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Top Health Benefits Of Spending Time Outdoors
The sun shines on your skin. You close your eyes and feel your skin cells come to life like a salsa dancer on an overpacked dance floor. You sink into your chair and every thought melts away like a dripping snow cone.
Being outside whether for your daily dog walk, to get your tan on, or playing your favourite outdoor sport, can have a hypnotic-like effect on our mind, body and soul.
These days we are inundated with mental health information and online influencers urging us to get outside and enjoy what mother nature gave us. But why? What’s actually behind the brouhaha of the benefits of getting outside?
When we look beyond the magical properties of nature’ we find there are a few key factors at play.
Yes we’re referring to movement and not physical exercise. Exercise can often be a scary word because we all have our preconceived notions about what it means and how we do it. So the key factor here is getting out to get moving. Whether you’re out for a leisurely stroll, tossing a frisbee at the park, or canoeing at Dow’s Lake, you’re not binge watching another television series on the couch, and that’s what counts. The allure of the outdoors, especially when it’s warm out, reduces the barrier to getting excited about going out and getting more movement.
Opportunity for connection
Even if physical distancing restrictions are in place, being outdoors gives us another way to connect with friends and family. Whether we take the time to stop and chat with a neighbour, research shows that even being around others without interacting can help to reduce feelings of isolation. Isolation is found to be one of the key contributors to poor mental health.
The power of Vitamin D
As Canadians we spend a lot of time indoors. This means that we get less exposure to sunlight. When we get less exposure to sunlight, our body doesn’t produce as much Vitamin D. Beyond absorbing Calcium, various research findings show that there is a link between levels of Vitamin D in the body and experience of low mood or Depression.
So just by throwing on your runners and stepping outside you’re taking literal and metaphorical steps towards boosting your mood.
Focusing on the present is easier
When you’re outdoors there’s so many different ways to engage our senses; birds chirping, the bright colours of growing flowers, the aromas of a BBQ hard at work. With these natural attention grabbers, we can easily attune our focus to what we notice around us. Being present, or mindful, is not about meditation, it’s about keeping your attention in the here and now. This becomes easier to do when we get outside. Quick how to: Pick a spot to observe and try to notice what you see, hear smell, feel and can possibly taste.
Less tech temptation
Being in the present moment is easier when we are not surrounded by the pings of our electronic devices. Being outside and leaving the tech at home reduces distraction while trying to engage your senses in nature.Doing this connects us to our roots of humanity and the natural world around us. When we get outside, we reduce the temptation to scroll, snap or tweet (assuming you haven’t brought your laptop with you).
Research shows that all these factors have a significant impact on our mental, physical and spiritual health. The context of being outside (regardless of the weather) is what allows all these elements to naturally come together for a one stop shop of wellness.
Natural Summer Skin Care
A change in season can affect the health of our mind, body and especially our skin. Winter often brings extreme dryness, and with summer comes sun damage. Even excessive heat or air conditioning can affect the health of our skin.
In a previous post we discussed why protecting this external organ from UV rays is so important, but what about caring for damaged or already sunburned skin? Of course diet plays a large role (try eating these 3 foods), but there are things that can be done topically to heal, soothe and nourish our body's largest organ.
Heal sunburned skin
We are all familiar with aloe vera gel for sunburns, but did you know that typical drugstore options are far from pure and natural? Many contain added colours and fragrances. Yes, that’s right - aloe vera gel is not actually green! Here at Kardish we like Lily of the Desert First Aid Gelly because it is made from certified organic aloe vera and contains no parabens. Studies have shown that aloe vera can reduce healing time by up to six days when compared to using vaseline gauze.
Heal damaged skin
Whether you are dealing with damaged skin from years of tanning, simple irritation or general skin sensitivity, it’s important to treat our skin with care. Using a gentle exfoliant like the Andalou Konjac Facial Sponge is a great place to start. Simply soak the sponge in water, add optional cleanser and massage over the face and neck. When it comes to moisturizing damaged skin, sea buckthorn oil, when used topically has been shown to rejuvenate the skin and heal wounds.
Heal scarred skin
Feeling self-conscious about showing skin because of scarring or skin discolouration? Derma e Scar Gel combines an array of botanical extracts to help soften, smooth, and diminish the appearance of scars. While there have been no scientific studies to prove this method works, some people have also seen success using a small amount of coconut oil.
