3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally – Part Two

So far, this video series is just not going to plan.

First I was late releasing video #1, then I forgot to link to the cheat sheet… and now there have been multiple problems with video #2.

I thought a three-part video series with a great topic – 3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally – was such a fabulous idea.

And I thought I was so clever recording video #2 before I left for Corfu, so that I could edit it during afternoon siesta.

But modern technology had different ideas.

When I’ve came to edit the video, there was a problem with the sound recording and my voice was barely audible. And trust me, the topic of video #2 is so juicy you really don’t want to miss a word!

So… I got back to the UK, arrived home, and… promptly fell asleep due to a day’s worth of travelling.

But the next morning I awoke, refreshed and ready to go. My idea being to quickly re-record video #2 of our three-part series and get it out to you the same day.

Of course, as in most such circumstances, modern technology laughed in my face! Yes, my video editing software crashed… mid edit. Gah!

But better late than never, isn’t that how the saying goes…

So let’s get onto today’s article and the second video of our first ever video series – 3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally.

You may be pleased to know, since our first video, I have gotten myself a nifty little webcam with much better image and sound quality, so no more of the issues we had with the last video (that’s something, at least!).

Today’s topic is a real biggie! Here, we’re really getting down to the good stuff.

Enjoy!

To accompany today’s video, I’ve also put together a little Cheat Sheet to help you get to grips with today’s topic. You can find it here.

As I mentioned in the video, I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s topic, so go ahead and leave a comment below.

If you missed video #1, take a look here.

Until next time,

Much love from Sami x

 

 

We’re almost ready to open our doors and welcome our first guests into The Retreat; Love Yourself Naturally’s online wellness retreat.The Retreat

Will you be one of them?

When I was in a constant battle with my skin and my acne, I didn’t make the link between what was showing on the surface of my skin and what was going on inside my body. It took me many years (and much expense) to figure out the key steps to healing my acne for good.

I don’t want anyone to be in that same position – spending months and months, and literally thousands of pounds on treatments and products which weren’t really helping.

That’s why I’ve created The Retreat – an online holistic sanctuary where you will be guided through my key steps to healing your skin for good… in just six weeks.

Click the image above to find more information, and if you have any questions, go to the “contact” section up there on the menu bar, and send us your query.

3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally – Part One

I know I promised in my last article that I’d share this video last Thursday, and I’m a few days late.

What can I say… I set foot off the plane in a warm and beautiful country and all thoughts of work evaporated from my mind as I automatically switched to Relax Mode.

I took my eye off the ball, and I apologise.

So… onto today’s article and the first video of our first ever video series – 3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally.

Now I know it’s not perfect – it sounds a bit like there’s an aeroplane getting ready to take off somewhere near by, it goes a bit blurred near the end, and I’m sure I can hear the cockerels crowing in the background… but in this video I’m sharing a technique which will help you get glowing skin, as well as LOADS of other great benefits too!

Enjoy!

To accompany today’s video, I’ve also put together a little Cheat Sheet to help you get to grips with today’s topic. You can find it here.

As I mentioned in the video, I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s topic, so go ahead and leave a comment below.

See you next week,

 

 

As you probably know by now, I battled with my skin for many years. When I had acne, I hated having my photo taken, and there was no way I would ever have gotten in front of a video camera.

The RetreatHow things have changed.

I would love to help things change for you too.

If you’re finding it a daily battle to heal your skin of acne, eczema, psoriasis or other skin problem, then I invite you to join The Retreat, Love Yourself Naturally’s online wellness retreat.

Click the image above to find more information, and if you have any questions, go to the “contact” section up there on the menu bar, and send us your query.

3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally

The RetreatThe Retreat is coming!

It’s been a good while in the making, but we’re almost there… we’re almost ready to open our doors!

I have to admit, I’ve been finding it very difficult to keep all of my skincare tips and tricks to myself.

So I want to tell you about our brand new, first ever, video series… 3 Secrets to Heal Your Skin Naturally.

I’ve been wanting to film this for you for quite some time, so after months of being patient and waiting for the right time, I’m super excited to share this with you now!

Well… not quite now… you’ll have to wait ’til next week… but I was just too excited to keep it to myself any longer!

In each episode of this three-part video series, I’m going to share one of my most effective secrets to help you get the healthy skin you dream of. 

This is the sort of stuff I usually only share with paying clients, so you seriously don’t want to miss it! 

If you’d like me to personally deliver the first of these videos to your inbox next week, followed by the second video the next week, and so on… all you have to do is join our Love Yourself Naturally family

Until next week,

Much love from Sami x

 

 

To Preserve, Or Not To Preserve…

preservatives

…that is the very question we have been contemplating since the very birth of Freyaluna.

I think we’re all aware by now that there are some real nasties to be found in commercial skincare products.

Perhaps the most common of these, are the preservatives. And of these, perhaps the most common are the parabens.

