Embrace the beauty of aging

Yes, yes we know – Western culture has a major problem with aging. But knowing it and not letting it get to us are two different things. Everywhere we look – the big screen, TV adverts and magazines – we’re bombarded with messages that growing old is bad news, especially for women. From cosmetics and hair dye to botox and plastic surgery —we’re becoming time-terrified and programmed to keep aging at bay for as long as possible…

And while obsession with youth is not the norm around the world (elders are highly respected in Korea and India, for example), in the Western world we face a very real challenge of accepting ourselves in an environment that would have us believe that we’re ‘not enough’ once wrinkles appear and our hair begins to turn grey. We cannot stop the clock, and by fuelling our obsession with youth we just feed fear rather than embrace the new… so here’s how to reclaim your beauty and self-confidence, beginning with our own attitudes to aging.

  1. Focus on wellbeing

Cameron Diaz is best known for her glamourous acting career, but she’s also a bit of a science buff and our latest pro-age guru…Take a leaf out of her new book The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength, and the Privilege of Time‘ (or better yet, read it!) for her uplifting and empowering view on aging.

We love her two main messages…

Adopt a positive attitude

Aging is inevitable, but how we feel about it is ultimately for us to decide – and Cameron encourages us to embrace the process as natural and normal instead of trying to resist it. Adopting a positive attitude towards our changing bodies is a key to looking and feeling our most radiant at any age – being happy in our own skin beats botox every time…

Healthy, happy, beautiful

For Cameron, aging goes beautifully hand–in-hand with living well and taking great care of ourselves, and she’s all for shifting the focus from measuring ourselves against some unrealistic beauty standards to prioritising our health and wellbeing. Healthy habits don’t only prolong and improve quality of life, they also have a huge impact on how we age and feel in the process. Her top wellbeing tips? Eat a nutritious diet, minimise stress, keep fit and try to get those vital seven hours of sleep every night. And finally, enjoy life because that’s what we’re here for…

  1. What’s beautiful to you?

We may not be able to convince the mass media to rethink beauty (not overnight, anyway), but we don’t need to personally subscribe to the narrow definition we see. There are so many different ways to be beautiful regardless of age, shape or size, and we can be advocates of diverse beauty by actively looking for and appreciating it in others as well as ourselves. And beauty is not all about physical features either – qualities like courage, wisdom, and kindness can be very attractive.

  1. Turn to positive role models

Paradoxically, while we’re supposed to be at our prettiest in our early 20s, this is also often when we feel our most insecure. Some women find that it’s not until they’re much older that they blossom and find the confidence to be proudly who they are. And all these women who never got the memo that we’re supposed to stop being attractive as we get older make for fab role models for the rest of us still learning to love our changing looks. Take for example the vivacious models featured in the work of the photographer Ari Seth Cohen whose project Advanced Style celebrates the beauty and style of people over 60. These people are living proof that there’s no expiry date for expressing yourself and being gorgeous.

We leave you with the words of Joyce, 79, featured on Ari’s blog:

“I don’t want to look younger, I want to look as great as I can at any age.”

  1. Meditate, be present

Feel as great as you can with a bit of omming… a growing body of evidence suggests we can slow down the ageing process at a cellular level with regular meditation, by extending our telemores (part of human cells that affect how we age).

  1. Look after what you’ve got

While there’s no need to strive look and feel younger than you are, it’s absolutely great to look and feel as good as you can at every age! So skip the chemical-laden anti-aging creams, skin-stressing peels and botulism face-freeze and nourish and cherish what you have by harnessing active gentle products for your skin.

Make criticism work for you

Ever wondered how a single negative remark can so easily overshadow multiple positive comments? Or why having someone criticise us can cause such a strong emotional reaction? It may all come down to the primitive parts of our brain and our drive to belong: receiving criticism could have been a real threat to our place in our tribe. Fast forward to the 21st century, and being criticised may not be a danger to our survival, but let’s face it – it’s still pretty hard to take…

Thankfully, dealing with negative feedback is a skill we can practise. And there are ways to lessen its impact – and even better: make it work for us not against us.