Just avoid the damage
Everyone wants the perfect tan this summer, but it can come at a cost. Tanning beds have been shown to increase our risk for skin cancer, drugstore self tanners can be filled with harsh ingredients and too long spent in the sun without pertection can be hazardous. Try EcoTan's sunless, organic, vegan self tanner! It's a brand new product for Kardish* and it's made with organic ingredients like aloe vera, avocado and rose geranium.
*Only sold at Blossom Park, Orleans, Barrhaven, and Kanata.
The skin is often a mirror that reflects what is happening inside our bodies. Support the health of your skin through proper hydration, consuming nutrient dense foods and taking part in regular exercise. Remember that caring for your skin must happen throughout your lifetime, as it can take years for damage to fully appear. Avoid tanning beds, tanning oils and harsh beauty products. Bask in the natural glow of health and happiness!
How To Grow (And Use) Aloe Vera In Your Home
If you’re moving towards using more natural products in your home, why not grow your own?
One of the most useful natural products you can grow in your own home is aloe vera. A lush succulent with long, thick branches, aloe vera is known for its many useful properties.
It also happens to be one of the simplest houseplants to grow. Aloe vera can be found in most garden centres and requires only basic care to thrive indoors. To get started, plant your aloe vera in a pot equipped with a drainage hole and place it in an area that receives partial or indirect sunlight for at least six hours per day.
Aloe vera plants are accustomed to arid climates, so they require only infrequent watering. However, when the top third of the soil is dry—about every two to three weeks—water your plant thoroughly.
Once your aloe vera plant is mature and thriving, you can harvest branches and use the gel inside for various beauty and medicinal needs. To harvest, simply cut off a branch from the outside of the plant, slicing close to the stem. Next, use a knife (or your fingers) to separate the outer skin and then save the inner gel.
Treat a sunburn
Sunburn treatment is undoubtedly the most common use for aloe vera. The next time you get too much sun, apply the gel from your aloe vera directly to the burn to cool and soothe it. Don’t be afraid to be generous with it!
Clear up acne
Aloe vera gel has been shown to clear up mild to moderate acne by reducing inflammation and hydrating the skin. Application is straightforward—simply smooth the gel directly onto your skin after cleansing.
Clean your teeth
Believe it or not, aloe vera can also make for an effective mouthwash! First, mix the gel with water, then use the solution to rinse your mouth. Because the plant is antibacterial and antiseptic, it has a similar effect to mouthwash. As an added bonus, the anti-inflammatory properties can also soothe inflamed gums.
Wash and condition your hair
If you’re looking to cleanse your hair naturally without stripping its natural oils, aloe vera is your new best friend. Because of its moisturizing properties, it also doubles as a conditioner, making it a stellar 2-in-1 hair care system.
Soothe bug bites
If itchy bites are driving you up the wall, aloe vera will come in handy. Apply liberally to affected areas and enjoy instant relief from your symptoms.
Gel your hair
A dime-sized amount of aloe vera gel can be more than enough to define curls and add volume to any hair texture. Similarly, it can be used as a brow gel to add colour and definition.
Keep produce fresh
Using aloe on fruits and vegetables can help keep them fresh for longer by blocking the growth of bacteria on the surface. Coat the outside of your produce in aloe vera gel to preserve them for longer on the counter or in the fridge.
How To Fight Seasonal Depression Naturally
It’s that time of year again. As the days get shorter and darker, many of us are starting to feel the effects of the winter blues. And with the pandemic keeping everyone at home more than usual, this year feels particularly daunting.
Some people have an official diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder triggering symptoms of depression, but so many others simply know they have a tendency to feel a little down during the chilly months. The darkness and isolation during the winter—especially in northern countries such as Canada—can cause fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, and difficulty concentrating, among other symptoms.
If you are affected by the winter blues, these tips can help you combat the issue naturally.
Take vitamin D
Seasonal depression can sometimes be a symptom of low levels of vitamin D in your blood since vitamin D comes from sunlight. To stay on top of it, consider adding a daily vitamin D supplement to your family’s routine.