Often seen on ingredients lists as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isoparaben, or Butylparaben, parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

They have been linked to possible carcinogenicity. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their report “Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in the Environment: Agents of Subtle Change?” reported that the parabens—methyl, propyl, butyl and ethyl displayed oestrogenic activity in several tests. It is a medical fact that oestrogen stimulates breast cancer and anything absorbed through the skin may be as high as 10 times the concentration of an oral dose.


There have been no successful studies to show that repeated and prolonged use of paraben is safe. It is a low-cost synthetic preservative for which many large cosmetic brands have tried to fund studies to prove that prolonged usage is safe; all studies failed. Parabens are used in over the counter personal products as a preservative to extend the shelf life of the product. These chemicals can be found in face, body moisturizers, body wash, and cleansers.

But here is something I’ve seen stated as the plain and simple truth…

There can be no safe cosmetic or non-toxic skin care product without having some way to preserve the product. Not only does the preservative extend the shelf life of the product, but even more important, it helps to prevent health-destroying pathogens forming. So, to control microbial growth and to stabilise any skincare product, some form of preservative needs to be used.

Well, yes and no…

In the past, here at Freyaluna, we have relied on well-formulated products and small-scale production runs to ensure the quality of the products without the need for preservatives.

You see, we feel products are at their best, at their freshest. So we produced our products in small batches, as and when we needed them. This meant that our customers were getting the best possible benefits from them.

But, with time, Freyaluna has grown and still continues to grow, and so we must adapt to meet customer demands. And we felt we couldn’t continue in that way for much longer.

It’s all about finding the right preservative and the right balance. 

You need to include enough preservative to control microbial growth, yet not too much so as to cause allergies, dermatitis or any side effects.

Preservative science has come a long way in even just the eight years since Freyaluna was launched, and we have recently made the choice to introduce a preservative system – the most natural and eco-friendly (while still being super-effective) that we have found - to our products.

But instead of just slipping it into the ingredients list and hoping you wouldn’t notice, we wanted to let you know the reasoning behind our decision.

You may have noticed, if you’ve bought a product from us recently that the ingredients list may have a few new additions that look like this - Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Glycerine, Sorbic Acid. Nicknamed “preservative-eco”, this novel composition of this antimicrobial blend offers broad spectrum protection in a diverse range of products whose ingredients are all well accepted in a wide range of personal care products, working against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, yeast and moulds.

We have chosen preservative-eco for a number of reasons, both from a manufacturing point of view and from an end-user (customer) point of view…

  • Non-paraben, non-formaldehyde, non-isothiazolone based preservative system
  • Has wide global regulatory acceptance
  • Broad spectrum activity on bacteria, yeast and moulds
  • Suitable for use in oil-in-water, water-in-oil and anhydrous (non-water containing) formulas so compatible with a wide range range of skin, hair and sun care formulations
  • Safe to use in products with a wide range of pH values

To go a little more in-depth…

Benzyl alcohol is found in many plants, fruits, and teas, as well as essential oils like jasmine, hyacinth, and ylang-ylang.

Salicylic acid is derived from the bark of willow trees. It is actually beneficial to the skin because it helps to “chemically” exfoliate the skin (i.e. without scrubbing).

Glycerine occurs widely in nature, and was traditionally obtained from animal fat or tallow as a by-product of soap making, but is now be obtained from plants.

Sorbic acid is a natural organic compound used as a food preservative. It is sourced from the unripe berries of the rowan tree.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we are now producing in huge batches and leaving products to sit on the shelves for months or years. We still produce (slightly bigger) small batches and our quick turn-around means products are not sitting around for very long at all. We took the decision to add preservative to our products in order to help our customers get the best from our products.

However…

As with anything and everything in life, this will not work well for absolutely everyone.

We recently heard from a loyal customer whose daughter loves our Skin Support facial range. He has been buying our products for quite some months now and says “My daughter particularly likes your Skin Support line, even though she would certainly not describe her skin as “normal”, as it seems to suit her. She says it just feels nicer and has a kinder more comfortable feel on her skin than other organics she has tried which have often felt too harsh.”

Anyway, we received an email from him a week or so ago saying that his daughter cannot use any sort of glycol or alcohol – even those derived from plant sources, and so the benzyl alcohol in our new preservative system had unsettled her skin.

Of course, we were very sorry to hear about this – we are, after all, here to help women heal their skin! And so, the solution in this case, was to make up micro-batches without adding the preservative, specifically for this customer.

If you know that you have an intolerance to any of the ingredients within our preservative system, please contact us before ordering and we will discuss how we can help you.

You know, cos we’re nice like that!

Until next time,

Much love from Sami x

Three Steps to Luscious Locks

luscious locksI’ll be honest; hair care is not my subject of expertise.

I could talk to you for hours about your skin and give you all sorts of advice to help you reach skin health, but hair… I’m not that great with.