1. Know you’ll attract criticism whatever you do

Criticism is as inevitable as bad weather. Whatever we do, there’ll be grey days when it rains sideways. Likewise, whatever we do, there’ll always be someone who thinks we’re doing it wrong, whether it’s our work, our creative pursuits, or our style of parenting… But we can practice dealing with criticism so that it won’t ruin our day any more than a downpour does.

And knowing that criticism is a given can help us take it less personally. Count each incident as part of your personal ‘criticism quota’ if you like… And keep doing what you love. There’ll always be storms and there’ll always be those who dislike what you do. Your gifts are not for them anyway.

2. Separate the wheat from the chaff

A lot of the negative feedback we encounter in our lives has very little to do with us, and a lot to do with what is going on with the other person. From jealousy to misunderstandings, many things can distort people’s opinions. Also, when negative feedback doesn’t offer any value – how we could improve, for example – shrug it off, and move on.

At the same time, stay open to receiving honest feedback. When criticism is appropriate and fair, and given with good intentions and comes from a genuine will to help, it’s a gift that can propel us further forward than praise.

3. Make criticism work for you

Robin Sharma (author and leadership advisor) wrote:

“Negative feedback can make us bitter or better.”

Go for better. When you receive thoughtful criticism from someone, mine it for the gold: look at the feedback like an instruction manual with the most relevant bits highlighted just for you – and use them to your benefit.

Then let it go and move on. Remind yourself that everyone is constantly learning and improving and give yourself praise for your ability to grow.

4. Use mindfulness to deal with criticism

So, we’re all set to use criticism to our advantage, but there’s still the matter of that fight-or-flight response triggering every time we’re told we’ve fallen short of expectations… We want to do this right, but stress hormones are circulating, and the primitive parts of our brain are sending out urgent signals to shut down, to put up our defences or even to lash out in retaliation. Needless to say, we’re not at our most receptive to taking feedback on board…

If possible, put some space between yourself and the source of criticism. Walk away from your computer or [Read more…]

Boost your money mojo & create abundance in just four simple steps

Happy with your finances? If your answer is a resounding ‘no’, you’re not alone. Few of us have a completely stress-free relationship with money, regardless the size of our bank balance. But whatever our starting point financially, it’s possible to change our relationship with money for the better. And once we begin to feel more at peace around the whole topic – and pair that ease with a greater appreciation of all the non-material riches in our life – we may notice that not only are we wealthier than we thought, but abundance of all sorts begins to find its way more easily into our lives.

Sound good? Without further ado…

 

1. Believe in abundance

“If the thought of lack – whether it be money, recognition, or love has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack. Rather than acknowledge the good that is already in your life, all you see is lack.”
— Eckhart Tolle

When we have a hard time creating abundance in our lives, it may have a lot to do with the beliefs we picked up somewhere along the way. We all have our ‘default settings’ that guide our actions and influence how we see the world. Are yours based on abundance or scarcity? Think about it…

Spend some time writing down your thoughts on money and abundance. When you’ve identified your beliefs, ask yourself: Where did this belief come from? Is it 100% true? How does this belief guide my actions and affect the decisions I make? Does thinking this way serve or hinder me?

Our beliefs could be stopping us from asking for a pay raise, charging enough for our work, or even noticing the blessings coming our way… By challenging the beliefs we hold about money and abundance, we can begin to unravel the obstacles that stand in our way to greater prosperity.

2. Zoom out to see your wealth

When we think of abundance, we often zoom straight in on money. But even millions can’t make us truly rich unless that money also contributes to our happiness. So, what if we deliberately thought of abundance more in terms of all the things that make up a rich life – including loving relationships, a sense of purpose and spending time doing the things we enjoy?

