Expert Advice

Tara Parenti: 5 Fast Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

Rosanne Ullman | January 19, 2014 | 12:30 PM

Tara Parenti takes New Year’s Resolutions seriously. A faculty member (“Learning Leader”) at San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology, a Paul Mitchell Partner School, Parenti understands that working in the salon all day as a hairdresser or esthetician can wear you out! She practices what she preaches, and she says she regards each of her five wintertime health strategies as a must-do to stay healthy, energetic and glowing inside and out during these dry, busy months. She calls them her “five favorite steps to sustainable wellness in 2014”:

1. Sleep.
“A well-rested body is much better suited to put up a fight in this cold and flu season,” Parenti says. “Regulated and dedicated sleep improves memory and attention span, reduces anxiety and depression and helps you to maintain a healthy weight.”

2. Hydrate, and eat colorfully.
Quench your thirst with water, that essential element of life that makes up 70 percent of the planet’s surface and 60 percent of your body! “Dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish and tired, as your cells are unable to do their jobs properly,” Parenti cautions. “Water is an easy way to perk up fast.” In addition, she recommends a “colorful” diet of fruits and veggies that fill your plate with a cheerful array of shades. “The unique combination of vitamins, antioxidants and natural chemicals behind the bright hues wards off disease, slows the aging process and boosts overall health,” Parenti adds.

3. Start each day with a 10-Minute Mind/Body/Soul Morning Reboot.
Just a few minutes of meditation, deep breathing and gentle stretching can begin your day on a positive note and get your energy flowing. “It’s amazing what a little ‘om’ can do to zap us out of the winter blues!” Parenti observes. “Don’t let rain, sleet, or snow keep you from staying active.”

4. Protect your skin.
Surprised that this rates #4? “I’m an esthetician!” Parenti reminds us. “What do you expect?” Winter weather can leave skin dehydrated, chapped and irritated. “Reenergize your skin care regimen,” Parenti continues. “Include humectants, treatments such as masks rich in healthy lipids and anti-inflammatories. Wear your sunscreen too! Just because we cannot see the sun does not mean it's not there.”

5. Boost oxytocin, the happy hormone.
Nicknamed the “cuddle chemical,” this feel-good hormone raises naturally when we kiss or hug a loved one, according to Parenti. Drive up oxytocin by taking warm bubble baths, getting fresh air, surrounding yourself with people who make you feel safe, sharing a meal, giving a gift and petting your dog.

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