And to get really honest with you, my hair and I have a challenging relationship which is based on the idea that if neither of us does anything to upset the other then we’ll get through the day just fine.

This could be the reason why my hair is in its current state of dishevelment

We’re just starting to slowly break out of winter here in the UK, and boy has it been a stinking winter.

I’m sure it goes without saying that cold temps, what seemed like weekly wind and rain storms, lack of sunshine, heated styling tools, and indoor central heating is not a recipe for lustrous locks. My usually blonde hair is dull, dry, has fly-aways, and dare I say it… looks grey! My hair is feeling neglected and is showing the signs.

It’s time to be pro-active. It’s time to take matters into my own hands. It’s time to stop hiding and step up. My hair is screaming out for help and I’m answering that call.

Here’s my three-step plan to get the hair of your dreams…

1. Ditch the yucky stuff

I’m sure you all know by now that there are some nasty chemicals in commercial skincare products (I mean, I say it often enough!), and the same goes for your hair care products.

Mass-produced shampoos which you buy in shops are just detergents full of chemicals to strip your hair and scalp of dirt and oil – the most well-known being Sodium Laureth Sulphate, or SLS. You may have already heard some bad things about SLS… It was originally created for industrial use. When rinsed from the skin or hair, the product will have cleaned the area, but will also have taken moisture from the top layers of the skin or from the hair.

Another group of ingredients we hear about are silicones. These ingredients have no long-term benefits for your hair at all. Silicones simply coat the hair strands to make them appear smoother, less frizzy and shinier in the short term. Silicone build-up can cause your hair to look greasy.

I’ve looked at the harsh chemicals and ingredients lurking in beauty products before, so for more information, take a look at What’s really lurking in your toiletries cupboard.

So, what to do? You could go No-Poo (cleaning your hair without shampoo), or you could go low-poo – finding natural and organic shampoo and conditioner.

2. Leave the heat behind

I love warm sunny days where I can wash my hair and leave it to dry naturally. It just feels so much softer, and looks brighter and blonder.

So many of us use heated styling tools these days. Did you know, a third of all women — and even one in five men — own hair straighteners, and more than a quarter of us refuse to leave the house without first ironing our hair. And that’s not taking into account the hair dryers and curling tongs.

Hair is very tough, but any heat over 180C (which most straighteners and curling tongs reach easily) will damage the cuticle of the hair — the hard outer protective coating on each strand. Under the microscope, the cuticle looks like overlapping slates or scales. These should lie flat to provide a smooth, protective coating over the ‘cortex’; a twisted bundle of protein fibres which make up over 80 per cent of the hair and give it its internal strength and flexibility.

Repeated straightening causes a breakdown in the cuticle. The ‘slates’ start to lift and the rough, uneven surface exposes the cortex, allowing the fibres to unravel. This starts as split ends, but can reach all the way up the hair, causing it to break off.

What should you do? Reduce the heat and embrace your natural self! Start by giving your hair a “day off” from heated styling once a week, then try two days a week, then three…

3. Feed it!

hair maskWhen your hair is looking and feeling neglected and under-nourished, then it’s time to give something back. I love the results of a good hair mask but, sadly, rarely remember to indulge.

There are absolutely LOADS of recipes you could use to make a hair mask. Or you could just whip up something from ingredients you’ve got in your kitchen cupboard… which is what I did the other day.

Here’s what I used…

I mashed half a banana and then mixed it with 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp aloe vera gel, a splash of olive oil, and a few drops of chamomile essential oil. When all the ingredients were blending together well, I simply massaged it into my hair from root to tip and left it for an hour or so, with my hair wrapped in clingfilm (you could use a shower cap) and then a towel.

Afterwards, I rinsed the mask out as much as possible, then washed my hair as normal with low-poo products (note: if you’re using the no-poo cleaning method, leave out the olive oil – or any oil – as this is difficult to remove when using no-poo), and left it to dry naturally. Note: it helps if you gently comb your hair while wet, to get the bulk of the mask out.

It was quite amazing how instantly revived my hair looked and felt – so soft and shiny! Must remember to do this more often!

As I said, there are loads of other ingredients you could use… how about mashed avocado, coconut oil, raw egg, plain yoghurt, ground almonds, ground oatmeal… or if you want to get a bit more exotic, how about rhassoul mud, cosmetic clay, or even henna powder if you want to brighten your colour even more… the list goes on.

I’d love to hear if you have any other tips or tricks for keeping your hair healthy, especially if you have a secret recipe of a hair mask that you’d like to share! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time,

Much love from Sami x

 

 

P.S. Exciting news! The Retreat is coming soon! Can’t wait to share more with you when I can!

the retreat - coming soon

Say It With Roses

I’m sure there are not many who would argue if I were to say that the rose is the ultimate feminine flower. You only have to think about St. Valentine’s Day when it is customary for a man to gift his partner with a bouquet of roses, yet if a woman were to do the same for her man, it would be seen as rather odd. The scent of rose will also be found in many perfumes, soaps, and body care products.