Try this experiment for a month: After covering the essentials expenses, challenge yourself to spend as little money as possible. Get creative and make your own birthday cards instead of buying them and come up with non-material present ideas. Visit free museums and parks and look out for free events to keep the family entertained. Cook simple meals and try homemade picnics with friends instead of eating out.
De-emphasise the cash-side of things for a bit, and all the riches that money can’t buy come more clearly into focus. Whoever wrote this ancient proverb was onto something…

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy”

3. Money worries? Meet money mindfulness

Bills, taxes, loans, savings, investments… Our relationship with money can feel like a never-ending juggling performance. But whatever we’ve got going on financially, mindfulness can take much of the stress out of the picture. The simple act of slowing down and being present with what’s happening can also give us the clarity to make better decisions.

When we manage our money mindfully, we’re constantly steered towards the choices that truly enrich our lives. Try it out the next time you’re about to make a money-related decision. Take a moment to breathe and check in with yourself. Does this contribute to my wellbeing, health and happiness? The ‘yes’s’ point us towards those things that give us the maximum returns in terms of living our best life.

4. Love your numbers

Are you keeping track of your finances on a regular basis? If not, arrange a money date ASAP (you don’t need to take your accounts to a fancy restaurant, though a glass of wine could be nice). Taking the time at least once a month to jot down all the numbers can eliminate much of our money-related stress and help us stay on top of our finances (as well as on the same page with our significant other).

Committing to a monthly money date is also great way to stop thinking about setting goals and jolt us into action. Use your session to identify the next baby steps – and don’t forget to celebrate the progress you’re making!

 

You’re spiritual but they’re not? How to make love work

That moment… when you’ve just fallen head over heels in love only to hear your new ‘soulmate’ say something that’s in direct conflict with your worldview. Or have your beliefs diverged from those of your long-term partner or spouse so far apart over the years that it’s created tension in your relationship? ‘Well it just won’t work’ we hear you cry… or will it? While fitting our lives together with someone who doesn’t share our spiritual interests can be tricky, it’s definitely doable and even – inspirational.
Consider the following four approaches to heal the thrifts and deepen your love…
1. Accept each other
We’ve all heard it: if love is to thrive, we need to love our partner as they are and not try to change them… We’re all moulded by the life experiences we’ve had, and our partner may be as passionate about the beliefs they hold as we are about ours.
In the best scenario, both partners are able to talk about their worldview and be listened to with respect and an open mind. But if your discussions turn into debates more often than not and you’re not comfortable with it, establish some boundaries and try the ‘agree to disagree’ approach…
Achieving that balance not only maintains harmony in a relationship but is also a beautiful way to demonstrate to any children involved that there are many ways to see the world and that people can love each other and co-exist peacefully despite holding different viewpoints.

2. Don’t ask them to be everything for you
Our partner may have promised to love and cherish us, but after all, they didn’t sign up to be everything for us. If you yearn to discuss your spiritual practice with other people and your partner isn’t interested, seek out like-minded folk who share your interests. You still have much to share with your partner: all those interests that brought you together in the first place and the passions that you’ve discovered together since – not to mention the love and support you give each other.

3. See your partner as your teacher
We may think it would be best to share our life with a person who shares our beliefs. But in the end, we may experience far more growth sharing our life with a ‘non-spiritual’ partner than someone who never challenges us. Every time you clash, take it as an opportunity to get deeper into your practice. After all we can’t become masters of mindfulness or build our spiritual muscle without [Read more…]

Love who you are: avoid the comparison trap

Comparing yourself with friends and strangers becoming a near-constant habit? Well you’re not alone – with Facebook and Instagram providing us with ample opportunities to contrast our lives with others it’s no wonder we constantly feel that just being ‘me’ isn’t enough. The habit may even be hardwired in our brain if the social comparison theory has it right. But while making comparisons may feed us a temporary ego boost, more often than not we’ll end up feeling worse about ourselves and resenting others.
The ‘ugly’ truth is, it’s extremely hard to ‘win’ when we play the comparison game: thanks to mass media and the internet, once we’re on the lookout for people who’re prettier or more successful or more popular, we’re bound to find scores of them (thanks to photoshop, good lighting, smart posing… you know the score)… But we’re not doing any justice to our unique gifts and contributions by stacking them up against what we believe others to have.
But what are we to do if looking at other people’s glamorous holiday photos or hearing about yet another friend receiving a promotion makes us feel like our successes and achievements pale in comparison with those of our peers?
Kick the comparison habit and start appreciating your own value more by making the following five adjustments…

