At least the weather's better! So maybe it's a good time to think about a how to you put your best self forward while the world outside puts on its bright Spring coat.
It’s worth thinking about what you put in your body as well on it. What you eat is crucial to the health of your body and, of course, your skin. But don’t neglect your skin: it’s the body’s largest organ and it works very hard for us day in and day out. It deserves some attention!
- The long winter takes its toll with being indoors a lot (so a lot less fresh air), less exercise and more preserved or processed foods. In ancient times people foraged for new greens to perk up their vitamin levels and consumed what was known as Spring Soup: nettles, wild garlic, dandelions, chervil, cress, sorrel. leaf nettle, parsley, dill and tarragon, purslane, basil, butterhead lettuce, spinach, tarragon, burnet and chives. In some European countries, Germany and Austria in particular, it’s still a tradition to make Siebenkraeutersuppe (Seven Herb Soup) on Holy (Maundy) Thursday made from dandelions, chervil, cress, sorrel. leaf nettle, parsley cooked with onions, egg and cream. Absolutely delicious!
- If you can, try increasing the organic foods in your diet. The fewer toxins and pesticides placed on your food items, the fewer residues left for your spleen and liver to process.
- A lot of people suffer allergies in Spring and there's already hay fever about. Some people swear by local honey as a way of dealing with local pollen counts. Others consult medical herbalists and other practitioners who will consider the whole you, not simply your symptoms.
- It's quite possible that your skin is still suffering winter blues -- dry, scaly, rough, spots on heels, knees, and elbows as well as stressed-out, overheated, undernourished skin on your face and body. Think about giving yourself a skincare make-over: body scrub and massage. Brown sugar/olive oil/ginger body scrub: Mix 2 cups of brown sugar with 1 cup of olive oil and add a small amount of ground ginger. Mix well into a paste. Using circular motions, rub your entire body, paying special attention to elbows, heels, and knees.
- Treat yourself to a really good facial - cleansing, toning, and moisturising twice daily, every day, and then exfoliating with or without a mask about once weekly is probably the best routine.
- Home-made masks can be truly wonderful, quite delicious and, yup, a touch messy (but who cares?). For normal to oily skin try Egg and orange face mask: mix 2 raw egg whites with 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice. Apply to skin and let rest for 15 minutes until dry. Rinse well with warm water. For sensitive or dry skin (or, of course, vegans) try Honey and banana face mask: (one cup of honey mashed with a ripe banana. Apply to face and neck; let rest for 15 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.
- Knees, elbows, heels, and toes can also suffer from a winter in boots or heavy shoes: give them a soak and scrub and a good massage. You could give yourself a real treat and try our Feet Treat
All in all, I think after the restrictions and sometimes hellish difficulties of lockdown, that giving our bodies a healthy boost, and offering thanks to our skin for being so good to us will give us, body and – yes - soul, a healthy, uplifting start to our newly allowed freedoms. Here’s to more of them!