There is a saying that roses are good for “the skin and the soul”, and they have a long tradition of medicinal use.

Rose was possibly the first plant to be distilled (i.e. to extract the essential oil), by the 10th-century Arab physician, Avicenna.

Roses have been used through the centuries to treat many ailments, they are a symbol of love and purity and are traditionally scattered at weddings to ensure a happy marriage, the fragrance is used to aid prayer, and, as I’ve already mentioned, in recent years rose fragrance has been added to perfumes, cosmetics and toiletries galore.

So why is rose a feminine flower?

I think it has to do with its healing properties.

You see, every plant has its own unique medicinal or healing properties, and the properties of rose are very useful to the fairer sex.

Here’s a quick look at those effect…

    • the fragrance of rose has a soothing effect on the emotions, particularly depression. It is said to “lift” the heart and ease stress
    • the scent of roses is also said to give a woman positive feelings about herself (and we could all use some of that from time to time!)
    • in skincare, rose is useful for all skin types, but is particularly good for those with mature, dry or sensitive skin
    • rose’s tonic and soothing qualities are helpful for inflammation, and is thought to be a good treatment for broken thread veins

I’m sure you’ll agree that those are all great benefits for women, but it’s when we look at rose’s actions within the body that we start to really see how it got its reputation as a feminine flower

    • rose is an excellent tonic for the womb – it can ease PMT and help to regulate the menstrual cycle
    • rose is also said to be helpful with sexual difficulties by soothing underlying tension or stress by triggering your body to release the “happy” hormone dopamine

Say it with roses… treat your Mum this Mother’s Day!

Mother's day 2014

Mother’s Day – Sunday 30th March – is fast approaching (in the UK, USA and Australia, don’t panic! Your Mother’s Day isn’t for a little while yet).

My Mum is ace! She’s always there for me when I need her – from the small stuff to the really big stuff.

This year, I’m going to treat her to all the benefits the rose has to offer – soothing and caring, stress-relief, and positive feelings about herself.

Our Mums do SO much for us!

So I want to help you to do the same for your Mum (or yourself!)…

In our Mother’s Day special, we’re offering 20% off our Stop & Smell the Roses bath and body range (click the image opposite to see the range).

You don’t need any codes, the price will automatically be reduced on our website.

This offer is open to absolutely anyone, and ends at midnight on 31st March.

Enjoy!

Much love from Sami x

 

 

Should “Alternative” Become Mainstream?

alternative medicineThe UK is a nation of pill-poppers.

One billion prescriptions were written in 2012.

That’s 2.7 million prescriptions every day.

That’s a 62% rise in the last decade.

That’s a lot of prescriptions.

That’s a lot of manufactured, synthetic drugs.

Drugs for heart disease top the bill. But others, like anti-depressants and diabetes medication are rising fast.

That’s good, right? I meant, people are getting the medication they need to make them feel better.

Well, yes and no…

It’s true that people are becoming more aware of, and more concerned about their health – previous generations had to rely on their GP to tell them what they need, but now we live in an internet age and anyone can “google” their symptoms and diagnose themselves. 

But all too often, drugs are seen as a quick-fix get-out.

Rather than making lifestyle changes, we take drugs to combat the effects of that lifestyle. Popping a pill is easier than taking the effort to eat healthily, exercise regularly, or reduce stress. And, perhaps, many of us simply aren’t aware of how to take care of our wellbeing.

Anti-depressant alternatives

Let’s take a look at the rise in anti-depression prescriptions – over 50 million prescriptions were issued in 2012; a rise of over 7%.

This rise could be seen as a result of the economic situation, rising unemployment, and all the other stressful effects of the recession we have been living through over the past five years.

But aren’t there better way to help those with depression and anxiety?

Yes.

There has been massive government investment into psychotherapy and other treatments. 

From a personal perspective

When I was diagnosed with depression about nine years ago, the first thing my GP did was hand me a prescription. In fact, that was the only thing he did – there was no talk of alternative treatments, or lifestyle changes I could make.

I was not prepared to feed my body synthetic chemical drugs for the foreseeable future, so I declined the prescription and committed to finding a better way to heal my mind and body.

And I did. It wasn’t easy, by any stretch of the imagination, but I did it without the use of drugs.

How?

I’ll start by giving you an idea of what my depression looked like… everything felt like such hard work; I was tired all the time and had no energy; I didn’t leave the house unless I really had to; I’d arrange meet-ups with friends, but as the date drew closer I’d start to panic and, in the end, I’d cancel; sometimes I’d go for as much as a week without even washing my hair, and getting dressed just seemed pointless; I just felt flat, I’d lost my fizz and joy of life.

Coming out of this depression started with little steps – getting out of the house was really important. Going for a walk in the countryside, and arranging to meet friends for lunch and actually keeping the date were two of the major turning points.

