This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Four experts – across beauty, health and interiors – highlight commonly neglected, yet essential lifestyle habits, that will lead to a healthier you in 2022 and beyond.
- Eye spy – get a simple eye test that checks your inner health
According to opticians nationwide, missed eye examinations are at an all-time high, while conditions such as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and Dry Eye have become a lot more prevalent in the past two years.
“Millions of people have missed routine eye health appointments since the pandemic”, says Dr Andy Hepworth. “ This is leaving an array of potential health conditions undiagnosed. So if it’s been more than two years since you last visited your optician, this Spring is the perfect time to make an appointment.
“Biennial eye examinations are vital to wellbeing, not only for identifying any changes to your vision and eyes, but they can also help to spot other underlying health issues such as diabetes, brain tumours and high blood pressure.
Beyond visiting your optician, there are lots of small changes that can be made to our lifestyle to support better eye health. If you’re looking to implement a Spring detox diet then look into the nutrients that are essential for eye health – like omega-3 fats and beta-carotene; vitamins such as A, C and E, and zinc and zeaxanthin. “If you work with a screen every day, then give your eyes regular breaks throughout the day. If you need glasses then make sure that you wear them to avoid eye strain and always wear high quality sunglasses with UV protection if you’re outside, even on cloudy days.”
2. Clean up your beauty stash
Check for out of date products and have a product ‘switch up’ for a Springtime glow up. “The majority of beauty products, shampoos and fragrances have a use by date, yet hundreds of people admit to storing and using old products way beyond this,” says Jonny Webber. “And as a nation we spend billions of pounds on hair and make-up products every year, meaning that bathroom cabinets, dressing tables and make-up bags are bulging at the seams.
But when was the last time that you gave your hair and beauty products a thorough detox? They may be having a negative effect on your skin and hair. “Make-up, skincare and even haircare products all have a shelf life – as a rule of thumb, if left unopened this will be around 30 months, once opened it is usually around 12 months. Look for the little tub-and-lid symbol that has a 6M or 12M printed inside it, to find out the expiration period of your favourite products.
“Chances are you will be holding on to products which are past their best! If this is the case then throw them away. Your skin will thank you. At the very least, the active ingredients won’t work anymore, at worst your skin could become irritated and break out.
“It’s also important to store your products correctly in the first place. For example, fragrances should be kept away from direct sunlight and humid conditions. This means that bathrooms and windowsills are a big no, no. Instead, keep them somewhere cool and dark to make sure they stay their best for as long as possible.
“And don’t forget to give your make-up brushes a Spring clean – this should be done every few months to keep brushes bacteria free and healthy. “The changing seasons can also mean changes to the care that your skin and hair needs too. In the Winter months, you might need shampoo and conditioner with more moisturising properties, whereas in the summer months you may want to switch to something with more fizz control, not to mention products that contain UV protection too. The key really is to pay attention to how your hair is responding to existing products and not be afraid to switch them up.”
3. Detox your wardrobe
“A wardrobe detox is not only a great way to free up storage space in your bedroom, it can also have a positive impact on your mental health, as well as environmental footprint by helping you to shop in a more sustainable way in the future”, explains Megan Baker. “The best place to start is to remove everything from your wardrobe and take an objective look at what it is hiding away.
Identify repeat mistake buying, items bought from impulse shopping, and gems that you had forgotten that you owned. Separate your clothes into a yes and no pile – be ruthless, an objective opinion can help so ask a friend to get involved. “When you’re happy with your yes pile put it back in your wardrobe but do so carefully and methodically – categorise your clothing (e.g. skirts, dresses, trousers, tops, etc) and hang them all in sections together.
Have separate sections for work, weekend and evening wear so that you have easy access to the clothing you need for each particular occasion. Colour code each section too – whether that be clothing that is hung or folded on shelve or in drawers, it will help you pull outfits together lot more easily. Invest in shoe tidies, shelf organisers and baskets to make sure that everything stays organised and in its place.
“Once you have tided away the yes pile, pay attention to the items that you own and how you can style them together in the future. The fashion industry has a huge role to play in climate change – can you maximise the clothing that you have for the next six months without buying anything new?
“Now it is time to address the no pile. Are there items in there that can be fixed or altered to make them wearable? A good dressmaker can completely revitalise a discarded item of clothing with a few small tweaks. Can you restyle something that you no longer wear – look to Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram for ideas. Are there items that you could sell or gift to a friend? Then decide, what is high quality enough to go to a charity shop and what can be sent to clothes recycling? Textiles are almost 100% recyclable so make sure that dispose of your clothing responsibly.”
4. Rid your home of allergy inducing dust mites that the eye can’t see
“Hoovering and washing bed linen is simply not enough if you want an allergy-free home,” says Daniel Prendergast. “Our houses don’t just belong to us – they are home to billions of micro-organisms including dust mites, bacteria and mould spores.
So if you’re going to give your home a deep clean this Spring – my advice is to pay attention to soft furnishings which harbour these little critters. “House dust mites are found in all homes – they are around 4mm long and feed off dead skin cells which have been partially broken down by moulds. Unfortunately, soft furnishings such as rugs, duvets and pillows provide the perfect conditions for dust mites to thrive – they love warm, humid environments and their droppings can easily build up.
“If sleeping under a duvet with house dust mites, or having them lurking underfoot isn’t unappealing enough, they could also be making you unwell. Allergies to house dust mites are extremely common and they can be linked to conditions such as asthma and eczema. Often it is the droppings that contribute to the allergy and these can cause symptoms even after the mite has died. “Washing your pillows and duvets every few months will help remove any accumulated dirt, moisture and dust, keeping it hygienic and refreshing the filling. More importantly, washing at 60 degrees will stop dust mites in their tracks.
Always remember to check the label of your bedding to make sure that it can be machine washed or if it will need specialist cleaning. As a rule, synthetic duvets can usually be washed in a washing machine, whilst duvets made with natural fibres will often need to be dry cleaned.
“As well as vacuuming rugs at least once a week, look at how you can clean deep down into the pile of the rug, where it’s much harder to remove dust and dirt. Before setting to work with the vac, give the rug a shake to remove any loose grit or dirt that is trapped within the fibres – these can then be picked up by the vacuum. “Suction only vacuum cleaners are preferable to rotary brush or upright vacuum cleaners which can sometime damage to the surface of the pile and fray the edges of rugs. Use the nozzle attachment to lightly vacuum the rug to remove any surface dust and loose yarns. “There are anti-bacterial powders that can be sprinkled onto rugs to rid them of germs but always test on a small section first. And don’t forget the underside – vacuum the backing of the rug once a month to remove trapped dust, dirt, allergens and bacteria.”