1. Realise that comparisons are fundamentally unfair
The problem with the comparisons we make between ourselves and other people is that most of the time we’re comparing what can’t truly be compared. We’re all unique: no one has the exact same combination background, life experiences, challenges we’ve faced, influences and so on… How could we expect everyone to ‘progress’ at the same pace or ‘accomplish’ the same life goals at the same time, when everyone is walking a one-of-a-kind path?
Many times, we also end up overestimating other people’s strengths and underestimating our own: we may see idealised versions of other people and make unconscious assumptions about them, forgetting that everyone has their share of flaws and difficulties. True, the ‘highlight reels’ we see on social media often make people’s lives look amazing, but while most of us wouldn’t share struggles and difficulties publicly on social media, it sadly doesn’t mean they’re not there…
2. Transform comparison into inspiration
See someone living the life you want? Instead of taking it as evidence that you’re ‘behind’ in life and using their accomplishments as a stick to beat yourself with, look at their achievements as signposts: find inspiration from these people and learn everything you can about how they got there. You’re looking at a living proof that what you want is indeed possible, achievable and potentially within your reach.
3. Examine your motivations
If you haven’t ticked a particular box in ‘life’s to-do list’ while everyone else has, could it be that you’re actually not that passionate about it? Sometimes when we examine closely all those life goals we’ve always thought we wanted to achieve, we realise that some of them reflect somebody else’s wishes or society’s expectations more than our own desires.
Perhaps your true calling is to step away from the well-trodden path. Perhaps that long detour you took didn’t slow you down and take you further away from your goals, but instead allowed you to discover new goals that are more in alignment with who you are?
4. Compare if you must… against your past
If you find it difficult to quell the urge to compare, use it to your advantage and evaluate your achievements the fair way: against your past self. Not only does seeing how far we’ve come allow us to feel good about ourselves, but we don’t need to think less of anyone else to get the boost.
So celebrate each time you overcome a challenge or meet a personal goal – regardless of how your achievements stack up against those of others. Keep the focus on doing the best with what you’ve got, and set goals that align with who you want to be. Then [Read more…]

Clear negative energies from your home

Our home is a place where we expect to feel safe and nurtured, a sanctuary where we can retreat to when the world outside overwhelms us. But sometimes even our home environment can begin to feel ‘off’… Read on for some of the reasons we may sense negative energies in our living space and steps we can take to restore harmony.

1. Break the emotional ties to your clutter

Are there corners, shelves or cupboards in your home that you tend to avoid? Clutter doesn’t just get in the way of keeping our place tidy and organised – unused and unloved ‘stuff’ can also feel like a massive drain on our energy. And while the solution seems simple enough – get rid of the items you don’t need ‍– it’s rarely that easy because of the emotional attachments that we have to our belongings. We may hold onto books and magazines that we think we ‘should’ read when deep down we know we never will. We may keep gifts that we can’t find a use for because we fear we’ll hurt the giver’s feelings. We may cling to old art supplies or instruments because they represent the dreams and aspirations of our past selves, even though our interests have changed and evolved. Or we may be reluctant to give away an item we’ve barely used because we spent a lot of money on it…
Identifying and acknowledging the real reason we hold on to an item can be an effective first step in breaking its hold on us. And once the clutter’s gone, we’ll likely notice a massive shift in how our home feels.

