Top Tips For Healthy Winter Feet

Feet with red nail polish bursting through blue paper

With the sparkling joy of festive markets, New Year celebrations and Glühwein now over, it’s time to dress up in your winter coat, your fabulous scarf, pull on those wellies and embrace winter! 

Kick through fallen leaves in the park, splash through puddles and walk through the icy snow. But what does this really mean for your feet and footwear? What is lurking?

Winter months see an increase in hygiene related foot conditions, which is primarily due to us keeping our feet enclosed in socks, tights, shoes and boots giving rise to warm sweaty feet!  Feet can become soaked through from rain, slush and snow.  The skin becomes soggy and these moist conditions can give rise to fungal and bacterial infections of both the skin and nails.

Footwear can also take forever to dry out and re-wearing of damp footwear can have a knock on effect on the skin as well as ruining the shoes…

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How Fast You Walk Is More Telling Than You Think

Walking

Slow walkers commonly feature in round-ups of pet peeves, but those who move at a slower pace could have more to worry about than simply annoying the general population. According to new research, the speed at which we walk could reflect how quickly we are ageing. 

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina assessed the gait measurement of just under 1000 people in New Zealand, who were born in 1970 and had had their pace of walking documented when they were three years old. The results showed that slower walkers had aged quicker than those who walked faster, particularly in terms of their brain, lungs, teeth and immune systems. If that wasn’t enough, the slower walkers also looked older.

“Doctors know that slow walkers in their seventies and eighties tend to die sooner than fast walkers of the same age,” said senior author Terrie E. Moffitt from Duke University. “But this study covered the period from the preschool years to midlife, and found that a slow walk is a problem sign decades before old age.”

Not all is lost though, as researchers believe that lifestyle choices would have played a role in the ageing process. For example, those who have chosen not to exercise are likely to have aged quicker and there are plenty of studies to back-up the argument that working out regularly can help keep you mentally and physically healthier. Just last week a study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology highlighted that exercise can help those over 65 years who experience symptoms of depression.

What else can you do? Well, it goes without saying that eating a balanced diet and keeping your stress levels down are also essential to fending off premature ageing. Shabir also recommends keeping your antioxidant levels up to counteract the damage caused by free radicals. Astaxanthin is 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C and 500 times more powerful than green tea. Intrigued? Read Shabir’s full guide to the antioxidant, here.

Those who are open to more experimental methods for slowing down the ageing process might be interested in the ticking technique. Earlier this year, scientists at Leeds University discovered that ‘tickle’ therapy or ticking the ear with a small electrical current can help to rebalance the nervous system of 55 year olds. It might not be for everyone, but if you’re worried about your walking pace then a quick tickle might help in a small way to counterbalance…

Do We All Need To Be More Extrovert?

ambivert

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Since the dawn of time, or at least since the psychologist Carl Jung created the two camps in the 1920s, you’ve either been one or the other. Extroverts are typically deemed as outgoing and very sociable, while introverts are seen as shy and reticent. The former are often touted as more successful and the ‘better’ camp. A new study revealed last week added weight to this assumption.  Read More…

How To Create Wellness Rituals Using The Five Elements

four symbolic semi circular image of the elements of earth, water, air and fire

When we hear the word nature, our minds usually revert to the classic green scenes of parks, gardens and abundant forests. If our minds are in a particularly expansive place, we might introduce mental images of the beach, ocean and perhaps a little memory detour of a recent trip to a garden centre.

We rarely think of nature as the elements of earth, air, fire and water, but they serve as such a powerful way to reconnect to nature. Stemming from ancient Greece, Ayurvedic teachings, spiritual schools of thought and nature-based practices such as Wicca and Neo-Paganism — all of which extol the benefits of incorporating these elements into our daily lives as tools to optimise our health and wellbeing. It’s not only the zodiac signs that are grouped into the four elements, but also tarot cards, herbs, crystals and colours.

There is a plethora of Instagram accounts dedicated to plants, while crystals are infiltrating the high street and more yoga classes seem to be held in local parks than in actual studios. We’re all trying to reconnect and embrace nature – and you don’t need to hug a tree to do it.  If you’re ready to reacquaint yourself and reap the benefits of unplugging, here’s your cheat sheet for adding the elements to your self-care, wellness rituals and physical space.

Earth

From the soil under our feet to rocks, trees, seeds and everything in between, earth provides us with our foundation. It’s a life source and represents the emotions we have that tie into our need for support and stability. Utilising this element is really great for keeping you grounded when life throws you off balance. It’s also helpful for the times when you’re stressed about money and material goods and need to regain a sense of calm and security.

