I was leaving the office the other day and I realized how different the light is now that we are deep into September. The sun is setting much earlier than just a few weeks ago.
This change in light is always a reminder for me to start building up my immune system for the cooler months ahead. So today, I want to share with you a few essential practices that I’ve discovered over the years to keep my immune system healthy and strong.
- Get plenty of sleep – When the days start to get shorter, take a cue from nature and go to bed earlier. Sleep is one of the most effective ways to rebuild your immune system. I’m talking 9:30 pm! I know, it’s a bit radical but I swear by this. If we tune into the natural rhythm of the seasons and go to bed earlier, your body will thank you. Sleep is the most underrated natural remedy for nearly any ailment. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Even if you can’t get to sleep right away, still try to turn in earlier. Trade electronic devices and the television in for a good novel. Reading fiction before bed is shown to calm the mind while using anything with a screen tricks your brain into thinking it’s time to get up. BONUS: Try turning off your WiFi before bed. This is a new addition to my nightly routine and I’m not positive it’s doing anything, but I think having less electromagnetic waves circulating through the house is helping me sleep better! Have you ever tried it???
- Warm Water – Drink plenty of warm fluids, especially hot water – During the colder months, the air is dryer. This can make staying hydrated a challenge. Sipping hot water in the morning will wake your digestive system and get everything moving. Continuing to sip throughout the day will keep digestion free from build-up and congestion. Make sipping hot water part of your daily routine. It’s one of the simplest ways to make sure your system is hydrated and flowing properly.
- Eat Fermented Foods – Add Probiotics, Sauerkraut, Kimchi etc. Adding good bacteria to our system will help fight off the bad. The latest science suggests our gut microbiome is connected with every other system in our body. If we have healthy gut flora, we are much more likely to fight off bad bacteria. Ask your doctor for a high-quality probiotic recommendation or try adding raw sauerkraut to your diet. You can now find raw sauerkraut in pretty much any grocery store. Look for the kind in the refrigerated section. If you are not used to eating fermented foods start with adding 1 tablespoon to your meal once or twice a day. You can work your way up to two. Avoid refined sugar as much as possible. Sugar will feed the bad bacteria in your gut. Want to try making your own Sauerkraut? Watch my video tutorial here!
- Lymph Stretches – Our lymphatic system plays an important role in supporting the immune system. It helps the body get rid of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. When we move, we stimulate the lymphatic system. This is so important to make sure our body can properly get rid of anything that might keep it from functioning at it’s best. You can give it a helping hand by following these simple stretches once a day or a few times a week. The idea here is to keep the body moving. Click here to print out your lymphatic stretching guide.
- Essential Oils – Essential oils have been used for centuries to ward off disease. I use Thieves essential oil religiously this time of year. It contains essential oils of lemon, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. I diffuse it in my office and home and I rub it on the bottom of my feet every night before bed. Did you know your feet are one of the most absorbent parts of your body? If I come in contact with someone who has a cold, I’ll take a hot shower before bed and mix a few drops of Thieves with sweet almond oil, then slather it all over. It does the trick pretty much every time! Thieves essential oil contains anti-microbial properties and it’s a wonderful way to protect you and your family. Learn more about Thieves here.
- Decrease Stress: Over the past 10 years working as a Licensed Massage Therapist, I have become an expert on stress. Stress is inevitable, but it’s how we handle it that’s important. Stress is the leading contributor to so many diseases. Did you know being in constantly stressed out can break down your immune system? Chronic stress kicks on your sympathetic nervous system and puts you in the state of fight-or-flight. When your body thinks you are going to be eaten by a tiger, it doesn’t worry about protecting you from getting cancer down the road! If you feel constantly stressed out, let’s chat. Book your Complimentary BodyMind Strategy Session here and together we will look for ways for you to handle stress differently. On this call, we will get clear on how stress shows up for you and what steps you can begin to take to stress less and feel better. After our session, if you need further support we can also talk about what it would look like to work together through BodyMind Coaching.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions, comments or tips of your own! I love hearing about new ways to build immunity naturally!