2. Look after your relationships

Few things disrupt the harmony in our home as effectively as resentment between people who share a living space. We don’t always even notice the tension building until we suddenly snap at our significant other or the kids… If you’re feeling increasingly irritable, check in first with yourself. Being overworked and stressed out can make other people’s behaviour seem far more annoying than under normal conditions. If this is you, prioritise rest ASAP.

Sometimes there’s a genuine problem that needs addressing though in order to clear the negative energy. Nonviolent communication with its emphasis on communicating our needs without blame or criticism makes a great framework for working through conflicts. Starting a sentence “I’m feeling…” rather than “You always…” is far more likely to elicit a favourable response. Check out Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life to learn more.

Frequent hugs and “I love you’s” are also a great tool in keeping a home feeling loving and positive.

 

3. Indulge in a ritual to ‘reset’ your home energetically

Humans have used rituals to mark significant events since prehistoric times, and research has shown that performing a ritual – even a small and private one – can have very real and tangible effects on our wellbeing whether we’re dealing with loss, disappointment or a life change.

A ritual can help us shift the energy in our home too, be it after moving to a new house that doesn’t feel like ‘our space’ yet, or when we still feel stuck in the past after a significant change in our lives.

Make it fun or serious, elaborate or simple – what matters most is that your ritual feels meaningful to you. Be inspired by traditional energy cleansing methods such as sage smudging or singing bowls, incorporate crystals like clear quartz and black tourmaline, rearrange your furniture according the principles of Feng shui or simply light a candle in each room and meditate on your intentions, visualising your home filled with healthy, free-flowing energy.

Our favourite health-boosting teas

Want to de-stress? Energise? Sleep? With of the abundance of amazing teas available today, there’s always a brew that fits the bill, which is why we love a good cuppa any time of day. From green tea to herbal blends, different types of tea offer their own unique beauty and health-boosting benefits and can be enjoyed whatever the season: a steaming mug of tea is wonderfully warming in cold weather, while sipping on iced tea can give us a cooling hydration boost on a hot, sunny day. (Joe’s Tea Co. shows us how to chill tea for a refreshing thirst quencher as well as some lovely recipes here.)
And before you pop the kettle on remember…
Choosing organic teas grown without pesticides by companies that source their ingredients responsibly and look after their workers properly, ensures that we can enjoy tea that not only benefits ourselves but is great for the growers and the environment too.

1. Green tea
Green tea may be the most extensively studied and hyped cuppa on the block today, but for a good reason: regular consumption is said to protect us from various cancers, give our brains a boost, promote heart health and assist with weight loss. These and numerous other health benefits are linked to the high concentration of antioxidants, especially the ECGC, in green tea.
A great variety of green teas is available on the market, but matcha is thought to be of particularly high quality. Tip: using boiling water can release too many tannins and make your tea taste bitter, so let your water cool a bit before pouring.

2. Chamomile
Chamomile is a star ingredient in many herbal night-time blends thanks to its mildly sedative properties, but it’s also a great choice for those times when we need to soothe frayed nerves or relax after a particularly stressful day at work. Chamomile (German chamomile in particular) has been used for centuries to treat other ailments too from colds and upset stomachs to menstrual cramps, and research has supported many of these traditional uses. One study even suggested that regular chamomile tea consumption could help women live longer.

3. Peppermint
Are you about to succumb to the dreaded early afternoon energy slump? Quick, guzzle a mug of refreshing peppermint tea as a caffeine-free pick-me-up. Drinking peppermint tea can increase alertness and may even boost long-term memory. It’s also a top choice for bloating and nausea and can help us achieve a clearer complexion by slowing down oil production.

4. Rooibos
Originally an indigenous drink, rooibos is a caffeine-free, naturally sweet tasting tea brewed from the leaves of a South African plant. Also known as red bush tea, Rooibos has a high mineral and antioxidant content and is often consumed for healthy skin and hair as well as to boost the immune system and soothe the stomach.

5. Rosehip
Deliciously fruity, rosehip tea is probably best known as a great source of vitamin C, but it’s chock-full of other nutrients too. Made from the dried fruit of the rose plant, it’s believed to be especially beneficial and healing for skin, from soothing inflammation to slowing down aging.