Why?

As well as being good for our physical health, in recent years, studies have shown that regular physical activity also has benefits for mental health.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life, thus combating depression.

Laughing works in a similar way. You’ve heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”… Well it’s true.

Laughing can lower blood pressure for some by inducing relaxation and preventing the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Some describe laughter as “internal jogging” as you inhale oxygen which stimulates heart and blood circulation. Laughter can also trigger the release of endorphins which give you a sense of well being. Laughing can reduce stress and anxiety because it naturally relaxes you. Laughter induces your heart rate to slow down and your blood pressure to decrease.

Side-effects and addiction

It’s not just that manufactured prescription drugs are unnecessary in some cases – such as mine, above – but they can actually add to the problems.

More and more Britons are becoming addicted to medications – including anti-depressants, and strong painkillers such as tramadol and fentanyl. 

And then there are all of the unwanted side-effects of prescription drugs.

Medication labels can warn of anything from drowsiness, nausea, skin irritation, and allergic reactions, to and increase or decrease in blood pressure, internal bleeding, and I’m sure somewhere I saw “death” listed as a possible side-effect.

One of the most pressing side-effects for society as a whole, is the threat of antibiotics resistance. Recent NHS figures show a “notable increase” (of 2.5 million!) in antibiotic prescriptions in a year. Over-use and miss-use of antibiotics means bacteria are becoming resistant to their affect. 

Don’t get me wrong, some complimentary herbal “medicines” can have side-effects, too. But therapists tend to work much more closely with clients, take a full history, and consider the person as a whole (rather than just looking at the symptom – the illness) to ensure the treatment is right for them.

What about our skin?

Ok, this is a skincare website, so I guess I should talk about our skin, too…

If you’ve been following my work for a while (or even if you’ve only had a quick snoop around my website), you probably know by now that I know how embarrassing and emotionally crippling a skin condition such as acne, eczema or psoriasis can be.

I’ve pretty much battled with acne for most of my life since puberty. I lost count of the number of off-the-shelf products I tried. Nothing seemed to work. A lot of the products just dried my skin out, which may have helped with the spots, but the dry and flaky patches looked just as bad.

In the end, I went to my doctor for help and he prescribed a topical lotion. Not only did this lotion leave my skin extremely dry, but it would actually sting my skin when I applied it.

If somebody could have just told me that there was another way… a way that wouldn’t sting my skin or leave it dry… a way that took into account the health of my whole body and not just the “symptom” of my acne…

That is when my journey to healthy skin began. There were no man-made drugs, mass-produced products or other harsh treatments along the way. Instead, there was LOTS of natural gorgeous-ness in the form of natural skincare products and ingredients, healthy fresh food, herbal teas, and natural supplements, as well as a holistic approach to my health.

What’s the answer?

I don’t claim to have all the answers. And some medication can be vital. But I think we need to wake up to the state of our health and the state of our health system. 

Taking responsibility for our own health is crucial.

I urge you to take a different approach to your health and wellbeing. Taking an holistic look at your health – which means looking at your diet, losing weight (if need-be), exercising, reducing stress, and assessing your lifestyle – can prevent many conditions, from heartburn to heart disease.

I honestly believe that my story can be replicated for anyone who’s ready to make real in order to get the healthy skin of their dreams.

Here’s to good health!

Much love from Sami x

 

 

Are You SAD?

We all get the winter blues from time to time.

Here in North Wales, it’s cold, grey and raining, it gets dark early, and it feels like we haven’t seen the sun for months. We’re into February now, but spring still seems a LONG way off. 

Winter blues are understandable. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to hide under the duvet on these cold winter mornings. I often think humans should take a note from animals and hibernate until warmer weather returns.

SAD

But what if you’re experiencing something more than just “feeling blue”?

An estimated two million people in the UK suffer with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) at this time of year. SAD is a form of depression which can be completely debilitating and leave a person barely able to function until the clocks go forward, the days get longer, and the weather gets brighter.

A further ten million Britons are affected by a milder form of SAD, and experience symptoms such as feeling tired all the time, sleeping longer, feeling low, craving sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods, and the resulting weight-gain.

What causes SAD?

The main factor, when it comes to SAD, is daylight… or rather, the lack of enough daylight due to heavy cloud and shorter days.

Hold on to your hats, we’re about to get scientific about it…

It’s the visible light in the blue-green part of the spectrum which affects SAD. When light hits the retina at the back of your eye, it sends a message to your hypothalamus (a part of your brain which regulates the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin).

It’s this hormone which regulate our 24-hour body clock and signals when we should go to sleep (when it’s dark) and when we should wake up (when it gets light).

One theory is that people affected by SAD are unable to “switch off” this hormone at the start of each day because of a heightened sensitivity to the lack of light during winter. This creates an hormonal imbalance in the hypothalamus and results in unusual sleep patterns, lack of sex drive, low mood, and food cravings.

