Now that I am spending more time at home, be it working or caring for a young family; I am finding it difficult to look, feel and stay fresh throughout the day. Some days I am feeling more lethargic and duller and sometimes, I feel like there is this grey cloud hanging above my head.
Looking and feeling fresh, both inside and outside is really simple. Here are 8 natural ways that will help you look, feel and stay fresh all day. It will bring out the brightness and glow naturally. It will also bring out the positivity inside and radiate around you so those around you can’t help but feel happy.
1. Reduce BLUE LIGHT for a good night sleep
Blue light (one of the spectrum of colours) can come naturally – the sun or artificially – those emitted from our digital device screens. According to a Harvard researcher, blue light is a reason why many people don’t get enough sleep.
How Does Blue Light Affect Sleep
- Melatonin Production
Blue light affects your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin by delaying its release. Melatonin makes us feel sleepy and drowsy so by delaying its release, we are feeling more alert and awake when really, we should be winding down and getting to sleep. Which is why sunlight (which contains natural blue light) is mother natures’ alarm clock, it wakes you up in the morning whereas dark environments (less blue light) makes you feel sleepy.
- Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm is like the body’s internal clock which is responsible for regulating your sleep/wake cycle and repeats itself every 24 hours; put simply it tells you when to wake up and when to go to sleep.
Your circadian rhythm is controlled by a part of your brain. Outside factors such as darkness and light also impacts it. When it is dark, a signal is sent to that part of the brain to tell it that it is time to be tired. The brain then sends a signal to the body to release melatonin to make the body feel tired which in turn makes us feel sleepy and drowsy. Our body is a like a fine tuned Swiss watch.
However, too much blue light exposure throws your internal body clock out of rhythm which may result in you finding it difficult to fall asleep or staying asleep. More than ever, our eyes are constantly glued to our devices. There is a wide array of reputable evidence demonstrating that blue light emitted from these devices can trick our bodies into thinking it is still daytime.
The most effective way, as pointed out earlier is reducing screen time but if your livelihood is dependent on these digital devices, try wearing blue light glasses to reflect and filter the blue light while using your devices.
2. Have a COLD morning shower
A cold morning shower will give you a wake-up call to your mind (or neighbours, be prepared for the initial shock). Sure, you will be gasping for air as the first droplets of cold water hits your skin but taking those deeper breaths will increase your heart and respiratory rate which will surely invigorate and clear your mind.
Here are some other benefits of a cold bath:
- Reduced Stress Levels
Taking regular cold showers conditions your body to tolerate small amounts of stress which “trains” your nervous system to handle low to moderate levels of stress. This will allow you remain cool, calm and collected during stressful situations.
- Reduced muscle inflammation
Elite athletes do it and given they have a team of sport scientists around them; it must have some benefits. Cold water immersion has been shown to reduce muscle inflammation due to the reduction of localised blood flow around the damaged tissues. Also, it is believed that the cold water has a numbing effect on the damaged tissues and so the feeling of pain is reduced.
- Improved Skin
According to various dermatologists, cold water temporarily reduces the size of your skin pores and reduces puffiness and redness; giving you skin a healthier glow. Cold water doesn’t dry your skin compared to warm/hot showers and therefore will relieve the itchiness associated with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis etc.
- Eases effects of depression
A scientific article suggests that cold showers could be a form of
non-medical treatment for depression due to the “overwhelming amount of electrical impulses sent from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain; that could have an anti-depressive effect”.
Needless to say, the act of washing not only washes the dirt and grime off your body, but also washes away the stress, paving the way for a fresh start to the day. Cold or not, showering/bathing will provide you with some precious “me” time to help you relax and think peacefully.
I haven’t been game enough to go “cold” turkey but I do have a lukewarm shower and end it with a blast of cold water.
3. Dress to impress or be a success
Now that our outside life and home life has blended into one, there are days where it is a struggle to get out of bed, start work and stay productive and motivated. Next thing you notice is that you are still in your pyjamas at lunch time and haven’t really ticked off that “to do” list.
Dress well to look fresh and be energized. Just because we don’t have to leave our homes to go to work or study, changing out of our pyjamas before we start the day is a no brainer.
