin to glow as bright as twinkling lights, but stress, late nights, too much alcohol and sweet treats may cause glycation, making one more prone to breakouts and dull skin.
So, how can we remain energized and just enjoy the holidays? Here, we have some simple tips to help you maintain your cool and stay chill while taking in the festivities.
Wash your face
You’re typically religious with your skincare routine, but busy days and nights with work, kids, and festivities can leave you feeling exhausted. So it might be tempting to skip washing your face and crawl straight into bed. However, ignoring that cleanse before bed can be the culprit of the pimple that pops up the next day.
Sleeping with makeup or environmental build-up from the day can clog pores and cause skin irritation. Keep eau micellaire water and eco tao cleansing wipes handy for those nights when you’re too tired for the whole routine. (Make a pass on those prepackaged cleansing wipes, as they can strip the barrier.)
Always remember to moisturize!
OM...Meditation and mindfulness.
Meditation and mindfulness can play a prominent role in regulating the nervous system and keeping cortisol levels down. Both practices can help you return to the moment and focus on what you can control. So enjoy a mini escape from that overwhelming list of things to do.
Meditation helps us quiet the outside world and get centred, and you only need a few minutes. Simply find a quiet spot, a room, a place outside, or even in your car. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders off, just bring your focus back to the breath. Imagine a white light going up and down your spine with each breath. Imagine a warmth or cool breeze coming over you as your breath rises and falls. Slowly open your eyes and ease back into your day. You’ll be amazed at what a five-minute meditation can do!
Combining meditation with mindfulness can add an extra layer of calm. Mindfulness cultivates one's awareness of the present moment, whether it be a feeling, the taste and texture of your food, or memory that pops into your mind.
Focus on what is happening in the present moment without judgement or criticism. Instead, be kind and curious about what comes up for you. The idea is to allow the thoughts to come into your awareness and let them go, carrying your worries away.
Aromatherapy can take us to another place and time with fragrant memories.
Imagine that you’re walking down the street, and suddenly the sweet smell of cinnamon buns catches your nose, and it takes you down memory lane and right back into Grandmas’s kitchen. Your olfactory sense of smell has been triggered and has stimulated the emotion and memory part of your brain.
Naturopaths and holistic practitioners often prescribe aromatherapy with essential oils for its health benefits of easing depression, anxiety and improving sleep and alertness. Although they are of plant-based origin, essential oils should be used with caution and should never be applied directly to the skin, which can cause burning and allergic reactions. Due to their intense properties, essential oils should also be avoided by children, pets, or those pregnant or breastfeeding.
Some ways that you can incorporate aromatherapy are adding a few drops of essential oil into your bathwater, steeping a cup of your favourite tea, burning some incense or lighting a scented candle. You can even add some baking to the list; vanilla is commonly used in cookies, cakes, and sweet treats and ranks high on the list of calming scents.
Massage and Reflexology
Ahhhhhhh! Deep relaxation. Those rock-hard muscles may be causing headaches, backaches, and sleepless nights. So one might think that getting deep into those muscles and breaking up the knots will provide relief. But, unfortunately, deep tissue massages aren’t always the key to relaxation, as the amount of pressure required breaks down adhesions, delivers blood to the tissue to release toxins, and increases delayed soreness.
Swedish massage uses lighter pressure and softer techniques to help you relax. Afterwards, you may feel lighter and dreamy as the method increases circulation and those feel-good hormones.
Although a massage sounds like a good idea, fitting one into the packed schedule might be challenging. You can, however, provide yourself with some quick fix self-massage.
Do you ever wonder why a foot or hand massage can be so relaxing and bring relief to stress and body pain? That’s because all of our pressure points connect to our organs and originate in our feet and hands. So massaging trigger points can bring immediate relief and heal the body.
It’s easy to learn some of the techniques for self-treatment. For example, charts for reflexology can easily be found online and show the correspondence to those tender areas and how they affect tension within the body. Then, you can simply apply a lotion, oil, or cream to give yourself a hand and foot massage with a bit of extra attention on sore points.
Your tootsies will thank you!
Move your body!
Sing, dance, or hum along. Moving your body, whether it be dancing, yoga, walking or going to the gym, will help release stress and increase up-regulation of your nervous system if you’re feeling a little low or stagnant.
Singing helps open up the vocal cords, relax the jaw, and stimulate the vagus nerve, the longest nerve in your body that links your brain to your major organs and is responsible for your digestive system. We all know that a happy gut leads to healthy skin glowing from the inside out.
Start and end your day with gratitude.
One of the best remedies for glowing skin, a healthy immune system and lowered stress is gratitude. Studies have proven that starting and ending your day with gratitude can improve your mood and a positive mindset. When you feel good inside, it shows on the outside.
Gratitude is something that we can access at any time. Simply stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, look around you, and find three things you can be grateful for. Then, take it a step further and ask yourself why you’re thankful for these things and allow that feeling to grow within. One good thought perpetuates another.
Most importantly, find joy in the little things. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the holidays in moderation. Get your rest, drink plenty of water and have fun! That’s what the season is all about. The more relaxed and happy you are, the more your skin will emit that radiant glow.
Need a little help shopping for gifts for loved ones AND yourself? Visit us at Loshen & Crem to indulge in eco tao wipes, bath kits for a relaxing soak, soothing lotions, fragrant candles, delicious teas and more!
Wishing you Happy Holidays and Healthy Skin,
Your team Loshen & Crem!