Another theory is that lower levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter which gives the feel-good factor) in winter may also be involved. Some experts suggest that the cravings for carbs seen in those with SAD, is your body’s way of trying to boost serotonin levels. However, there are also lower levels of serotonin in people with non-seasonal depression as well, though usually no carb cravings.

SAD has been observed to affect families, so there may also be a genetic factor to the disorder.

What are the symptoms?

In non-seasonal depression, common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, and disturbed sleep. With SAD, these symptoms are reversed…

  • Sleep – usually over-sleeping and unable to get up in the morning
  • Increased appetite – particularly craving carbohydrates and sugary foods – this can result in weight gain
  • Low mood
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired immune system – more coughs, colds and infections
  • Low sex drive
  • Keeping yourself to yourself – avoiding social occasions and situations – taking no pleasure from socialising

So what’s the treatment?

Doctors say there is no cure, but there are ways to manage the disorder successfully. One of these ways is, of course, medication in the form of anti-depressants.

But what about natural treatments?

  • Light therapy – since it is the lack of light which causes SAD, it stands to reason that light therapy can be the answer. Get out in the fresh air as much as possible. Even on a cloudy day, there is more natural light than that emitted from the average domestic light bulb. The other option is to use a light box – choose either white of blue light. A sun lamp won’t have the same effect because the light isn’t from the right part of the spectrum (plus they can emit harmful UV rays).
  • Diet – if you’re feeling “down” it’s best not to exacerbate the problem by giving in to those carbohydrate cravings. Excessive amounts of refined grains and sugars will only contribute to your sluggish state, leaving you drained and emotionally dulled. Instead, opt for a healthy diet of fresh foods and whole grains. If you’re getting cravings, try eating a handful of nuts, or up your intake of meat, fatty fish, beans, and other protein-rich foods.
  • Exercise – as well as all of these positive physical effects, exercise also has positive effects on the mind and spirit. It helps to relax your mind and put you back in the present moment (instead of all those wildly wandering thoughts!). Yes, exercise burns calories, but it also (and not least) releases endorphins, which are the feel-good hormones that are nature’s antidote to stress and worry.
  • Laugh – they say laughter is the best medicine… and they are SO right! Laughing can lower blood pressure by inducing relaxation and preventing the release of stress hormones such as cortisol. Laughter can also trigger the release of endorphins which give you a sense of well being. Laughing can also reduce stress and anxiety because it naturally relaxes you. The best form of laughter (in my opinion) is laughing with friends. But you could try watching your favourite sitcom or funny film to get yourself laughing.
  • Scents – some essential oils have been found to have mood-boosting properties. Neroli is the most famous of these – its fragrance is said to induce a feeling of euphoria (our Smile! Bath & Body Oil uses a blend of neroli, chamomile and ylang-ylang to ease tension and lift the spirits). Rose is said to give a woman positive feelings about herself (find it in our Rose Lotion). Our two Body Butter Bars have been designed to harness the mental and emotional benefits of essential oils as well as the skincare benefits – they smell amazing! And citrus oils have uplifting effects on the mind and body.

Hold on in there, spring is on its way, the day’s are getting longer, and (hopefully) we’ll being seeing the sun again soon.

Until next time,

Much love from Sami x

 

 

Just How Do I Learn To Love Myself?

As you can see, our motto is “love yourself naturally”. This was our motto when I first founded the Freyaluna natural skincare range, and then, when our company evolved into an online sanctuary of holistic skincare advice and information, it felt right that we should call it Love Yourself Naturally.

So what does “love yourself naturally” mean?

Well, we not only mean to love yourself by using natural products and not adding unnecessary chemicals to your skin and your life, but we also mean to love yourself as you are, naturally, in the here and now.

If you’ve been following us for a while (through our weekly “love letters”, our facebook page, or twitter) you’ll know that I’m always encouraging women to love themselves as they are right now (that’s why you’ll never see us use terms like “anti-ageing”!). All too many of us believe we’re not “something” enough – not thin enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not loved enough, or whatever it might be.

Let me state, categorically, right now… you are enough.

Did you get that? I said… YOU ARE ENOUGH!

In fact, never mind “enough”, you’re goddam amazing! There is quite literally no-one else in this whole world like you, or who can offer the world what you can.

Think about that for a minute. I mean, REALLY think about it. No matter how hard this universe tries, it will never be able to make another you. You are one of a kind, my lovely!

But how do I learn to love myself?

learn to love yourselfTime for a personal story…

I hold may hands up and say, I have been struggling with this very thing for the last month or so. The thing is, it took me a while to realise it.

You see, though I had the odd “I want to change this or that” phase while I was younger, for the past few years I’ve been happy with myself and my life – my body, my personality, my work, my friends. And I’ve never taken that for granted, because I know there are people in this world who don’t think of themselves in the way I think of myself (did I mention, I’m amazingly awesome?!).

