YIKES! Peeps are texting and emailing me left and right- HELP! Winter has hit our family, we have long coughs that won’t go away, sneezing and congestion and we keep passing it around our families and yes, the tummy bug is going around too-
Please note, below is a list of things we do to help support our immune system PROACTIVELY from about Oct- March here in Washington, DC. I do not use the same products or rituals, routines ALL year otherwise they are not as potent. When we are building and strengthening our immune system, we go slow and steady and do not over do it. When we are treating a cold or virus we are a bit more aggressive with our dosing and more intentional with the amount and the frequency at which it is given.
Holistic Health is a lifestyle approach to our wellness.. proactive not reactive. Meaning, there is not something I just “take” to fix what’s presenting right now- I have to look at the WHOLE picture, at ALL the parts that are triggering and effecting my body, mind, spirit. In general, there’s a bit more of an inquiry, reflection and engaged relationship to our health. I know this model is not always supported in mainstream culture but let’s step back a bit and look at the ways we can cultivate our immune strength and support starting today… email me with other ideas that you use or what below was helpful.
****Also, we are humans. We catch things from one another. The reality is we cannot avoid this- BUT we can shorten the duration, we can decrease the intensity, and we can be way more proactive about our health than we think- ALL . YEAR. LONG. OH and I encourage you to do all of this with ALL ages- babies to teens to seniors!*******
1. Eat your greens, daily! however you can, make sure to intentionally add greens to your diet. I like to throw a handful of spinach or kale in my smoothies or my soups or make sure I have a side salad with them at least once a day. Lately, I have been craving raw spinach and eating it as a snack in between meals- yum! Milo loves it too. OH and on the veggie side- PLEASE be mindful to eat warm veggies in the winter- if you only eat salads, that can be very drying to your digestion- so it’s nice to have some lightly steamed veggies at every meal to help with digestion. Be mindful that you are mixing up and creating variety with the veggies you eat and how you prep them.
2. Warm Regular epsom salt full baths or foot baths. I love this brand. And I use a variety of essential oils daily in my baths. My favorites are Serenity, Balance , Deep Blue and then just making up my own blends and trying new oils based on how I feel… ohh- and when I want energy I use THIS– which I’m obsessed with. I also put a drop in the kids baths and I use a little salts for them too!
3. Sleep more. Please, people- GET SOME SLEEP. There are loads of ways you can holistically and naturally support your sleep and if you suffer from not getting enough sleep, trouble falling or staying asleep this can be one of the simplest, most profound ways to strengthen immunity. My sleep well tool kit includes- a diffuser next to my bed, relaxing sleepy oils like this and this, my journal for reflections and getting stuff off my mind and inspiring books that I can read a few pages of before bed, when I wake early- This is when I tend to read writing memoirs, creativity books, books on spirituality, buddhism, parenting, mindfulness.. and lately I get most of these from the library.
4. Investigate- It can be really helpful to have an inquisitive attitude about our bodies and what’s going on with them. Pay attention! If you are eating too much sugar this season, how does it make you feel ? I get a little headache and I use DigestZen oil when I get a belly ache and feel sluggish and I know the next day I have to pull back and have a super clean eating day. If my energy feels scattered or low- I go to acupuncture, if something is going on more intense or longer than a few days, I might go see my natural doc. I use massage and movement classes to take care of myself. The important thing here is.. 1. does this practice help me? do I feel energized after? Is there anything going on in my body that needs a bit more attention– NOW is the time to get the help you need. Chronic illness and pain TYPICALLY DOES NOT GET BETTER ( especially as we get older) when we pretend it’s not going on or it’s “not that bad”. So- if you run 7 days a week but find that you are getting a cold every few weeks- it might be a sign from your body to take a break, try some new movement practices to even/ balance your system out and go for a run 1-2 times a week instead. So be inquisitive about your body and list out a few supports that might be helpful to try!
.Mind & Spirit
5. Yoga and Meditation- daily. 80% of our dis-EASE comes from stress. The other day I got some hard, stressful news in the middle of the day, and immediately I could feel a cold coming on… Cultivating a regular, consistent, daily yoga and meditation practice is a really important way to reset the system, allow our internal systems to do what they do best, to process emotions as well as to ground ourselves and calm our minds. A little bit counts, give yourself permission to start a 5 minutes yoga and a 5 minute meditation practice today. Can’t get to a class? Try Yoga Anytime or Yogaglo or any of our free 5-10 minute practices here.
