Month: March 2020

Important Self-Care Tips For Introverted Seniors

Important Self-Care Tips For Introverted Seniors 

Guest Article by: Melissa Howard

Photo by Edu Carvalho from Pexels

In order to maintain good health, it is important for seniors to practice self-care every day. This can be in the form of getting a good night’s sleep, working out routinely, and paying attention to your mental health. If you’re an introvert who prefers to perform activities on your own, this does not mean there are no good self-care opportunities for you. On the contrary, there are plenty of activities you can participate in solo. These tips will help you reach your self-care goals in a comfortable setting. 


Great At-Home Exercises 


One of the easiest and most fun ways to incorporate more self-care routines into your day is by staying fit. This helps reduce the chances of falling as well as mental illnesses including depression. If you’d prefer to stay inside instead of heading to the gym, there are plenty of exercise options for you. If you have grandchildren who are no longer interested in using their old Wii, offer to take it from them and then do fun workouts with the Wii Fit. Use your smartphone or tablet to find some exercise videos like the Go4Life collection recommended by the National Institute on Aging. There are also many fitness apps you can download including Blogilates, Aaptiv, and SweatWorking.  Find something that will help you get off the couch and get going.


Safety for Individual Fitness Routines 


If you prefer to go solo when it comes to outdoor exercise like running, swimming, or cycling, it’s safe to keep a device on you to connect you with your caregiver or a family member. Smartwatches like those from the Apple Watch Series 4 will not only keep you connected via text and keep track of how far you run but can also keep track of your location if you happen to fall or get lost. There are plenty of fitness trackers and smartwatches to choose from for every need and every budget including the Huawei Band 3 Pro. 


Good Nightly Habits for a Better Sleep


While it’s necessary to take care of yourself during the day, don’t overlook your needs at night as well. Creating good habits before falling asleep can influence better and deeper sleep that will make you more well-rested for the next day’s activities. Preparing your room with black-out curtains and even a sound machine to keep out additional noises will help keep your sleep consistent. Creating rituals to help you get ready for bed such as taking a bath or reading a book can also help calm you down for good sleep. 


Self-Care Can Help Prevent Depression


As we grow older, it’s important to keep up with healthy self-care routines for both the body and mind. Neglecting your own self-care can result in depression. As warning signs may go unseen or unaddressed, it is important to recognize the signs of depression so that you can focus on it if it arises. According to, geriatric depression is long-lasting and can turn into major depression if it is not treated. PAy attention to your moods and feelings, and look for signs like feeling worthless, sleep problems, and even changes in appetite. 


Many of your contemporaries who have depression may not speak up, even if they recognize the warning signs. They do this for many reasons, but one is the social stigma attached, and they suffer because of it. It is important to overcome embarrassment in order to treat depression. Some of the treatment options that can help include taking medication, attending therapy, and spending time with people you feel comfortable socializing with. The latter is particularly important for introverted seniors, because senior isolation can contribute to depression.


Self-care is important for all seniors, regardless of your personal socialization preferences. As you incorporate these self-care rituals into your daily routine, you will feel happier and healthier.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Boosting Your Immune System Now & Always: The Best Defense is a Good Offense!


Boosting Your Immune System Now & Always: The Best Defense is a Good Offense!


During these uncertain, and scary times, I believe it is my duty to share my knowledge on immune system health. I feel that the best preventative medicine is a defensive one. By strengthening your immune system you are less likely to catch a viral or bacterial infection, and if you do, your body is stronger for the fight. Below I will provide a brief outline of some of my favorite tried and true methods for a rock solid immune response.

Check it out!


Goldenseal- A perennial herb from the buttercup family, Goldenseal is found in North America. There’s documentation to support its use as early as 1798 by the Cherokee Indians. Due to its antimicrobial properties, it’s used today in Eastern Medicine as immune system support. If taking Goldenseal, follow the manufacturer suggested dosages to avoid overdose, which can be toxic.