Side note: that’s partly why I founded Love Yourself Naturally – to help women to love and accept themselves.

And then, near the end of last year, something happened which turned my world upside-down.

I won’t go into too much detail (mostly because I haven’t fully come to terms with it myself just yet), but let me just say that there was a man involved (isn’t there always?!). This man meant A LOT to me and had done for a few years; pretty much since we first met back in 2010.

Anyway… to cut a long story short, I ended-up broken-hearted. I’m sure I’m not alone in having experienced what it feels like to give yourself – body, heart and soul – to someone and have them throw it away for whatever reason.

Being a woman (isn’t this what we always do?!), I thought it was my fault. I thought it was something I’d done wrong, or hadn’t done right. I thought it was because I wasn’t “something” enough. I thought that if only I was a little more “this” or a little more “that” then he wouldn’t have treated me the way he did.

I tell you what, for an intelligent woman, I can be pretty stupid sometimes!

Of course it wasn’t really anything to do with me. He had his own problems. I’m not making excuses for him, but I honestly believe he didn’t mean to treat me badly. We all make mistakes.

But that feeling of confusion and worthlessness is not shaken easily.

I had lost my love of myself.

Baby steps…

I think I’m just about on the mend. My heart is starting to heal. I don’t think about him quite as much as I did. After a month of near sleepless nights, I’ve started to sleep well again. I’ve still got a way to go, but I’m slowly getting there.

How? 

My journal is my best friend. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I recommend journalling for just about everything. I “tell” my journal everything. Simply writing down everything that had happened and all of the confused questions I had in my mind, really helped to get it all out of my head.

But what about getting the good thoughts and feelings back? How do I do that?

I started a simple journalling technique to re-build my self-love…

  • Each evening, think about the day which is coming to an end
  • Think of three ways in which you value yourself, or three ways in which you have added value to someone else’s life that day
  • Write these three things in your journal
  • Do this for at least 21 days (studies show that 21 days is the length of time it takes to change a habit)

What do you value about yourself? It could be anything from having great style, to being a genius with all things technological, it could be your ability to show love even when your heart is broken… absolutely anything, no matter how small.

How do you add value to some else’s life? It could be cooking a delicious meal for your family, it could be helping a friend move house, it could be complimenting a colleague’s new haircut, it could be telling a funny story and making people laugh, it could be as simple as smiling at someone.

I have only been doing this for a week or so, but already I can feel my love of self building. I’m slowly working my way back to “I’m awesome!”

What if there are things I want to change about myself?

That’s great, too! 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to improve yourself at all – self-improvement is a brilliant aspect of life. If you’ve got a goal, then go for it with your heart and soul. But please don’t do it just for the love and acceptance of someone else, do it for yourself. 

As Lucille Ball (of I Love Lucy fame) said…

“Love yourself first and everything else will fall into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

We all have the power to change.

If you start from a place of happiness and peace within yourself, reaching your goals will be so much easier.

I am a natural optimist. I don’t know if this is from nature or nurture, but I always try to see the good in people (even if they’ve hurt me), and in life’s situations. I honestly feel that seeing the world from a “glass half full” perspective is the best starting point on our journey to reaching our goals.

I’m going to end with this thought, because I absolutely love it…

Much love,

Much love from Sami x

 

 

Healthy Skin is a Jigsaw Puzzle

healthy skin is a jigsaw puzzleYou may have noticed by now that I’m a bit of geek when it comes to our skin and our bodies and how they work together to keep us healthy.

Honestly, I could go on about this stuff for hours – I could talk about it late into the night to anyone who’d listen!

So today I want to give you a sneaky peek inside The Clear Skin Plan and tell you a bit about how we work with you to clear your skin for good and get the healthy skin you’re longing for…

Our skin is a major channel of elimination.

When all is working well, the skin carries out this elimination through sweating. But when we experience a skin problem such as acne, it is our body’s way of telling us that it’s struggling; something inside isn’t working as well as it could be.

This usually means that the digestive and detoxification systems aren’t working at full power, so our bodies are enlisting the skin to take some of the burden, the skin then helps to remove harmful toxins which have built-up within the body through the skin, and this is when we get skin problems.

You know what; our bodies are amazing at what they do, but the constant toxin attack brought on by today’s world sometimes becomes overwhelming.

So to heal our skin, we must clean out our internal systems of the toxic build-up which results from our modern Western lifestyle, and enable our bodies to do the work it was created to do.

The liver’s role

When the detox signal is triggered eight hours after your last meal, toxins and mucus are released into circulation and must be neutralised and eliminated because these toxins contain free radicals – electrically-charged molecules which corrode tissues and damage cells on contact.

The main player in this part of the detox story is the liver. Its cells contain a group of enzymes (the cytochrome P450 system) which are designed to produce the chemical reactions needed for this critical process of neutralisation. These reactions are performed in two phases.