6. Affirmations- Our mindset when we start getting sick or when others around us get sick tends to look something like this.. ” I’m going to get this. I don’t want to get this. Why do we always get sick. I can’t get sick this week I have ____ to do. Do we have enough medicine? What can I take? Now I need a quick fix. What’s going to stop this?!? Oh no- I feel sick, it’s getting worse!”
Here is what I propose we bring to our awareness instead…
” I am healthy. My body knows how to heal. Resting, nourishing, relaxation will help my body flourish. Breathing in, I am healthy and calm. Breathing out, I let go of what is not serving me in this moment.”
7. Less stress, more rest. Okay this tip is around making space in our schedule for long, lazy cozy mornings and quiet reflective nights. Clearing our schedules for plenty of downtime, creative time, connection time. This is where you will find space to make healthy foods and soups, where you will find time to do a few moments of yoga/ meditation by yourself or with your family. Winter is the time for reflection, to nourish our introverted sides, for putting our feet up and letting our systems have a break from the constant distracted adrenaline rush of daily modern life. If you or your family members get sick often – it’s time to ask yourself, are we doing WAY too much? Where can we pull back? What needs to come off our schedule ( just for now, not for always?!) Another question I like to ponder is- are all the family members getting what they need? How can we work together and communicate in this season to make sure we all feel aligned and we are all on the same page with the family flow. For us, this looks like talking about what events to attend, what we need to let go of, what brings us joy, and how we are feeling with our schedule. Each year, each season it changes and it’s so wonderful to lean into what mother nature is whispering to us to do, feel, be in this season . Side note- I also find this is the BEST setting for my most creative, meaningful, enjoyable ideas for work, life and biz.
8. Cultivate JOY! A joy practice is something I DEEPLY believe in. WHAT BRINGS YOU JOY? start a list and try to practice/ integrate something for the list daily. Sometimes we have to “remember” to bring JOY into our daily life ( especially during super busy seasons) so.. some of the things on my joy lists are… all year, all season nature walks, reading a chapter of the book I’m reading, moving my body to music I love ( even 1 song feels great!), painting/ creating something ( even 15 minutes nourishes me!), making a date with my best girl friends or snuggling with my babies with no agenda or screens or distractions. So.. INTENTIONALLY bringing more joy into your life- STRENGTHENS your immunity! I love all the research that has come out about laughter and feel good hormones flooding your body!! So, FOR OUR HEALTH- let’s all commit to more of what brings you joy!
BONUS- Essential oils for immune strengthening Many of you have asked what oils to use and how to use them. Read this below to get some ideas.. remember there is no ONE way, there are lots of ways to use oils to support all your wellness goals.
On Guard– I use pretty much all of these over the fall / winter season. I use the toothpaste all year round, and the throat drops and beadlets when I travel and as hand sanitizer on airplane and the metro. I also ingest the beadlets when someone sneezes near or on me. I diffuse On Guard oil in my bedroom and kitchen and put the oil on my feet and the kids daily when we are healthy. When we have a virus, I apply more regularly like 1-2x an hour.
Oregano– I use this oil regularly when I have been exposed to a virus. The moment I feel something coming on, I start to rub it on my feet and diffuse. It is potent and I have found really positive results on myself when using it to shorten or prevent a virus- it’s quite magical for my body. Oregano is a “hot” oil and should be use diluted- I am able to put 1 drop in my water bottle and ingest it it that way, I like the way it tastes – but I know for many others it burns their lips- and that method won’t work for them. I would not give children to ingest.
Melaluca – This is the 3rd one I use in my bath and as an immune strengthening oil. I rub on bottoms of feet or diffuse. Do not ingest Melaluca.
Lemon– This is just part of my daily morning routine- putting 1 drop of oil in warm water to start the day and get my digestion moving and activated. Again, a proactive habit I have.
There are so many others that can help support a healthy lifestyle- if you want to learn more, join our Oils Enthusiasts team and playshops- email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.