As a second national lockdown is looming over in United Kingdom for the rest of 2020, it’s easy to feel frustrated, despondent and unmotivated. I refuse to give in and I encourage you to not let the restrictions take over your own personal power too. We may not be able to control what’s happening out there but we can control what’s happening in our mind and in our intention for optimising our health so we enter 2021 strong.
In this blog, I wanted to share some of my favourite tips for healthy skin, healthy mind and overall optimal health.
1. Start your day with lemon water instead of caffeine (make sure you make it with luke warm water as hot water can break down Vitamin C). Lemon water helps to kick start the liver detoxification process which is important for healthy hormones. Caffeine is dehydrating to the skin and also increases cortisol which increases inflammation. Inflammation is a major contributing factor to acne, pigmentation, rosacea and premature ageing.
2. Swap coffee to matcha. Coffee is a stimulate and may cause more harm if you are highly sensitive to them. While many women rely on a strong drink as an energy booster or mood changer, if you struggle with low energy, problems with skin or your skin, it’s time to rethink your caffeine intake.
The caffeine content in matcha tea may promote focused energy without the jitters. With matcha you’re actually drinking the entire green tea leaf, not just the tea water – one of many reasons matcha tea is much more nutrient-dense than standard green tea. Matcha tea is very high in antioxidants, amino acids, and chlorophyll, which is responsible for its distinct bright green colour. L-theanine is the most prevalent amino acid; it increases serotonin, dopamine, and GABA and is known to have a calming effect on the mind and body. (This is likely why monks historically sipped matcha tea.)
3. Floss twice a day. It fosters longevity—independent of brushing one’s teeth. If you don’t floss, your risk of mortality is 30 percent higher and if you see the dentist only once per year, you raise mortality by 30 to 50 percent. Flossing can prevent periodontal disease after as little as one month of regular use.
4. Move your body every day – whether that be yoga, dancing, stretching, pilates or HIIT (variety is best). Movement increases circulation and oxygenation to the brain, skin and body. It also boost endorphins and dopamine, feel good hormones. I love yoga teachers such as “The Dancing Warrior” and “Claire Eli”
5. Get outside – walk in nature, cycle or run. Take deep breaths in fresh open air. Enjoy as much sunshine as possible e.g. have lunch in your garden. Being in nature has been scientifically shown to reduce anxiety, inflammation and increase immunity. Run in short burst, rather than long distance which increases wear and tear of tissues and increases gravitational descent of the face (i.e. face going south quicker).
6. Take all your immune boosting and anti-inflammatory supplements e.g. probiotic, omega 3, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc.
7. Meditate – with practice, it has been shown to reduce sympathetic “fight & flight” response, increasing parasympathetic “rest & repair” response. It helps to quieten the easily distracted, fearful, anxious and selfish monkey brain of ours and centres us to our heart, body and wiser higher conscious self. I love the app “Calm” and “The Tapping Solution” which provides guided meditation for different scenarios and different time line.
8. Meal prep and batch cook healthy anti-inflammatory foods. As the weather is colder, choose hearty soups, stews and vegetable bakes which you can make in advance so the day doesn’t become too monotonous with to much cooking (this is for someone like me who doesn’t like to cook). If cooking makes you happy and relaxed, do it…. your skin and hormones will thank you for it.
9. Prepare healthy snacks so it’s easy to stay healthy when you get bored at home e.g. cut vegetables with humus, nuts and fresh fruits (no dried fruit which is high in sugar).
10. Take 3 deep breaths before you eat – this will calm the mind and slow your body down ready for digestion. Better digestion equates to better absorption of nutrients which is direct messages to our DNA.
11. Read inspiring and encouraging books of hope, courage and possibilities. Read books to learn a new skill. Read books to be better at life. By encouraging your brain to learn something new, it stays young as new neural activity gets laid down and strengthen.
12. Have a water bottle by your side so you have a goal how much water you want to drink each day and how much you actually drink. Flavour it with lemon, lime, cucumbers or pomegranate if you wish.
13. Journal – Write 3 things of what you’re grateful for each day. Gratitude puts things in perspective and helps us have a better attitude starting and finishing the day.
14. Sleep – between 7-9 hours of quality sleep. It’s healthier to sleep early and wake up early, then to force your body to stay up late. During sleep, your body releases growth hormone which is responsible for cellular repair and regeneration. Studies show a link between weight gain, lack of sleep and insulin resistance. Sleep debt leads to dietary indiscretion and weight gain in women because we’re too tired to make wise food choices. It also helps the brain stay healthy as the glympatic (lymphatic drainage in the brain) works extra hard at night and gives your brain a good shampoo-ing (i.e. detoxing). Sleep is often overlooked and is one of the most important steps to clear, calm and youthful skin.
15. Cut down or cut out your alcohol intake. We’ve seen how alcohol consumption have risen since the last lockdown. It dehydrates the skin, increases stress hormone cortisol, throws our hormones out of balance and affects our sleep. If you choose a less toxic alcoholic drink, limit to a maximum of 3 servings per week (never on an empty stomach). Personally I don’t drink because even with 1 serving, my sleep is affected, I crave junk food and I get very sluggish the next few days.
Try swapping for organic red wine or kombucha tea. No cocktails due to it’s high sugar content and beers due to its gluten and high carb content.
16. Switch off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime to protect your natural melatonin production which regulates restful sleep.
17. Connect with favourite friends and family. To be human is to connect. We are not meant for isolation so get on Facetime, a Zoom meet up or the traditional phone call to catch up with friends and family. Focus on positive things happening in life and ask how you can help.
18. Laugh – If you’re watching movies/ TV shows, choose something that will make you laugh out loud and get belly cramps. Laughter is the best medicine as they say.
19. Get consistent with a healing skin care routine and use a hydrating mask 2-3 times a week. If you need help with your skin, recommendations to good skin care products or planning home skin treatments, I can help.
20. Indulge a little – Give yourself an relaxing scalp massage when you’re in the shower, take long baths, apply a hair mask, do your own nails, gives yourself a body massage with your favourite oil (and I mean really kneading, rolling and massaging rather slap dash after a shower). Self care is so important during this time and every little extra love we give ourselves will boost our overall wellbeing. Not to mention, when you take care for your skin, your hormones and your body, your cells will return in kind and work with you (rather than against you) towards the common goal of repairing, recharging and regenerating.
EXTRA TIPS FOR SUCCESS
1. Write a schedule of your ideal healthy routine. Don’t leave it to chance or distractions. Plan it so you have a higher chance of succeeding in it.
2. If you need help, find a like-minded friend or family member to stay accountable.
3. Schedule time for social media (whether personal or business). It’s SO EASY to get sucked in!
4. Find extra support if you need it e.g. I help my patients with their skin, hormones and anti-ageing goals. I offer online consultations and you can get in touch to find out more
I hope you find this blog useful. Remember we have 2 more months before the end of 2020. You can still turn it around, ensuring you enter 2021 strong. Focus on your health so you remain calm, productive and hopeful (and as a bonus your skin stays clear, resilient and youthful).
Tell me the 1 thing you’ll be using this time to better your skin health?
To your best self,