Limes- Limes are naturally high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, making them an excellent go-to staple for boosting your immune system. If plain lime juice is too sour for your taste buds, consider adding it to a smoothie (immune smoothie recipe below), making Lime-Aide, or squeezing on top of a dish for garnish. In addition to boosting your immune system, limes can support healthy skin, help with weight loss, and ward off bad breath.


Immune Boosting Smoothie (tastes kinda like V8)- 


2 tomatoes washed and cored

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lemon

1 celery stalk, ends removed

1 carrot, peeled and ends removed

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

4 cloves garlic

Small chunk of ginger, peeled

2 ice cubes


Blend in blender




Oranges- I don’t think mentioning that oranges are full of Vitamin C is news to anyone, but they are also jam-packed with vitamin B6, antioxidants, and limonoids. So, in addition to making your immune system tough, they help regulate energy, fight cancer cells, and make your skin glowy and fabulous. Eat these guys raw, or make some orange chicken!


Lemons- Lemons are another great immune boosting citrus, loaded with Vitamin C and B vitamins, and make a super tasty garnish! So pucker up, buttercup. 

Zinc- Zinc is a trace mineral. It boosts our immunity by controlling the actions of proteins in our body, preventing excessive inflammatory response. As with anything, don’t overdo it. In addition to helping a healthy immune response, it has been used and shown effective for preventing acne, relieving diarrhea, alleviating ADHD, and when used topically, it’s great for healing burns.


Elderberry- Elderberry is a flowering plant used to create elderberry syrup. Please note: Elderberries cannot be eaten raw, because when raw they are toxic. However, made into a variety of forms it can be used for year-round immune system support. In addition to immune benefits, elderberry syrup has been shown effective in treating chronic pain, constipation, and reducing cholesterol.


Cayenne Pepper AKA Capsicum- Ever wonder why you get hot while eating spicy foods, besides the actual spice itself? Cayenne Pepper is a vasodilator (meaning it expands your blood vessels), so it increases circulation, which will shorten the duration of any infection in the body by getting things moving. Kind of like how you get a fever when your body is fighting an infection, your body’s natural vasodilator. Additionally, capsicum is naturally high in Vitamin A, which is great for keeping away acne. It is also loaded with beta-carotene which is great for eye health. I personally adore spicy foods so another excuse to eat them is welcomed, however, if hot is not your jam, oral supplements are available. 


Oregano- Oregano has antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Essentially a natural antibiotic, natural antiviral, and anti-fungal. I prefer to take an Oil of Oregano supplement daily during cold and flu season, but it’s also fun to increase the use of this dried herb in meals. Oregano has been used in medicine and in food for over 4000 years. Hippocrates was known to advise its use for treating coughs, indigestion, and fever. Oregano as an essential oil can also be diluted and mixed with witch hazel and water to make a surface disinfectant. (Who is suddenly craving pizza? I’m lying – I’m always craving pizza!)

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Olive Leaf- Although lots of Americans enjoy olives on their pizzas and in their salads, many do not realize that the leaf of the olive tree is full of antioxidant properties! Olive leaf also regulates cytokines (the immune system messengers), making it a must-tool in your immune system toolbox. Historically, it has been used to regulate blood sugar, prevent heart attacks, and chewed on as a snack in Yemen. Although I have only ever personally used it in its supplement form, olive leaf tea is popular with our European neighbors.


Mushrooms- A good combination of mushrooms in one supplement is usually best for immune support as each kind of mushroom has a different nutrient makeup. For example, shiitake mushrooms are high in vitamins B and D, selenium, amino acids, and enzymes, since it is technically a fungus. Chaga mushroom, on the other hand, helps your immune system by fighting free radicals with its powerhouse of antioxidants. Other mushrooms that are good for immune health are turkey tail, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, and reishi. (I really feel like I’m naming all my favorite pizza toppings now. Eat up!)


