In the second part of Jo Fellows’s Summer Wellness guide, she shares her tips for keeping skin and body in balance throughout the warmer months.
Nourish your skin
Keeping skin hydrated in the summer is a must, so keep up your water intake and moisturise regularly. If your skin becomes oily, it may be a sign that your skin is dehydrated, as being dehydrated makes your body step up its production of natural oils in your skin to protect itself from drying out. The sun’s harsh rays will also dry out your skin further by taking away these oils. This can cause early signs of ageing, like fine lines and wrinkles, to appear. The most effective way of keeping them at bay is to stay out of the sun for prolonged periods and moisturising.
I love using the Rhug Wild Beauty range of products to keep my skin nourished. I always use The Wild Beauty Nourishing Body Cream – it’s hydrating, nourishing and feels lovely on my skin.
In the summer, my lips can become a little dry, so I’m never without a little jar of Wild Beauty’s Moisturising Lip Treatment with Rhug Beeswax. I have it handy to use throughout the day. It’s packed with Vitamin A and really helps improve hydration.
And I’m a huge, huge, HUGE, fan of Wild Beauty’s Exfoliating Body Scrub with Rosemary and Rhug Honey. It’s a lovely gentle body scrub to help exfoliate, but when you wash it away the skin is left super nourished and moisturised. I have a suspicion that the Geranium essential oil it contains helps to keep the biting insects away from me too!
When travelling I love the mini bottles of cleanser, toning lotion, day cream and mask of the Wild Foraged Skincare Essentials travel kit. They’re simply the perfect size for my travel bag. What’s more, you don’t end up with a toiletry bag full of plastic containers, as the chic recyclable glass packaging is so much better for the environment.
Having enough, good quality sleep is vital for our wellbeing, it’s essential for the proper functioning of our minds and bodies. Sleep enables the body to actively recover, process toxins and improve our immune function.
But why is it so often more difficult for us to sleep in the summer? The obvious reason is that there is more daylight, it’s harder to fall asleep when it’s bright outside. Darkness is a signal to our bodies that it’s time to rest as it triggers the production of melatonin, the hormone that’s largely responsible for helping us to go to sleep.
This year I have invested in some blackout curtains for our bedroom, which have helped my sleep enormously! No longer are we waking up at first light.
It’s also so much harder to sleep when it’s a little warmer than usual as your body is hardwired to slide into sleep when it’s cooler. As part of your body’s pattern of wakefulness and sleep, called your circadian rhythm, your internal temperature drops slightly as bedtime draws near. This natural decrease in temperature signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. But dropping your internal temperature is more difficult to regulate if the temperature outside is high.
Taking a cool shower before bed can help, as can having a cool drink before bed, keeping your bedroom cooler with a fan to circulate the air, or by changing what you sleep on and under to lighter, more cooling versions (think sheet rather than duvet to cover you for example). If you always sleep curled up, consider sleeping with your arms and legs spread out, which helps release your body heat, instead of retaining it.
Try my favourite yoga asanas (postures) for summer:
- Tree Pose (Vrksasana in Sanskrit) establishes strength and balance in the legs and core, and helps you feel centred, steady, and grounded, stabilising both body and mind. Good balance and a strong core will go a long way in helping us to stay active and healthy as we age.
Stand tall and start by focussing on the left foot, rooting it firmly into the earth. Slowly begin to lift the right heel, bringing the heel to the ankle of the left foot. If you think you may be unsteady practice by a wall, so you have something to hold on to. Maybe you leave the sole of your right foot where it is or bring it to the side of the calf or even the inner thigh, whatever is achievable for you. Bring your hands to your heart in angeli mudra (prayer position). Stay here for 10 breaths, then swap to the other leg and repeat.
- Head-to-Knee Forward Fold (Janu Sirsasana in Sanskrit) calms the mind, stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groin and helps improve digestion. Seated forward bends are among the most cooling yoga poses. Make sure you relax your shoulders, neck and back by letting the pose unfold naturally as you breathe.
Sit on your mat with your legs outstretched in front of you. You may wish to bring a block or folded blanket under your sitbones if you are new to the practice, or find it difficult to fold forwards from the hips. Bend your right knee and place the right foot against the left inner thigh, relaxing the right knee down (you may wish to place a blanket under the knee for more comfort here). As you inhale, flex the left foot, press the top of the left thigh down, lengthen the spine and raise your arms either side of your head. Rotate your upper body slightly so you are facing down the left leg and then fold forward from the hips as you exhale. Keep your spine long, chest open and shoulders relaxed. Place your hands down, framing your left leg, or take hold of your ankle or foot.
Stay for 5 to 10 breaths. Inhale, as you come out of the pose, and then move to the other side.
Wellbeing expert and friend of Wild Beauty Jo Fellows offers yoga classes and wellbeing retreats – see jofellows.com or see https://rhugwildbeauty.com/jo-fellows/