Winter Care (hot chocolate not included)

Now when it’s the middle of summer people love to romanticise winter.

“Oh won’t it be lovely when we can snuggle up on the sofa with a hot chocolate?”

“Maybe it will snow! We can have a snowball fight and then go inside for hot chocolate.”

“We can wrap up and go for a long winter walk with a flask of hot chocolate.”

Seriously, people are obsessed with hot chocolate. How many people actually drink it? No one ever goes,

“Won’t it be great when it’s freezing and pissing down with rain and we’re waiting for half an hour at the train station?”

“It’ll be so lovely that when we get up for work it’ll still be pitch black outside?”

“I’m so looking forward to my skin and lips getting really dry and cracking from the cold.”

I mean this cat ain't having a good time

I mean this cat ain’t having a good time

And yet these things are a big part of winter. They’re the annoyances, and although I can’t make it stop raining, or make your commute to work less dark and gloomy, I can help with a few winter problems, so read on.

Make your lips beautiful

lips

Go against years of recommendation and try not to use Vaseline for your lip care. It contains petroleum, which does a few things like slow cellular regeneration, which can damage collagen and the elasticity of your lips. It also forms a seal over the lips instead of treating the problem areas, and with continued use actually dries out your lips even more. So Vaseline…not great.

For something a little healthier try coconut oil, or cocoa butter, or a natural lip balm from a brand like Burts Bees or Hurraw.

Treat your sad skin

I love stock images. Who in the world puts on moisturiser like that?

I love stock images. Who in the world puts on moisturiser like that?

We’re told time and time again to moisturise our skin, but it’s easy to forget to lather it on in the mornings, and it can take so long for it to sink into the skin. For something that’s cheap, effective and personal, try making your own body oil.

All you need is a spray bottle, sweet almond oil and an essential oil of your choice (lavender is great because it’s so calming if you want to use this before you go to bed). Just add the almond oil and a few drops of the essential oil to the spray bottle and spritz on whenever your skin if feeling dry and gross.

Go natural with fabrics

cotton

Jumpers are great aren’t they? Except the crappy ones with horrible materials. Those ones suck. Polyester is probably the worst material you can wear, and this is irritating because so many clothes are made out of it. I’m not saying don’t buy any clothes made from it (because hey, no one can afford to be picky with fabrics all the time) but when it comes to your jumpers, try to pick ones made from cotton. It’s so much gentler on your skin, will keep you cosy, and also let your skin breathe.

As a plus, you also won’t have crazy static hair when your tug off your jumper. Just saying.

Mental health is important

serotonin

To be totally unscientific, serotonin is the happy/stabilising drug that your body produces. Some people have less of it and need to take medication to boost it, and some people have more of it. One thing that is universal though is that production of it increases when you’re out and about in the sunshine. So when it’s sunny, you feel good, when it’s grey you don’t. See where I’m going here?

Winter isn’t great for your serotonin production, and so you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself to counter balance all the inner craziness.

It’s hard to boost serotonin without supplements, but you can increase your tryptophan levels, which synthesises serotonin. Still with me? They’re foods with tryptophan in, but you need to eat them with carbs in order to increase your levels of insulin, which then helps with the absorption of amino acids.

Yeah, it’s kind of a confusing mess, but basically just remember that when you eat foods rich in tryptophan (like salmon, eggs, nuts, tofu and cheese) have it with a plate of chips or in a sandwich as well.

Smells are good

Aromatherapy

This is the worst sub-heading I’ve ever written, but it amused me so I’m keeping it. There’s a tonne of articles in the natural beauty world that talk about how great aromatherapy is. They hype it up like crazy, and although it’s not a miracle cure, scents are useful when it comes to your mood.

There are loads of ways to benefits from aromatherapy. You can use essential oils in the bath, in your beauty products, use them in diffusers, light incense, the list goes on. Different scents have different benefits, though, so choose the right ones.

If you’re depressed– Lemon, jasmine, sandalwood, rose, ylang-ylang

If you’re stressed– Vanilla, Lavender, Lemongrass, Sweet marjoram

If you can’t concentrate– Peppermint, cinnamon, rosemary, Lemon

And those are the tips I have. I have to remind myself to use them when the winter blues get to me, but the main thing to remember is that even with the crappy sides of winter, there are still the good bits.

And yes, there is hot chocolate.

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