 

Your essential after-sun care guide

Sunlight the natural mood booster – its bright warm rays bringing out the best in us, – so it’s no wonder that on bright summer days our parks and beaches fill up with people soaking up the sunshine, while in winter many of us jet off to warmer climes in search of sunny days. But whether we’ve just landed at the ultimate exotic destination or are catching some rays closer to home, we need to stay safe in the sun: we all know sunburn is not only uncomfortable but increases our risk of skin cancer, while overexposure to UV radiation is often the culprit behind premature skin aging.
It goes without saying that young children and people with very fair skin are most at risk of sun damage, but all of us need to take extra care between 11am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. If you’re out and about in the early afternoon sun, stay in the shade when you can, don a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and cover up with clothing or use sunscreen. You can take a bit more relaxed approach when the sun is less powerful though: sunlight on bare skin gives us a health-boosting dose of vitamin D, and research suggests that a little bit of sun is better for us than none.
If you do get burnt, get out of sunlight ASAP and follow the steps below for faster healing…

1. Cool down
Relieve the pain and heat of sunburn by taking a cool shower, or try an anti-inflammatory bath: add a cup of powdered oats or half a cup of baking soda to tepid water and soak up the soothing effects. Try adding a drop or two of an essential oil – peppermint and lavender both have pain-relieving properties – but be sure to check safety guidelines carefully before treating children.
For more localised burns, a cold compress works a treat. Wrap an ice pack (or a bag of frozen veg) in a towel and hold against the affected area, or dab with a flannel dipped in cold water.
2. Aloe Vera to the rescue
Squeezed straight from the plant or bought as a gel, Aloe Vera is your SOS skin superstar when it comes to after-sun care and for a good reason: it’s an effective moisturiser as well as a soothing remedy for inflammation and pain. Apply Aloe Vera gel to burnt or sun-sensitized areas up to three times a day until the skin has healed – you can up its cooling powers by storing it in the fridge in between applications.
3. Stay hydrated
Sunlight robs our skin of its precious moisture, and making sure we’re properly hydrated is even more important when we’re recovering from a sunburn. Aim to drink at least two litres of water per day, and snack on watermelon, cucumber and other foods with a high water content. Not to put a damper on anyone’s holiday, but it’s also best to skip cocktails and other alcoholic drinks (now that’s a reason to not get sunburnt if ever there was one)…
4. Eat your way to greater sun tolerance
It may not help much if your skin is already burnt, but upping our intake of certain nutrients can – alongside other measures – help prevent us getting sunburnt so easily. To build up your sun tolerance, go for a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (think flaxseed oil), the antioxidant lycopene (tomatoes and watermelon), vitamin E (nuts and seeds), vitamin C (citrus fruit & leafy greens) and beta carotene (bright yellow and orange veg like carrots and squash).
Processed foods and sugars on the other hand – you guessed it – make our skin more vulnerable to UV radiation.

