Winter is almost officially here. Vata and Kapha are presenting their cold, heavy, rough, cloudy, and dense qualities. People may feel chapped skin, especially on the face and hands. Many people feel generally dry all over the body. To ensure you can have fun outside and take care of your biggest organ, try our Ayurvedic tricks for skincare.
Winter tends to make us want to stay in and snuggle up with a good book or movie. However, we need to get good exercise during the winter months. This not only flushes the toxins out of the your skin but also brings heat back into the body. Sweating releases natural oils that lubricate the skin and provide natural protection from the assaults of the world. Try doing yoga, going on a brisk morning walk, or lifting weights.
It seems that every weekend there is a holiday party or event. Remember to try and have a sleep routine and schedule. This includes daily self-massage right before bed with warmed oil or meditation to calm the mind. Make the time before bed a sacred 10-20 minutes to allow sleep to deep. This time of year, energy can seem low. If one gets proper deep sleep, one will feel energetic like it is spring. Sleep helps the skin repair and allows it to communicate with the nervous system about the day’s information.
Digestion tends to get sluggish during the winter months. We eat heavier foods and holidays create chaotic patterns in our diet, agitating Vata and allowing Kapha to become lazy. During the next few months, remember to stick to a standard eating schedule as many days as you can. It is more important than any other time of the year to ensure all foods are cooked-no raw vegetables- to make sure digestion is at optimal absorption. Reduce the amount of dairy being consumed as well as red meat. Increase consumption of nuts and seeds in dishes and as snacks. These nutrient dense foods provide fiber and protein that can satiate hunger with easy to absorb properties. Being mindful of the amount of sugar one consumes will also be important, though remember to enjoy the holiday season. This holiday nut and seed brittle will be a great treat that provides nutrition with some sweetness.
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup crumbled jaggery
- ½ cup Sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Heat the ghee in a frying pan. Add the chopped almonds and sauté until fragrant. Crumble the jaggery into the pan and allow to melt. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the contents of the pan onto the lined baking sheet and let cool. Once solid, break the brittle into large pieces. Enjoy!
With so many seasonal beverages, it is difficult to remember to drink plain, room temperature water. Ensure you consume eight glasses of water a day in addition to the fun drinks. For a festive but health-promoting drink, try Winter Tea:
For every 4 cups of tea:
- 3 inches of ginger cut into coins
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 stars of star anise
- 1 tablespoon of dried apricot or apples
- 4 ½ cup of water
- Honey to taste
Place everything but the honey into a saucepan and place on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer uncovered for 10 more minutes. Serve with a cinnamon stick in the mug. Once cool enough to drink, add honey for some healthy sweetness.
The digestive fire, agni, will burn hot if you take care of your food choices. When agni is healthy, toxins do not reach the skin, causing it turmoil during the cold months.
To reduce dry skin, use a warming oil like almond or jojoba oil instead of store-bought lotions. Mix in some grapefruit or sandalwood essential oils to invigorate the skin. While showering, heat the bottle of oil in a hot cup of water. When you are done bathing, you will have warm oil to seal in the natural moisture of the largest organ of the body. Remember to apply oils to the back as well as legs and arms. Using a body scrub can help eliminate the Kapha deposits on the skin and allow oils to hydrate Vata dryness. Here is a gentle but effective body scrub recipe that can be used right before showering or easing into a bath.
Brown Sugar Winter Scrub
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 drops of citrus essential oil or tea tree oil
Combine the ingredients in a melamine bowl or plastic Tupperware. Once all mixed together, apply this scrub on dry skin of the legs, arms, trunk (including the back), neck, and feet. It is also gentle enough for the face if you desire. While still covered in sugar, rinse in the shower or step directly into the bathtub. If soaking, allow the scrub to absorb before rinsing for a better moisturizing effect.
Similarly, this is a wonderful time of year to take a bath. Apply about a cup of Epsom salts, some of the almond oil and a couple drops of a favorite topical essential oil into a filled warm water tub and allow the skin to soak. Dress yourself with warm clothes, especially after bathing. Keep your heat in by wearing scarves, mittens, and hats. We lose heat through the pores of the skin, drying out the natural lubrication. Protection from wind and cold will seal in the moisture needed to retain healthy and strong skin.
Our skin is a mirror of our health. In the winter, people tend to see strange skin issues and assume it is from the cold. As you can see, many parts of the body affect skin health. Keeping the body healthy using some of the tips here will ensure your skin will glow despite the snow.