On a cold winter day, the last thing you likely want to do is strap on your boots and head outdoors—especially if you’re feeling seasonal malaise. However, spending time outdoors is a proven mood booster. Sunlight provides your body with an extra hit of vitamin D, and it also helps reset your internal sleep/wake cycle, which can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Try light therapy
Research shows that light therapy—aka phototherapy—is an effective natural treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Consider investing in a light therapy box, which emits fluorescent light that imitates the effect of sunlight on your body. Sitting in front of a light box for 30 minutes a day is proven to help the majority of adults who experience some form of seasonal blues.
Staying active is always tough in the winter, but it’s particularly tricky this year, with so many gyms closed due to the pandemic. However, exercise can make a significant impact on mental health, and it’s vital that you integrate it into your routine to combat seasonal depression. As the weather starts to cool down, make a plan to integrate 30 minutes of activity into your day 2-3 times a week. And remember, there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy during the winter! Consider dusting off those cross-country skis in the garage, checking out a local outdoor skating rink, or even building a good old-fashioned snowman.
Don’t forget to socialize
We know that it’s also going to be a tough season for socializing. However, experts say that interacting with others is one of the best remedies for seasonal depression because it forces you to expand your attention and thoughts beyond yourself. As the temperature drops, schedule meetups with family and friends to spend time together regularly in a socially distanced way. Events could include virtual chats, winter walks, or other safe outdoor activities. And remember, your family and friends could be suffering from the winter blues too—so show them some love!
Green Beaver's Natural Sunscreen
It's starting to get warmer ??So let's have some fun in the sun.
But, safety comes first! Why choose a natural sunscreen? ?
Natural sunscreens are simple. They contain the minerals zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to create a physical barrier on your skin which block and reflect harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Green Beaver's sun-care products are natural, biodegradable and chemical-free. Protect your skin, without the sticky residue and harmful chemicals, when you have fun in the sun!
Everything You Need To Kickstart Your Skincare Routine
Everyone wants great skin, but the world of skincare can be intimidating, to say the least. With so many products out there to choose from, where do you start?
Caring for your skin doesn’t have to be frustrating. In fact, once you develop your own routine and find products that work for you, it can be a fantastic form of daily self care.
Ready to give it a go? Here’s our quick guide to starting your skincare routine from scratch.
First, clean your face with a high-quality cleanser that suits your skin type. Cleansers fall into a few different categories, each with a unique focus.
Foaming formulas are ideal for oily or acne prone skin, because they are stellar for breaking down dirt and clearing out your pores. Oil cleansers, meanwhile, are perfect for sensitive skin, thanks to their lightweight feel and moisturizing quality. However, if you have dry skin, look for a cream or lotion—they’re formulated with emollients, which help to hydrate while also cleaning.
Toner isn’t a mandatory step, but it can help remove any impurities after cleansing and add extra nutrients to your skin in the process. Plus, toners just feel nice on your face.
If you’re using toner, the key is to smooth it on immediately after cleansing. And just like you did with your cleanser, select the product that best suits your skin type for the best results.
Next, apply any serums you wish to use to target specific issues. There are serums to hydrate, brighten, tighten, fix dark spots—the list goes on. If you don’t have a problem in mind, try using a general antioxidant serum to protect your skin from daily wear and tear.
Keep in mind that many serums aren’t designed to be used twice per day. Take a close look at the label to find out if your product works best when applied in the morning, evening, or both.
You don’t want to skip this vital element of any skincare routine. Moisturizer is essential for hydrating and softening, something your skin needs more and more help with as you age. However, although moisturizing is often associated with aging, it’s a crucial step for everyone.
Moisturizers come in different textures for different skin types. As general rules of thumb, dry skin loves a cream, sensitive skin prefers a balm, oily faces like a gel formula, and normal skin enjoys a lotion.
If you only pick one tip to follow, make it this one. Everyone—yes, everyone— should protect their skin with sunscreen year-round. Not only does it prevent lines, wrinkles, and imperfections from forming, but it’s your best bet for preventing skin cancer.
Experts suggest wearing SPF 30 daily, applying at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. An easy way to work sunscreen into your new skin routine is to seek out a moisturizer with sunscreen built in.
And that’s it. You have everything you need to nurture the glowy, healthy skin of your dreams. Enjoy your new routine!