Probiotics and/ or Kombucha- Maintaining healthy gut bacteria is super important for a strong immune system – as we all know the old saying, “you are what you eat.” Cells in your gut actually produce a ton of antibodies that are used throughout the body to fight disease and dysfunction, so take good care of your intestines. Probiotics are good bacteria that support healthy gut function, and can easily be purchased in a gel cap form to swallow.  However, for those who don’t mind a slightly vinegar tasting sweet tea, kombucha is fermented tea that is loaded with good bacteria for your gut. (I love kombucha, but it is unique).


Enzymes- Enzymes occur naturally in certain foods, or can be purchased in a supplement form. Enzymes help break down foods, speeding up healthy digestion and making the body and GI tract more alkaline. Your body constantly seeks balance and works hard to maintain the healthy neutral alkaline zone. Bacteria and Viruses enjoy an acidic environment, and do not survive well in a more alkaline one. Enzymes also help the body absorb nutrients better because of how they break down ingested foods and supplements. Enzymes are naturally found in papayas, pumpkin, pineapple, bananas, and avocados.


Ginger- Ginger is high in antioxidants, as well as magnesium, zinc, and iron. Ginger has antimicrobial properties that kill viruses, and bacteria. Ginger also increases circulation, speeding the body’s natural immune response if already sick. Ginger also offers very versatile options as it can be consumed as a tea, added as a dried root while cooking, added as a fresh root while cooking, or even honey and ginger lozenges for sore throats.


Turmeric- Turmeric is another magical root. It is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral. It also increases the body’s response of T cells (the cells that protect the body from pathogens and cancer). It has also been used to relieve symptoms of depression and support healthy liver function. Turmeric can be purchased as a supplement, or found in a variety of cuisines (especially Indian cuisine). (As if I need any excuse to eat at my favorite Indian restaurant).

Photo by Marta Branco from Pexels

Sunflower Seeds- Sunflower seeds are high in magnesium, which is a natural immune booster. Sunflower seeds also contain selenium, which help your body fight cancer while also helping your immune system to rebuild cells. Sunflower also contains high amounts of zinc, which we discussed earlier is an immune ally. So eat up those yummy, little treats for your health. 


Garlic- Long renowned as nature’s antibiotic, garlic keeps away the cold and flu. I personally get a ton in my diet, because I love garlic, but you can always grab in supplement form if you do not care for the taste. 


Echinacea- Echinacea is a flowering herb that has been used for decades to combat cold and flu. Echinacea contains phenols, which increase antioxidant activity. Echinacea supplements can be purchased at most herb or vitamin shops. 


Vitamin C- In addition to helping our immune systems, Vitamin C has been used in IV infusions to help during cancer treatments. Vitamin C also helps reduce blood pressure, lowers risk of chronic disease, and also prevents iron deficiency. Drink some Oj or grab a supplement! 


Raw Honey- In addition to soothing a sore throat by coating the back of the tongue and mucus membranes of the throat, honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Buy local honey to your area for a decreased inflammatory response to local allergens. It is also an energy booster, so say bye-bye to the afternoon slump!

Colloidal Silver- We have all heard the folklore as kids that silver wards off vampires, but it actually does ward off colds, flu, bacteria and viruses. If you have ever heard that your antique “real” silverware is naturally antibacterial, guess what? It’s true. Bacteria, germs, viruses cannot live on silver surfaces. Now, there are supplements containing silver that can be ingested internally. It comes in a liquid or lozenge form.


In addition to great supplements and a balanced diet, good lifestyle choices are imperative!


Sleep- Make sure you are getting enough ZZZ’s. Sleep helps maintain proper cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates many processes throughout the body, including metabolism and the immune response. 


Water- Ever heard the phrase “You’re not sick you’re thirsty”? Dehydration can literally make us sick, or flush our bodies when we are sick. We should all try to drink half our body weight in ounces every day. For example if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. Amazon makes it easy these days with encouraging jugs with straws. 


Move your body-  Daily cardiovascular exercise or general muscle and joint movement such as tai chi, or yoga should be a quintessential part of your immune plan. Muscle contraction and joint movement naturally push lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is how your body cleans itself & rids itself of toxins. So – get out and get moving! Or do a workout at home. Either way, move your bod!