Phase 1 – the actual structure of the toxin to be neutralised is altered and it’s turned into an “intermediate metabolite” (a sort of mid-way state). In some cases, these intermediate products can be more toxin than the original toxins they came from.
The rush is now on to push it through to the second phase.

Phase 2 – the liver works to neutralise the toxic property and turn it into a water-soluble product which can then be passed back into the blood and carried to the kidneys.
The kidneys will then recognise it and capture it out of the blood then, finally, release it into the urethra as urine. When you pee it out, the detoxification journey is completed.

How does The Clear Skin Plan help?

Let’s take a look at the main functions of The Clear Skin Plan:

  • Reduce the workload of the digestive system – even though you may not overtly feel it, some foods cause allergic responses within the body, which means the body uses-up energy trying to deal with them, and this leads to the “dullness” we feel day to day. Consuming less solid food and excluding irritants means this energy can be reallocated to the process of detoxification.
  • Restore the 12-hour window – the signal to enter detox mode starts about 8 hours after your last meal, and the average body needs around four hours to do a deep clean. Few of us get this time today because we eat and snack late into the night.
  • Rebuild the inner environment – acidity is lowered (our inner environment is naturally slightly alkali), the good bacteria in our intestines is rebalanced, and the intestinal wall gets a chance to heal. Creating this balanced and stable environment means cravings for the foods which cause this toxicity are reduced, which supports long-term maintenance of this clean state.
  • Support the liver – a balanced intake of nutrients is supplied to ensure that the liver can perform phase 1 and phase 2 functions efficiently.
  • Enhance elimination – once toxins are neutralised and released by the liver, they must be discarded. This programme helps to ensure this happens effectively.

It’s not just food and diet…

Obviously, the skincare products you use will have a huge effect on the health of your skin, and we take an in-depth look at that topic.

But have you ever considered that what’s hanging in your wardrobe could be affecting the health of your skin?

What about the relationship with your partner?

Or that impending work deadline?

You may well be surprised at what can actually contribute to your toxic state. I like to think of it as a jigsaw – a puzzle of many pieces which, when fitted together in the correct way, can result in your healthy glowing skin and a vibrancy for life.

Over the six weeks of The Clear Skin Plan, we look at all the necessary aspects and options for you to consider in your quest to achieve and maintain clear, healthy, glowing skin.

We take an holistic approach to skincare (looking at your body, mind and lifestyle as a whole), and some aspects of the programme may seem a bit out-of-place when we’re talking about skincare and getting glowing skin, but trust me, it all has a place and each step of this plan has been added for a reason. 

This approach can work for everyone whether you have a severe case of acne, eczema, or psoriasis, or if you simply want your skin to exude an inner glow ready for your wedding day.

Most importantly, if you maintain the strategies I outline in this programme, the results will be permanent.

With all the information I pack into the first week of this programme, I arm you with some great tools to keep your skin (and your whole body) healthy and looking great for life!

So what does The Clear Skin Plan look like?

Clear Skin Plan button

Week One – Education Week. In the first week we start off gently by taking a look at our skin and body health, how different aspects of your life and your environment can impact your health, and great ways to improve your overall health, and so the health of your skin. I think it’s important for you to know all of this information because it will help you to see what has been affecting your health, and how you can make changes and improvements to alter this. At the end of each day’s programme materials I give you a few action points – steps you can take to get ready for your body detox.

Week Two - This week we’re preparing for the detox. It’s time to prepare your mind and body, so that you are really ready for the detox ahead. This is an important step because it can make the whole detox process easier for both your body and your mind. Instead of jumping in feet first, this preparation week helps to ease you in a bit more gently.

Weeks Three, Four & Five - Detox! Many detox programmes available today will give you set meal plans and shopping lists for during your body detox. I’m don’t do that. We’re all different, so we all like different foods. I feel it would be wrong of me to say what you must eat. I will provide you with healthy “clean” recipe ideas, and you can choose which you like the look of, or find some yourself and experiment.

Week Six - I’ve added a sixth week to this detox programme to help you finish the detox, and decide what to do next. This week we will look at how we can ease ourselves (and our bodies) out of detox, and consider what goals we want to make for the weeks, months and years ahead.

Throughout the six weeks, we will also be taking a more in-depth look at the different skin types and the most common skin problems.

Is The Clear Skin Plan for me?

Is your skin looking less-than-healthy and you want to glow from the inside-out?

Do you have a big event coming up – maybe a holiday, big presentation, your wedding day – and want your skin to exude an inner wellbeing?

Are you thoroughly fed up with the acne, eczema, psoriasis, or other skin problem you’ve been living with for years, and want to clear your skin for good?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then yes, The Clear Skin Plan is most definitely for you!

If you want more information, you can find it all – a bit of my personal story, what The Clear Skin Plan can do for you, your bonuses, testimonials from past clients, and some frequently asked questions – you can find it all on The Clear Skin Plan page of our website. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.

Until next time,

Much love from Sami x