Start the day off by wearing nice and comfortable clothes. It is about feeling GOOD and FRESH. It also signals that you are about to start the day on a positive note. Feeling comfortable and free will enable you to carry that positive vibe throughout the day to tackle whatever challenges come your way.
4. Surround yourself with positivity
When you are around a lot of negativity, it will spoil your mental peace leaving you in a miserable mental state which could be stressful. Try to surround yourself around positive people.
Listen to uplifting and positive music or podcasts. We all need to stay mentally fit so take some time out during the day and allow yourself to go to that happy and positive space. Equally important, the environment you work in definitely has an impact on your mood and mental state.
Declutter, keep things neat, keep it orderly and keeping indoor pot plants or natural essential oils around you are great ways to create a positive and stress-free space.
5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
There are many benefits of staying hydrated. Most important of all is maintaining heart health. According to the American Heart Association, staying hydrated puts less strain on your heart as it helps the heart pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles and cells more easily.
Other benefits of staying hydrated include staying cool especially during the warmer months, maintaining the healthy functioning of your brain and muscles, flushing toxins out of your system, preventing dehydration and keeping your skin soft and supple.
We often forget to stay hydrated but it is very simple: keep a bottle of water with you during the day. And, if you don’t like the taste of plain water, add a slice of lemon, lime or orange to your water.
Also, filter your drinking water so most of the nasty contaminants such as lead, mercury, chlorine and chromium are removed. There are many inexpensive and expensive water filters out there, if you aren’t sure, try this well-known brand water filter.
Don’t forget to hydrate your face and body by moisturizing as well.
6. Exercise, exercise, exercise
It is a proven and known fact, exercise is good for you, both mentally and physically. Here are 5 simple reasons why:
- Regulates and improves mood
- Keeps the immune system strong
- Connects us to ourselves and others
- Decreases risk of muscle, bone and joint issues/injuries
- Promotes sleep
Exercise is such a simple way to help keep you looking, feeling and staying fresh naturally (just remember to shower after an intense workout, see Tip No. 2).
I am not much of a runner as I get shin splints so I prefer to go for a brisk walk very early in the morning; when the rest of the world is still fast asleep. There is a calmness and stillness early in the morning that is very intoxicating and invigorating.
Plus, there are hardly any cars on the roads, so the air is much fresher and cleaner. Hand on heart, after my early morning walk, I feel energized, fresh and ready to take on the day’s challenges.
7. Reduce your sugar intake
You’ve had a long day. Your body and mind are feeling tired and you are in need of a “pick me up”. The easiest and tastiest go to is a sugary snack but these are just empty calories that do no favours for your mood or health.
Sugar takes your energy levels up and down like a rollercoaster ride. Your blood sugar levels spike up rapidly when you eat something sugary, giving you that “boost” in mood and alertness but it comes crashing down when your blood sugar falls shortly after that “boost”. Leaving you feeling hungry and moody afterwards.
Blood sugar spikes and falls create inflammation and internal stresses in the body which can make your skin look dull and prone to breakouts. Also, sugar has a dehydrating effect on the skin which could lead to puffiness and dark circles underneath the eye.
More interestingly is that sugar and Vitamin C compete against each other to penetrate the cell membrane and because their molecular structure is very similar, it is suggested as a reason why sugar suppresses the immune system.
When you are in need of a snack, aim for wholefoods such as fruits, vegetables and nuts. They are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you feeling and looking fresh throughout the day.
8. Brush your teeth
Daily brushing and flossing are important because it removes plaque. Plaque is film of bacteria that coats your teeth and when it isn’t removed, it causes gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.
Brush your teeth in a gentle, circular motion for at least 2 minutes morning and night. But, to keep your mouth feeling fresh throughout the day, brush your teeth after meals or when you can feel that sticky film on your teeth.
Remember to wait at least an hour after each meal, particularly when you have eaten anything acidic as these foods weaken the enamel and brushing too soon can remove the enamel. For a better clean, try using an electric toothbrush.
An alternative is to brush your teeth before eating acidic foods and drinking water afterwards to wash away the acid on the teeth. Avoid sugary snack foods and soft drinks to maintain that fresh mouth feel.
There you have it, follow these 8 natural steps to keep you looking, feeling and staying fresh all day.