Let's face it, December is intense. The whirl of parties, Christmas shopping, work and life in general can feel overwhelming, so we asked Cowshed trainer Jess for some suggestions to sustain you through this manic month. Here are her party season pick-me-ups for festive self-care.
'Your skin is your largest organ so what you’re taking inside you is going to show in your skin and hair. You can always tell when you’re getting a cold because it immediately starts to show first in your skin. I take supplements seasonally – Vitamins C and D in the winter, then Wild Nutrition Hyaluronic Acid over Christmas. I always take the Pre-mentrual Complex because it’s a good all-rounder for women.
Ashwagandha Plus is a good one to take if you know you’re going to be manic and burning the candle at both ends. Your pituitary gland is where all your adrenaline and hormones come from so it supports that, balances hormones and helps you unwind if you’re feeling burnt out.
Hyaluronic Acid is great because in winter our skin gets drier, plus it's the party season and let's face it, we’re drinking a lot more. This is going to help with hydration of the whole body, not just the skin, but specificallt the fullness of the skin when we’re basically dehydrating ourselves all day from morning coffee to evening prosecco!
Get the Glow
'I use Wonder Balm at night, always, especially in winter because it’s so rich and nourishing, so good for helping heal the skin and full of Vitamin E and natural retinol so it’ll give you that mild exfoliating effect for radiance.
Then I’d probably say you’d want to do some exfoliation as well, like our new Exfoliating Daily Treatment Tonic – it’s hydrating but also has AHAs which will gently unclog pores, keep skin radiant, help with dry skin without being too aggressive – it’s still got amino acids and hyaluronic acid so it will hydrate while the hydroxy acids exfoliate. I’ve got some resuable cotton discs that I use with the tonic – they come in a little bag, seven of them so you use one a day, put them all in their little bag and wash them in your washing machine. It’s better for the environment and your purse! They’re good just to keep your skin ticking over.'
'Carving out some time for yourself is vital. For me it’s really important to have some form of structure before bed, even if it’s very simple. I always have a bedtime tea, which lots of people tell me not to! I light the Cosy candle an hour before bed in my room so it smells nice, then blow it out before I go to bed. I don’t switch the big light on, I like it when the room’s lit by candles and smells lovely.
It goes without saying you always take your makeup off, no matter how ‘tired’ you are getting in from a party! The Gentle Face Wash is great for that because it’s multi use, you can use it on your eyes, sweep it all over your face then wipe it off with a damp flannel or muslin cloth.
It’s just all about making sure that my room smells nice, it feels cosy, my make-up’s off and I use cuticle oil on my nails and give myself a little hand massage before bed. If I do all that then I have a really good night’s sleep. I try to make that my weekday routine because on Friday and Saturday it all goes out the window! If you’re getting five nights of really good sleep, that’s a positive.
Using body oils in winter is great – 1. Because you always wear pyjamas (because it’s cold!) so you’re not going to get oil all over your sheets! 2. It helps it absorb in cos of the heat. Your skin will be naturally a lot drier due to heating indoors and cold outside. It’ll keep skin looking and feeling supple during the Christmas period. I would recommend Cosy because of the nostalgic fragrance of rose and cinnamon, rose being extremely hydrating and cinnamon great for circulation too.
I love a bath. I always use plain Epsom salts and add either a pure essential oil or one of our mood oils, depending on what I want to do. I rub the oil into my skin.'
'I do think there’s definitely something about seasonal food – one of the reasons we eat loads of salads and fruits in the summer is because our bodies are dehydrated from sweating so we're drawn to that kind of food, that freshness. In winter our bodies are burning more energy to keep us warmer, so that’s why we naturally crave more carbs – stews, hearty soups and potatoes. Broths are full of antioxidants and really good for your immune system. I make a really quick ramen – the stock is just a chicken stock cube, srichacha and bit of cayen pepper to heat it up. Then you put soy sauce and ginger on a chicken breast and bake that in the oven. I soft boil an egg with the noodles, then chop a red onion (really good for your immune system), spring onion, chilli and coriander and put it all together. Egg has got all the amino acids to rebuild the body. It literally takes 15 minutes and it’s a really good hearty, easy soup to do and it’s so comforting. Sometimes in the winter we can get a bit lax with cooking - this is easy, quick, tasty and simple.'