To connect with this element, you can head to your local garden centre, walk around your house barefoot and go for long walks and picnics in the park. You can also represent earth around your home with crystals such as hematite, diffusing vetiver and patchouli essential oils and having a mini bowl of natural salt on your coffee table.

Air

It only takes a moment to look up at the sky, hear the wings of a bird flapping and feel the strength of a gust of wind as it turns your umbrella inside out, to understand that air is all around us. Associated with our mental landscape and communication, it’s an ever-changing and oxygen-containing force of nature.

Working with this element is a key component in your wellness practice as its both restorative and cleansing. The obvious and easiest way to connect to the air is via your breath. Take a quick breathing break in the day for an energy boost and to detox your mind when you’re overthinking. You can simply focus on each in and out breath or follow a breathing pattern of inhaling for three counts, holding for three and exhaling for three. To represent this element in your self-care rituals, you can do a smoke cleanse to clear out any stagnant or unwanted energies with bundles of herbs such as rosemary, thyme or mugwort and allow the smoke to pass through your space.

Fire

If you’ve ever stared at a flame for long enough, you’ll know how intoxicating fire can be. It comes in equal measures of transformation as it allows us to cook and feed ourselves to the danger that it brings with it. It’s an element that needs to be treated with reverence. If you’re a fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) you’ll know that there’s an intense passion and creative energy associated with fire. It’s governed by the sun and is associated with alchemy and strength.

A scented candle can change the mood of a space in an instant and you can take your nightly candle routine to the next level by spending some time gazing at the candle flame. Protect your eyes by softly focusing at the base of the flame, spending a few minutes here to feel a sense of peace and calm. It’s a great way to meditate if you find it hard focusing on your breath alone. Bring your loved ones into the ritual with a late night bonfire where you can spend some time writing out what you want to release and let go of and burn the papers together. There’s also non-fire related ways to bring some fiery magic into your life. Carry red jasper, garnet or carnelian crystals for when you need a dose of energy and motivation.

Water

Forget the aisles filled with every variety of mineral, filtered, spring and sparkling water that we have at our disposable, and let’s go back to basics. We simply can’t survive without it and on an energetic level, water corresponds to our emotional landscape, the moon, our intuition and dreams. It’s at once calming and soothing, but there’s also a sense of release when we cry and feeling of power in the rain, storms and its ability to put out fires.

The wonderful thing about this element, is that it’s so easy to add in to your everyday routines. Indulge in a ritual bath and pay attention to how the water feels on your skin and fill the tub with your favourite bath salts, oils and dried flowers. Of course, swimming and taking a soak in the ocean is a preferable option but your local pool is also a great way to utilise this element if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to self-soothe. Another way to turn water into a ritual is by going all-out on your next cup of tea and doing a herbal tea meditation. From the moment you boil the kettle to the very last sip, just take your time and treat it like a mindfulness practice. Notice the sound that the kettle makes as it boils, savour every sip of tea, paying attention to how it tastes, the temperature and how it makes you feel.

Spirit

The bonus fifth element is everything that we’re made of and everything that’s around us, we’re all energy and we’re all connected, so as great as all these tools are, you’re the one who brings the magic. To give all of these elemental rituals a bit of a super-boost, deepen the relationship you have with yourself first. Take the time to add some stillness into your daily life by closing your eyes so you can open up your third eye (the centre of intuition and insight), even if you only have five minutes. Tune into your intuition by regularly checking in with your mind and body before making decisions. Do you get the same filter coffee every morning? Check in and ask if that’s actually what your body wants and trust your gut to guide you. Whether you’re working with crystals or doing a smoke cleanse, you need to set an intention first as that’s where the real power and benefits come from.

Giselle La Pompe-Moore is the founder of Project Ajna and offers one-to-one healing sessions that are rooted in spirituality, mysticism, wellness and self-care.

Summer Sadness Is More Common Than You Think

Summer Sadness

We might be in the throes of one of the hottest, sunniest summers in history, but new research suggests that millions of Brits are unknowingly suffering with anxiety and depression. While we should be reaping the rewards of surplus serotonin (happy hormone) levels, according to a survey carried out by treatment clinic Smart TMS, 33% of us feel less confident than we used to and over 20% of us are sleeping more than we need to. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) might be something you usually associate with the cold, dark months of winter, but summer SAD is more common than you think. Read More…