8 Tips for a HEALTHY, HAPPY Winter (immune support NOW)

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!*******

Body

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 GuardI 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 pleasance@lilomm.com for more information.

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Family Meetings

 

After being away for 7 weeks,  our transition home was {kinda} smooth. Mostly because mama did everything she could to clean and organize and declutter the house BEFORE school starts this week……

I was able to do most stuff and get the kids involved in the donating projects and organizing books. We STILL have a lot of stuff- that’s for sure but I’m working on it slowly. It takes time, and I know that since it’s a priority to me- that I am going to be the one who is  motivated to actually work on the clearing out of our “STUFF”, especially with growing kiddos where there seems to ALWAYS be something we can get rid of.

BUT after all that cleaning and clearing – I was still feeling a bit unsettled and I realized that we are not on the same page. As the CEO and leader of the Silicki crew- it was my job to pull together our family meeting notes & values, and to get us on track for a weekly family meeting. We have done meetings before- sort of here and there with the kids, mostly b/c Milo was too young to get it. Mel and I had our own planning time on our weekly date nights but now with Saylor going into 3rd grade and Milo starting Kindergarten- it’s the PERFECT time to set up a weekly family meeting.

Also, I could tell that we need a regular consistent date to talk about what is working well for us – each member of the family and what needs some attention. Who is feeling heard and supported in the family and who is feeling frustrated or irritated about something (this time, it was me!) We needed a safe, calm regular space to communicate around how we live together.

So I put together a super quick check in sheet for us to use each week and I set the time to be the same each week- SUNDAYS at 5pm- FAMILY MEETING. Now, we like to go out to dinner on Sunday nights so I told everyone we could have the meeting at the restaurant and I brought the check in papers and everything we need. Currently, we are working on pulling together our values to create our family mission statement, but this process is taking time- everyone wants more time to think about what we value as a family.

Also, so that I don’t overwhelm them I try to have just 1 thing I want to do at the meeting, one thing to discuss. So for example, we always go over the check in sheet ( see questions below) and then I usually bring 1 other topic.. this week it will be FALL schedule b/c over the weekend I finished mapping out the after school activities and the weekends I am working, etc so that we can discuss if we have enough down time, alone time, family time, etc.

I LOVE doing this. I feel so empowered by our unit when we have these conversations and GET ON THE SAME PAGE!  It helps my husband and I be able to move a bit more easily through the week – when we know generally who is responsible for what and when, what nights will be late for work or early for exercise, etc. And I can honestly feel that our intentionality in this method DEEPLY helps Milo who has trouble with transition and change – so being able to connect each week about what’s ahead is really helping him adjust as well. And Saylor LOVES to know what’s going on which day, she LOVES being part of a FAMILY and this routine has been really helpful for all of our relationships. I also know I have a place each week to bring up something that might have happened the week before ( like both children sleeping in our bed) and there is WAY less drama or frustration b/c we all sit down together and express how we are – within a safe boundary.

Here are the questions on our Weekly Meeting Form..

Each person gets a turn to share..

What went well this week for you..

at school/work/camp

at home/personal/family

with health/fitness/care

What did not get well for you…..

at school/work/camp

at home/personal/family

with health/fitness/care

What did you learn this week? 

could be something you tried that did not work out- or something you learned at school or at work or about yourself!

Do you need any support right now from the family or outside the family?

If you want some guidelines for creating a Family Mission Statement- email me and I’ll send them over to pleasance@lilomm.com

Also, I just finished the outline for our FIRST FAMILY THRIVE Intensive workshop- to be held later this fall- stay tuned!! Topics will cover things like- planning,healthy eating, movement and meditation for the whole family.

You can find loads of resources online for family charters, family mission statements, family meeting outlines- HONESTLY, I keep it simple and I just create my own template.

My friend Lori, from Mindful Return also wrote these posts about her planning- these might also give you some ideas!