I hope this helps you stay well.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 


Face Oil or Face Cream? What’s best for you?


Deciding which product is best to moisturize your face is one of the most important decisions you will make in your daily skincare regimen because your moisturizer is a product that sits atop and protects your skin all day long. A cleanser is only on your skin for a few moments, and a mask for usually 5 to 20 minutes so you can see why something that will be there all day is so important to get right. 


I personally use a hemp seed oil based face oil these days after years of exploration to figure out my skin’s favorite things.


Growing up I always thought oil was bad for me.  Like almost everyone else, I was completely convinced if any kind of oil got anywhere near my face I’d be cursed with zits for days. Who knew oils would become my face’s best friend?


Let’s start by dispelling a few myths about oils.


Myth #1: Oil will clog my pores and cause acne. 


Fact: Some oils are 100% Non Comodegenic (how likely a product is to clog pores)  and non acnegenic (how likely a product is to cause acne), while others may be slightly comedogenic, or highly comedogenic. My favorite non clogging, non acnegenic, and breathable oils are hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and argan oil.


Myth #2: Glowing skin means the skin is greasy or dirty.


Fact: Glowing skin usually means it is well hydrated and healthy, although occasionally it can mean the skin is over producing oil.


Myth #3: Face Oils will feel heavy on my skin.


Fact: Most Oils are more breathable than a cream or lotion and feel lightweight on the skin. 


Myth #4: Creams are less likely to inflame sensitive skin.


Fact: Although some creams are formulated to be hypoallergenic, many have a long list of ingredients. Face oils however,  usually only consist of 1 to 4 carrier oils and essential oils. Typically with fewer ingredients, the risk of something inflaming the skin is lower simply because there are less things being put onto the skin.


I usually ask my clients if they prefer a “glow”, or a “matte” look, because I want to ensure I send them home after their services with the appearance they desire, VS. what I think looks best (I always recommend/ personally prefer the “youthful glow”).  However our society has been brainwashed into believing the glow is grease or poor hygiene, which is simply not always true. We carry a variety of facial creams, and facial oils to ensure our ability to accommodate everyone.


Determining what’s best for you! 


To determine what you will prefer, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do I like a glow or a matte look? If you prefer to glow, a face oil is in most cases a better solution, if you prefer a matte look, go with a light cream.
  2. Do I like a light feel, or a thicker feel? Usually, oils are lighter, while creams are thicker.
  3. Do I have sensitive skin? If you have sensitive skin I recommend a face oil with calming ingredients, unless you have a tried and true cream you know your skin loves, in which case, don’t change it up.
  4. Am I hypersensitive to the sun? If yes, a cream with a high SPF might be your best bet, while if not an oil with natural sun protection might be enough for you.
  5. If you have no clue and feel overwhelmed, schedule a customized facial with me and I’ll do the detective work for you, and help you put your best face forward.


It is also important to think about the different benefits of the ingredients to determine which is best for you!


If your skin is acne prone, look for: tea tree oil, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, lemon oil, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid, hemp seed oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and aloe.


If your skin is dry, look for: Shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil (but not if your skin is prone to acne), rosehip seed oil, vitamin E, aloe, frankincense, sandalwood, lavender, chamomile, jojoba, and lactic acid.


If your skin is sun damaged or scarred, look for: daisy, kojic acid, vitamin c, licorice, evening primrose oil, geranium, rose, tea tree, lemon, sandalwood, carrot seed, glycolic acid, mandelic acid.


If your skin is sensitive, look for calming ingredients: frankincense, lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, aloe.


Keep in mind, whether you decide on a lotion, a cream, or an oil as your moisturizer, I always suggest a good cleanser, toner, and serum prior to the application of your moisturizer. Also don’t forget to exfoliate as needed throughout the month to keep away the dullness.


If you need help, hit me up and I will get you on the correct routine.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout.