I can’t believe it’s mid-November already, can you? Thanksgiving is just a week away, and Old Man Winter is getting ready to play his tricks any minute. Here in Columbus, OH, we’ve seen a few flakes and a few cold snaps that dipped us into the 20’s overnight, so there’s no denying what’s coming!
It’s that time of year to focus on finding extra ways to stay healthy during the winter, plus to keep dry skin and hair at bay, and I’m here to help!
Some of you long-time followers may have seen my winter 2016 post, Healthy Ways to Survive Woeful Winter Weather, where I shared plenty of tips on everything from shower filters to lip balm to bee pollen to my ginger lemon tea recipe. Go scope it out!
In the time since I published it, though, I’ve added quite a few new tricks up my sleeve, so I thought I would share with all of you!
It’s been said a million times, but is worth repeating: proper hand washing is your first and best line of defense against getting sick! Hot water + soap + 20 seconds. Do it, and often – especially before eating anything or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
All that washing can do a number on your hands, so I want to add some great no-nasties products to my healthy winter skin care category! I’ve featured the two lotions in special product review posts previously, so I won’t go super in-depth here (just click the links to read their dedicated posts).
→ Clean. Goat Milk Lotion (by Sunny Cabana Farms) – I can’t sing the praises of goat milk lotion enough, but just know that this is a must in your winter arsenal! Your skin will love you. Check out my review here. Available at goatclean.com.
→ Tropical Coconut Body Lotion (by Kiss My Face) – Another goodie! The 32 oz. size is enough for a small army, so if you pop this on your desk, your co-workers will thank you! My review is here. If you’re not crazy for coconut, KMF makes many scents (and fragrance-free). Available at kissmyface.com, Amazon, and select retailers.
→ Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Body Scrub (by Shea Moisture) – I’ve used many scrubs in my day, but the silky softness this one leaves behind is truly impressive, thanks to eight different oils and shea butter! And the scent? Heavenly. Available at Shea Moisture’s website and at Target, Ulta, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Keeping germs at bay is a top priority, so in moments where hand washing is impossible, reach for a (healthier) hand sanitizer. Avoid any containing Triclosan, and seek ones scented naturally with essential oils, rather than chemically “Fragrance (Parfum)”.
→ Coconut & Lemon Hand Sanitizer Spray 2-oz. (by Everyone by EO) – The smell is super fresh and uplifting, and it’s a non-sticky way to clean your hands on the go. Conveniently purse-sized too! Available at many natural grocery stores (like Fresh Thyme) or luckyvitamin.com.
Kicking germ butt in your home is another key, so don’t forget to target germs where they congregate most. No, not toilet seats – your cell phone, computer keyboards/mice, video game controllers, and TV remotes! While you’re at it, hit door handles, light switches, and fridge/freezer door handles.
→ Lemongrass Citrus Disinfecting Wipes (by Seventh Generation) – We ditched Chlorox wipes long ago, in favor of these wipes that are powered by the antibacterial and antiviral properties of thyme oil. We’ve never looked back! Available at vitacost.com, Target, and most grocers nationwide.
Another fantastic tool to kill germs at home is by diffusing tea tree oil, using an essential oil diffuser. This differs from aromatherapy in that you’re not just experiencing scent – diffusers actually make essential oils airborne on water vapor, so you’ve got a powerful weapon!
Tea tree essential oil is antibacterial and antiviral, so it’s great to diffuse throughout the winter months. If someone does get sick, you can also diffuse eucalyptus essential oil to help clear sinus or chest congestion. (My brand of choice? Aura Cacia essential oils!)
→ Essential Oil Diffuser 300 ml (by VicTsing) – I researched prospective diffusers like I was buying a car, not a diffuser, and I’m so happy I picked this one! Its LED light can be set to one of many color choices, to rotating color, or off. The auto-off feature is awesome – you can pick 1, 3, or 6 hours of run time. It will also auto-off when it senses the water is gone. It can be run without essential oil, if you’re looking for a humidifier only. Available at Amazon.
Winter can dry hair out, so up your moisture game! I’ve fallen in love with this hair masque by Shea Moisture. Hair product safety is a biggie for me, and I’ve been using mainly Shea Moisture (but also some Desert Essence) for the last several years. Shea Moisture makes masques in many of their product lines, so you can find what fits your hair best!
→ Sacha Inchi Oil Omega 3, 6, 9 Rescue & Repair Hair Mask – I use this in the shower for 5-10 minutes after shampooing, at least once weekly. The softness and shine I get is craaaaazy! Available on Shea Moisture’s website and at Ulta, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Last, but certainly not least, your immune system is your best friend! Winter is a key time to support immunity, and immunity begins in the gut! And remember, health comes from what’s on the end of your fork, not what comes out of a needle (just say no to dangerous, ineffective flu shots, my friends). Some tips:
- Reduce refined sugar intake as much as you can, as sugars (especially big doses) can hinder immune system function for up to 24 hours after consumption.
- Avoid taking antibiotics unless a life-threatening situation exists, as the damage antibiotics do to beneficial gut bacteria colonies (and, therefore, your overall health) can take years to undo.
- Support gut health by taking a daily probiotic supplement!
- Go for probiotic fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, or yogurt (opting for low-sugar, organic dairy). Shout-out to GT’s Kombucha!
- Keep your immune system on track with lots of vitamin C, found in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapples, and berries.
- Support your immune system by eating foods high in zinc, like pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cashews, mushrooms, spinach, and dark chocolate. → Check out handy Echinacea Zinc lozenges by Zand! Available at vitacost.com.
- Cook with plenty of immune-boosting herbs and spices, like garlic, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and thyme.
- Don’t underestimate the power of getting a good night’s sleep! Don’t deprive your body of its prime time for restoring and regenerating – aim for at least 7 hours.
Well, folks, that’s a wrap! If you have any questions about any of the products I’ve mentioned (where to buy, how to use, etc.) leave a note in the comments!
Wishing you healthier, happier days!