The children are back at school, the nights are drawing in and the temperature has dropped. September means the season is on the turn. While we associate autumn with cooling temperatures and browning leaves, we tend to pay less attention to the physical and mental changes we, as humans, experience when the seasons change.
As we lose our summer tans in autumn, our skin dehydrates and loses tone. Winter sees central heating cranked up and our skin begins to struggle as it repeatedly moves between freezing winds outside and hot, dry air indoors. Our skin craves rich moisturisers. We recommend a moisturiser like our Hand Balm which does not contain SLS to really give your skin the intense nourishment it needs. The drier the air in central heating homes and offices, the more moisture removed from our skin. As we no doubt will have to switch on our central heating over the next few weeks, we suggest placing a small bowl of water over your radiator. The evaporated water fills the air and therefore reduces the amount of precious moisture that would be taken from your skin!
Humans rely heavily on light for influencing things like our sleep rhythms, alertness and heart rate modulation. You may notice that you feel low, tired or unmotivated in autumn and winter but in extreme cases this can manifest itself in more extreme symptoms. So, while December for many is filled with a festive warmth, others experience anxiety, stress and depression which remain with them until daylight hours begin to pick up again. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. We recommend you go to your local GP if you believe yourself to be suffering from SAD.
For those who experience lower levels of tiredness and lack of motivation in the winter months, there are several things we can do to ensure our mental wellbeing. Make the most of the daylight and go on a walk at lunchtime or wrap up and take your mid-morning coffee outside to top up your vitamin D levels as the evenings draw in. Exercise exercise exercise throughout the day to keep your body and mind active. This may be your lunchtime walk or choosing to take the stairs not the lift. Finally, be mindful of what you eat as this actually has a huge impact on your mood and mentality.
Whilst your mood and skin adapt with the changing seasons, so your immune system changes over the seasons. Your gene expression changes over the year resulting in some genes being more active in summer, and others in winter. This means that throughout the year you may experience different symptoms. A study also recently found that it is as much as a quarter of our genes that change with the seasons. While you may experience illness differently across the year, the one piece of solid advice given in winter is to wrap up warm as cold weather can have a big impact on your health. You are more at risk of a heart attack, of flu and of falls and injuries in the winter months, particularly among the disabled, pregnant or over 65 year olds. So wrap up warm, pop the heating on and stay active to lower the risk of illness.