Feeling down this winter? Here are seven tips on how to look after yourself and stay relaxed
As the seasons change and the days become shorter, make the most of the natural daylight. Plenty of daylight during the autumn/winter days ensures your body does not produce too much melatonin (a hormone which tells our body it’s time for bed). Getting outdoors for some fresh air and natural daylight can help you avoid feeling tired and sluggish. Look for little ways to get outside and move more—an evening stroll after dinner, parking further away from work and walking your dog (or a friend’s dog). If your body is really craving the sun, then there are sunlight therapies available which give you a good hit of vitamin D.
Breathing techniques are a brilliant way to help calm your body and mind. The ‘breath of life’ aids relaxation and calms anxiety: inhale slowly for 20 seconds through the nose, hold the breath in and then exhale through the nose for 20 seconds. Try this at home or join in with a local yoga group. It may take you a few goes to perfect the smooth, flowing pattern, but over time it will start to come naturally. Try this first thing in the morning to focus your mind for the day ahead or at night to unwind for a restful night’s sleep.
Nourish your body
Eat well! Aim for natural and fresh food and make sure your diet is rainbow-coloured—lots of vegetables and fruits. Cooking your own meals can be relaxing and fun and, more importantly, healthier. If you struggle for inspiration in the kitchen, you could sign up for a cookery class with a friend and may a day of it. Drinking warm lemon water when you wake up is great for flushing out unwanted toxins from the body, as well helping to fight hunger cravings. Simply squeeze half a lemon into a cup of warm water, add some honey to taste and enjoy!
Look after your skin
Use good quality skin care products and follow a routine that works for you. It doesn’t need to be fussy but you should cleanse, tone, moisturise and apply sunblock (even on a cloudy day) to the face and neck daily. Exfoliate once a week to keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay. To go that extra mile, have a professional skincare consultation which will ensure you understand your skin type and how to manage it.
Detox with body brushing
Body brushing is one of the oldest and most effective ways of detoxifying the body. It stimulates a sluggish lymphatic drainage system (releasing toxins) and improves your blood circulation. Daily body brushing can help to improve the appearance of cellulite, aid skin conditions, open up your pores, brighten dry or dull skin and reduce ingrowing hairs. In the morning, spend five minutes brushing your body all over with a natural bristle brush using circular upwards motions. Take a brisk shower and then apply a detoxing or firming cream. This will awaken the body, leaving you feeling fresh and ready for the day ahead.
Take a break
It is really crucial to listen to your body when it needs some time out to switch off. Whether it’s simply relaxing in front of the fire with a good book, joining a calming yoga class or perhaps going for a spa day with friends, keep some time free to treat yourself and relax. This will help you to clear your mind and feel ready for the challenges the winter months may bring. Life gets busy and thinking about every aspect of your well-being can seem a daunting task. Sometimes guidance from a spa therapist or fitness instructor can help you to focus on key areas of need.
Get some rest
Try to get your eight hours sleep a night! Create your own personal ritual before going to bed. Take your time and don’t rush your body to find sleep. Turn the TV off, put your mobile and laptop in another room and try not to not use your phone as an alarm! Have a calming chamomile or soothing herbal tea, read a few pages in your favourite book or soak in a warm bath with half a cup of Epsom salts. Oils such as chamomile, lavender or ylang-ylang are very soothing before bed. Too many stimulants, such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol will also affect sleeping patterns—so reduce these or cut them out wherever you can.
From Lucknam Park Spa Director, Sharon Rooney. Lucknam Park is an elegant country house providing a spa break and specialised cookery lessons. Situated in the Wiltshire countryside the spa hotel will help you relax this winter. For more information visit http://www.lucknampark.co.uk