Tip: make your own ice lollies from blended fruit if you’re missing ice cream…

Five ways to beat flu season naturally

Flu Season: you may have forgotten all about it or it may seem like it’s the only thing people are talking about, but when you feel that first scratchy tickle in your throat, that thought snowball comes rolling in fast ‘oh no, I can’t get ill now!’ Catching a cold or flu is never on our list of ‘to do’s’, but we can take steps in advance to prep our bodies and reduce our chances of succumbing to viral attacks.Who knows, you might even be able to slip under the radar this year…
1. Start with hygiene
So basic yet oh so easy to forget, but the number one advice your GP is likely to give you (and would probably like to sing from the rooftops) during flu season is to wash your hands frequently. Use soap and water, rubbing your hands for about 20 seconds (singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in your head twice takes about that time) – and teach your kids to do the same. Be mindful of surfaces that are likely to harbour viruses too – think probable culprits like doorknobs, computer keyboards and phones – and give those a clean on a regular basis.
For disinfecting on the go, try a homemade natural hand sanitiser with aloe vera and essential oils, like these two created by the Wellness Mama.
2. Give your body the best fuel
Feed your immunity
Help your body fend off viruses by giving it a daily dose of disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients – research shows that they play an important role in keeping our immune systems working optimally. Both are plentiful in fresh fruit and veggies, so up your daily intake by enjoying meals like green breakfast smoothies and hearty veg-packed soups. Probiotics have been shown to offer some immune-boosting benefits as well – try eating more live yoghurt or sauerkraut – while a recent study has hailed vitamin D as a cold and flu-busting hero. Supplementing with vitamin D has been shown to make the biggest difference for those left deficient through lack of sunlight – Northern Europeans take note!
Drink up
Remember to stay hydrated too. Water keeps our first line of defence against viruses – the mucous membrane of the nose – moist and working properly. One study discovered that going from drinking only three glasses of water to downing eight glasses per day can make us five times less likely to come down with the sniffles.
3. Schedule enough sleep and exercise
Sleep
Could snoozing just one extra hour per night cut down our chances of catching the common cold? A study comparing people who slept seven or less hours per night with those who slept eight hours or more found that the latter group were nearly three times less likely to develop a cold when exposed to a virus.
Exercise
Regular aerobic exercise doesn’t only keep you fit but can power-up your immunity too. Five or more days of physical activity per week (as opposed to a sedentary lifestyle) can cut down the number of colds we catch in a year as well as the severity of symptoms when we do succumb. Going for a jog outside might be the least appealing thing when the weather takes a turn for the worse, but you could head to your local pool for a few laps or take up a fast-paced dance class instead.

Exercise is also a great way to relieve long-term stress – which is a significant risk factor when it comes to vulnerability to cold-causing viruses.
4. Know your remedies
So it’s happened… Despite your best efforts, you‘ve come down with the dreaded flu. But the game is not yet over. While you’re unlikely to stop the illness in its tracks, there are things you can do to feel a bit more comfortable and maybe even recover faster.
Skip the ibuprofen
Many of us rush to buy over the counter medicines at the first sign of a cold or a flu, but treating fevers and aches with painkillers may not be altogether helpful. One study showed that taking fever-reducing meds can prolong illness caused by a flu virus while another demonstrated that we’re more likely to spread viruses to others when we pop pills to bring down a fever.

Consider natural remedies

If possible , it’s usually best to let a fever run its course (it is, after all, part of our body’s natural defence mechanism) and soothe our symptoms in other ways. Various natural remedies are available and many of us have our personal favourites. Scientific evidence in many cases remains inconclusive, but some of the remedies said to shorten the duration of colds include vitamin C supplements, garlic, ginger and Echinacea.
Curcumin (a component of turmeric) has shown promise as a flu treatment in a number of studies. To test it out for yourself, try adding some to your food or enjoy a mug of turmeric latte: heat up a cup of milk (try almond milk for a delicious alternative) and mix with a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon and a natural sweetener like maple syrup to taste.
5. Rest your body and mind
Put your feet up
We may be eager to get on with our tasks even when we’re ill, but we’ll give our bodies a better chance to clear infections faster when we rest – trying to do too much could even make our illness more severe. So take a nap, grab a novel you’ve been meaning to read or check what’s new on Netflix, and get back to those projects once you’re fighting fit again.
Drink up – again
If staying properly hydrated is important for preventing colds, it’s also true for recovery. It’s especially important if you have a fever, so keep a bottle of water handy or sip on herbal teas. If you haven’t got too much of an appetite, go for clear soups and broths to give you some calories as well as added fluids.
Meditate for comfort
While meditation may not actually wipe away our aches and pains, it can nonetheless help us cope better with cold and flu symptoms. A study that looked at the effects of a meditation practice on episodes of cold and flu reported that people who practice mindfulness find their quality of life better during bouts of illness compared to people who don’t. (Sometimes we wonder if there’s anything meditation isn’t good for…)

