Autumn Wellness Rituals + How To Make A (Damn Good) Hot Toddy

There’s something so wonderful about the cool air that comes with the first weeks of fall. Like clockwork, those crisp mornings signal some primal rhythm in me. Hunt, gather, slow down. I start to crave citrus, warm tea, hot baths, and five more minutes under the covers.
Autumn also has a way of welcoming inspiration and ideas into my life. This year it means a new little series: Wellness Rituals. Each post I’ll highlight the routines that help me to be well, stay stylish, and live verdantly. First up, autumn wellness rituals!

Start with Super Tea: Bee Pollen, Spicy Honey, Ginger, Citrus

Steep these in a mug of hot water for a one-two punch against colds, congestion, and fall allergies. Containing every essential amino acid, bee pollen is one of nature’s most nourishing superfoods – and when I buy locally, both pollen and honey seem to help a lot with fall allergies. I use Atlanta Honey Company’s Hotlanta Honey, which clears up congestion and doubles as a nourishing shampoo treatment. Ginger, lemon, and lime round out my go-to tea list as they each strengthen immunity, aid in healthy digestion, and increase alkalinity in the body.

  • 1-2 tbsp bee pollen
  • 1 tbsp spicy honey (or regular honey with a dash of vinegar and cayenne pepper)
  • 2 tbsp shaved ginger
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon or lime

If you’re feeling spicy, my Scotch-Irish forefathers have another elixir of wellness to share.

Or Make It A (Damn Good) Hot Toddy

Known as a hot toddy in Scotland and a hot whiskey in Ireland, my very favorite winter drink is a triple threat to the cold weather ick – honey soothes the throat, warm whiskey and pepper clear congestion, and lemon adds a nice shot of Vitamin C and bioflavinoids (but by all means, if one of those seventeen strains has really caught up with you, trade out the whiskey for ginger tea).
For a bonafide toddy you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon of honey (go local if you can)
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 mug of water
  • Half a lemon
  • 1 shot of whiskey (or 2, or 3. Choose your own adventure! My favorite inexpensive toddy whiskey is Old Forester)

First coat an empty mug with your tablespoon of honey, then add the dash of cayenne pepper.

Using a second mug, heat up your water, then pour it into the first mug of honey and pepper to melt everything down.

Next, squeeze the half of a lemon into your shot (or 2, or 3) of whiskey, then pour it into the piping hot honey/pepper/water mug.

You can also make a toddy concentrate by mixing everything but the water into a thermos, then rationing it into mugs of hot water on the go. Just be sure to only heat the water – including the whiskey, honey, and lemon in your boil will break down nutrients and evaporate the alcohol.

Don’t forget to take your vitamins + minerals

Mega Wellness Supplement // At the advice of my local health store I recently switched my drugstore multivitamin to Source Natural’s Wellness Formula. Hands down, this is THE best supplement I’ve ever taken. Take one look at the ingredients list and you’ll be finished with separate products for a daily vitamin, immune support, and cold medicine. I’ve also seen reviews that it can help with problem skin. I take the tablets (top left, above), but if you have a thing with vitamin smells, there’s a lighter capsule version.

Activated Charcoal // Everything I use Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal for all kinds of stuff. Its micropores soak up what it touches, so it’s great to use in a deep-cleansing face mask and can help clear up an upset stomach slash food poisoning slash those times you drink a whole bottle of wine by yourself (no judge, right?). It also makes a great natural teeth whitener. I haven’t set foot in a dentist’s office in four (five?) years, but get that same clean feeling when I break open a capsule of activated charcoal, mix in a dot of Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Peppermint Soap (with a million uses in its own right), and brush away. Some day when I’m feeling brave I’ll share a visual of the charcoal-brushing sessions. In the meantime you can ask my fiance about it as I harass him with “the spooky teeth” every single time.
Epsom Salts // Those long hot baths I crave as September rolls in are made even better with a big scoop of Dr. Teal’s eucalyptus-spearmint epsom salts. They exfoliate. They eliminate toxins. They regulate enzymes. They relax and soothe aching muscles. Mix a few tablespoons of them into a gallon of water and they’ll even nourish your houseplants.

Treat yourself to a few cold weather cures

Nurturing Farmaesthetics // I recently discovered Rhode Island’s Farmaesthetics and am so in love with this company, from the hand-written labels and cobalt apothecary bottles to the soft herbal elixirs in each glass jar. I cover my face in the deep lavender rub every morning now, and spray my legs with the aloe mist at night.
Rescue Remedy Spray // I stumbled across Bach’s Rescue Remedy Spray by way of Alexis Smart’s (pricier) dropper version. Made of star of Bethlehem, rock rose, cherry plum, impatiens, clematis, and grape-based brandy, both are a great substitute for coffee on a stressful afternoon. You can also use it to calm a nervous pet during thunderstorms and car trips.
Pine Tar Soap // If you’ve dropped by my Instagram lately, you already know about my obsession with Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap. The very sight of this soap warms my bones. It smells like a campfire and costs $6.
Tiger Balm // At the first sign of a cough I like to rub Extra Strength Tiger Balm on my chest and the soles of my feet. It’s like an arctic awakening for your sinuses and leaves your feet with the coolest fresh tingle at bedtime.

Soak It Up // If your skin is anything like mine, cold weather hits it hard. Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse is my lightweight daily defense, supplemented by coconut oil when I need an extra dose of moisture. For perfume, I’m that same Diptyque Figuier loyalist as last year, and on the face, it’s the same old routine of Thayer’s in the morning and coconut oil every few nights.
Natural Deodorant // If you’ve ever thought of switching to an aluminum-free deodorant, fall is a great time to try it out. You’re not yet in heavy sweaters but you’re past the summer swelter. Just be prepared to give your body a few weeks to detox as you go aluminum-free, and be open to trying out a few different formulas to get it right. I sampled a couple brands from Fig & Flower before choosing Piperwai’s Natural Deodorant, which smells ever-so-faintly of cola and works well with my body chemistry. 2017 update: I switched to Weleda Citrus Deodorant a couple seasons after this post – it’s a spray that lasts forever, is 100% natural, and reeeally works for me.

What seasonal routines do you swear by?

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