Summer survival guide, naturally
Hopefully most of you will be enjoying a well-earned break over the summer to spend precious time with family and reconnect. Those with busy lives relish a few unplanned days where spontaneousness has space to evolve. Below are a few tips for stress at this time of year, and also a summer first aid kit I find really useful.
A lot of us can feel huge pressure building as ‘time runs out’ before the new year. Or maybe you’re only halfway through your ‘to do’ list for 2017? How did the end of the year sneak up on you so fast? If any of this rings true to you, think about supporting your nervous system with a few key nutrients:
Adaptogens are herbs that help regulate the chemicals our adrenal glands produce during times of stress, thereby reducing the severity of symptoms. A great combination is Withania somnifera, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Hypericum perforatum and Siberian ginseng. Amazing for nourishing over-stretched nervous systems.
Consider taking a B complex in the morning and magnesium at night. The B complex vitamins are essential for energy while the magnesium will help with a busy brain at night. Get some advice before taking anything new as we don’t all suit the same combinations or dosages, and some things interact with medications.
If your stress levels are beyond the self help stage make time to see a Naturopath or Medical Herbalist who can prescribe individualised herbal medicines and nutrients to get you back on track.
Summer first aid
Here are a few things every family should have in their medicine cabinet when summer rolls around.
Tea tree or Manuka essential oil – these incredibly antiseptic oils can be used on mosquito bites, tick bites, athletes foot or any other fungal infection. Clean scratches and grazes with one drop diluted in water and use as a great mouthwash or gargle for an impending sore throat.
Arnica or Traumeel– for all the bumps and bruises.
Apis– a homeopathic remedy that works wonders for the pain and inflammation of bee stings and other insect bites.
Natural sunscreen – choose carefully as there are some quite worrying products on the market. The environmental working group (www.ewg.org) do an annual sunscreen safety guide that is very in depth and based on sound science.
Aloe vera – helps to hydrate and soothe the skin after sun exposure. Make sure it’s 100% Aloe vera gel.
Natural insect repellent – there are plenty on the market but if you would like to make your own this one works well:
30ml almond, apricot kernel, light olive or other vegetable oil
15 drops citronella oil
15 drops tea tree or Manuka oil
10 drops of lavender
Mix them all together well, shaking before each use. Be sure to test a small patch of skin first, especially on children, and avoid the eye area.
Travelling over summer?
Have you ever been cold and ‘flu free the entire year, only to come down with some nasty bug the minute you start to unwind on holiday? Finally, your body has time to be sick (even though it’s summer!) Well, not quite. Usually it is a change in sleep and eating patterns, a change in climate perhaps and definitely plane journeys that lead to getting sick on holiday.
In fact aeroplanes are incredible harborer’s of the common cold, leaving you up to 100 times more likely to catch a cold on a plane than you are in your normal daily life (according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Research).
Here are a few healthy traveling tips:
On a plane, be sure to use an herbal throat spray or suck on a propolis or zinc lozenge of some kind. This helps to keep the airborne bugs at bay at the point of entry to the body. You should be able to find both at your local health store.
If you have a long haul destination and want to adjust to the new time zone faster, consider using melatonin or the herb Griffonnia. The natural chemicals in a Grifonnia (5-hydroxytryptophan) help to re-set your body clock when taken at night in your new destination. Also, no matter how hard it is, get up and soak in some sunlight first thing the next morning. This works wonders.
But weight there’s more!
Usually (hopefully!) Christmas and holidays are filled with indulgences. That’s fine for a while but it can seem to go on and on. Mince pies, Pavlova and that Christmas fruitcake that no one seems to like but you. On average we put on 3Kg over the festive season, most of which is never lost. Use these tips to buck the trend and maintain your weight this silly season:
- Stock your cupboard, handbag and glove box with healthy snacks to avoid getting hungry and gorging on the seemingly endless supply of fruit tarts and chocolates. Nuts and organic dried fruit, protein bars and apples are all good choices.
- Keep exercising. It’s usually the first thing to go when our days get busy but fitting in that walk or workout between Christmas shopping and picking up the kids is crucial to maintaining weight, energy and sanity! If you can’t spare as much time as usual don’t use that as an excuse to do nothing, adjust. Fifteen minutes is better than no minutes, so do what you can.
- Depriving yourself of the foods you love only leads to overeating in the end. Having a little taste of everything you like leaves you feeling satisfied and proud that you didn’t overeat. There is a fine line between satisfaction and guilt, the key is found in moderation.
Whatever your plans, you will probably get a little frazzled and put on a little weight, but whatever you do, remember to enjoy the festivities of Christmas and the long days of summer as much as you can.
Happy Holidays everyone!