Wellness warriors we admire

In need of an attitude boost or a good dose of ‘I can do it’? There are few things more inspiring than real life stories of people who have transformed their lives, turned adversity into opportunity and ignored limitations. We’re shining the light on some of our favourite wellness warriors – we challenge you not to feel uplifted by their stories!
1.Tao Porchon-Lynch
The autobiography of Tao Porchon-Lynch, Dancing Light: The Spiritual Side of Being Through the Eyes of a Modern Yoga Master, is a tale of wonder. Born on a ship on the English Channel, Tao made splashes in her early life by marching with Mahatma Gandhi, helping Jews escape during World War II, modelling for Coco Chanel and performing in cabarets as well as on the big screen alongside Elizabeth Taylor.
What this amazing lady has done later in her life is no less awe-inspiring. Aged 98, Tao is showing no signs of slowing down. Living by her motto “There is nothing you cannot do”, she’s a Guinness World Record holder as the oldest yoga teacher in the world, a competitive ballroom dancer and a wine connoisseur. If you’ve ever wanted solid proof that age need not define us or how we live our lives, remember Tao and her secret of living a joyful life:
“In my head I’m still in my 20’s, and I have no intention of ever growing up.”
2. Jody Shield
Jody Shield’s life changed for good when she boarded a plane to South America in 2009 having quit her well-paid job in advertising. Her journey ultimately led her back to the UK and to becoming a well-loved speaker, author, wellbeing consultant and a meditation ambassador dedicated to helping people heal their emotional wounds and lead more joyful and fulfilled lives.
Jodi’s book LifeTonic draws from her training in multiple self-development techniques to help us overcome negative patterns. Having banished inner demons of her own with the help of the tools she calls tonics, Jodi is an inspiration to anyone who longs to change their life but feels nervous about taking the next step.
3. Kris Carr
Looking at her radiant smile, it’s hard to believe that Kris Carr has lived with a rare incurable stage-4 cancer for over a decade. This prolific author and speaker turned her scary diagnosis into the beginning of a health journey that has been an inspiration to countless people. She calls herself a cancer thriver, and with their message of optimism, her ‘Crazy, Sexy’ books and documentary have reached a worldwide audience.
Kris believes that living with an illness and being healthy don’t have to be mutually exclusive and advocates a balanced approach to healing that includes both Western medicine and lifestyle changes. She is enthusiastic about what she calls a plant-passionate diet and is no stranger to juicing greens, but her core message is to practice regular self-care and live as joyful and full a life as possible – a message we’ll happily get behind.
4. Jessamyn Stanley
Clearly a fabulous force to be reckoned with, Jessamyn Stanley became a yoga starlet and a body positivity advocate by accident. After she started posting photos of her personal progress on the yoga mat, she found to her surprise that her pics had gone viral – people were loving the positive example she was setting. As a plus-sized yoga enthusiast, Jessamyn is showing us that the benefits of yoga are for everyone, regardless of body shape and size.
She now teaches yoga classes and spreads her empowering message through her book Every Body Yoga. She credits her yoga practice for her ability to have broken through many mental and emotional barriers and urges us all to focus on how we feel rather than how we look when we hit the mat – sound advice, we think.
5. Sophie Gray
Self-love is a topic close to our own hearts, so we’re excited to bring your attention to the work of Sophie Gray. Sophie hasn’t always loved herself or enjoyed looking in the mirror, but over time she has found practical tools that have helped her become kinder and more loving towards herself. Now her simple daily wellness habits are helping others do the same.
If you’ve ever felt that you’d be able to love yourself more if only you reached a certain goal (be it related to money, weight or relationships), Sophie is here to tell you that that there’s absolutely no reason to delay appreciating and adoring ourselves – in fact, it’s a must for living our happiest, healthiest life. Becoming your own best friend may not be the easiest task to take on, but it’s one of the most worthwhile goals we could set for ourselves.