Annual Planning Day: The Saturday Basket on Steroids

Saturday Secrets: Tips on Living a Calmer Life as a Working Mama

so….. what’s next?

well, just a short 4 days after handing over the keys to our studio… I can feel the question sinking in. all this week people have asked me… “SO, What’s next for you? What will you do with your time?”  and I know they are trying to be loving and supportive and they are curious!  However,  I have spent the last 18 months diving into a shedding-letting go-less is more mindset… which means, it’s  really hard for me to answer this. Because in the past, I always had a next. 

and now..

nothing. I have no BIG plans, no crazy new projects, no big pivot or shift. I will keep doing what I do. A little teaching, some writing, lots of inquiry and reading and creating… but no, nothing really new. 

I am not necessarily “doing less” day to day but I most certainly dont have the same kinds of communications coming at me. the texts, the emails, the calls have slowed down a bit. The constant need to revamp an offering, change a price, go over class numbers, meet with marketing and scheduling and the bookeeper.. it has all been toned down with our biz restructuring. 

suddenly there are hours where I am not by or on my phone and I dont have fear when I do turn it on- that SOMETHING will have happened at the studio that needs my attention. I have a thing about responsibility and integrity and answering calls and texts in a timely manner and it was getting to me. I was letting it take over. 

to have more presence in my daily life AND do work I love feels truly like  “the privilege of a lifetime.”   

   -Joseph Campbell  

I am aware that in the past my responsibilities, commitments and creations tend to be rather large and rather public and intense.  So, as I gracefully enter into the next chapter post-studio with possibility, strength and confidence… I am curious to see how it will unfold and how the dance of ambition,  motivation and energy that are strongly in my nature will appear into my new normal of early bed times,  guilt -free self care, and a desire to serve and learn and teach as my own spirtual journey continues to deepen and flourish and evolve.

“so.. what do you do all day?” someone asked me this week. 

3 days a week I teach privately for half a day and then get 1-2 hours for admin work for the lil omm classes, marketing, financials, etc

Sprinkled around the rest of the week,  I teach a babies class, a preschool class, an elementary school class and Yoga for Women.

Honestly, each day is a combination of teaching people and classes and biz development, personal development, writing and mothering. In the next few months I will finish my e-book & probably offer some health coaching privates and groups/retreats in parternship with other workshops I want to lead and create. 

I have a full plate.

2 things I am proud of…

1. saying NO to a number of opps that came in my inbox this month… just clearly stating- I am not able to commit at this time. The truth is MY PLATE IS FULL. I am the home/caregiver and my children need me now more than ever. 

2. financially, I made more this month than I did the last 2 quarters I ran the studio. I think this is really, really impt to share in order to cultivate a healthy honest financial perspective& relationship … this topic is so incredibly silent in the the yoga world and I KNOW why . I KNOW many of us would teach for free if we could but…. I bring this up – bc I am proud to contribute to our family, pay our biz bills and to start the conversation around worth, money, value, yoga and biz.

What is so interesting to me is that when I was running the studio.. it never felt like enough, and even once we reached our goals- we raised them. There were always studio or techonology or staffing upgrades to be made… BUT  there was something SO out of alignment for me about this practice of NEVER ENOUGH.  and now, that its just me, I can set a monthly target, make a work plan, achieve my own personal “enough” and get on with living my life  (not working my life) . I can live in alignment with my values, as I set and determine them, without the more!more!more whisper. 

As I continue on this journey, I am amazed at how this world keeps expanding. I want to keep living in “open awareness” to see what is possible for me, as we have no idea what is around the corner. A great teacher, Karen Maezen Miller once told me , “you dont have to be amazing.”  And so now, I sit with that. Just moving back- letting other people take over, do the job, say yes, show up, run the show. 

and enjoy my life, no matter what happens next. 

 

    

   

at grandmas house

everywhere you turn there is beauty & history. its like being in a museum. my recent trip home has inspired me to capture some of these images and stories. A new project for me, I will be working with my grandmother to document memories about her 86 years of life, and her 95 year old house that has been filled with my family the whole time.