Guard Your Sleep
Sleep is the best beauty cream and health supplement. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is one of the quickest ways to shoot your immunity in the foot. So get yourself a sweet bedtime routine, and wind down for some epic sleep to stay well.
My favourite ways to guard my sleep:
- Turn off all electronics (including the TV!) an hour or two before bed. Give yourself time to literally unplug. Our devices give off a blue light that messes with our sleep hormone melatonin. The bright blue light of our dear screens and devices trick our brains into thinking it’s still daylight.
- If you can’t bear to unplug look for special night settings that turn the harmful blue-rays down. For my computer I use f.lux, it’s a great programme that reduces your screen’s blue light: https://justgetflux.com/
- Do something nice for yourself at the end of the day as a little self-care ritual, it’ll put you into a great mood for sleep. Some of my favourite things include making a nice herbal tea, giving myself a foot massage with some essential oils (cedarwood and lavender are two of my faves right now), and reading something inspiring, or journalling.
For more sleep tips, check this out.
Exercise & Movement
Exercise keeps our immune system-fighting strong, not least because it’s one of the most powerful anti-stress techniques. We all need lots of daily movement, but sadly our sedentary culture means most of us aren’t getting anywhere near enough movement,
Try slotting 20 minutes of movement at the beginning of the day, before the day gets away from you. Then, whatever way the winds blow later in the day, you’ll always be getting a minimum amount of exercise each day.
If 20 minutes seems like too much, start with 10 minutes. If that’s too much, go to 5 minutes. Make it a habit! Daily is the key, even if it’s just a small amount, you’ll earn good compound interest on it over time.
Besides exercise, keep your eyes peeled for ‘opportunities to move’. Do you have to sit down while you take that phone call? Could you stand? Walk? Squat?! Ask yourself ‘how can I get more movement into my daily life?” and watch as the opportunities start to present themselves. Katy Bowman’s book Move Your DNA offers lots of inspiring information and ideas. Her podcast is also well worth listening too. Just make sure you listen on the go 😉
Eat Real Food
Specifically lots of plants, ideally those in season. When we eat plants they gift us their immunity, we benefit from the many wondrous chemicals and compounds that comprise their immunity.
When we eat local and seasonal fruits and vegetables we receive the immunity from plants that are set up to thrive in our area, which is where we too are looking to thrive.
Another way to get more plant goodness is to use a variety of herbs and spices in your meals. The amount of antioxidants in herbs and spices compared to regular plants is crraaaay-zy.
Check out this ORAC Scale chart that illustrates the point nicely. Something like blueberries, which are well-known for their antioxidant punch, score around 2,400. Clove on the other hand, scores over a million!! See, craaaazy!
Don’t miss out, get your herbs and spices in there. It’s as simple as sprinkling some cinnamon on your porridge.
I’ve recently gone next level by incorporating some pure essential oils into some of my foods. Right now I’m loving adding a drop of doTERRA’s On Guard blend to my porridge. It includes clove, cinnamon and wild orange so packs a powerful antioxidant punch, and is delicious to boot. It’s been great while I’ve been away from home especially as I haven’t had my herbs and spices on hand and travelling about opens you up to all sorts of new bugs and possible infections, so you want to be more On Guard then ever. See what I did there? 🙂 Cinnamon is also super-duper useful in reducing sugar-cravings.
Which leads to the next point, reduce your sugar intake! It suppresses your immune system. This one’s a little tough for me as I’m a chocoholic, but the cinnamon is definitely helping!
Chill-ax – Reduce Stress
Stress puts you into fight-or-flight mode which suppresses functions that aren’t needed for the fight-or-flight. Our hectic modern lives are often fraught with low-level stress, so get yourself a strategy to deal with it. Create boundaries for yourself, don’t take on too much, take time out each day to just breathe and relax.
Carve out some time either at the beginning or end of each day (ideally both!) just for you, to meditate, journal, do some yoga…whatever helps you imprint a pattern of ease on your mind-body-spirit. Without some conscious practices built into your routine you’ll easily be swept up by the stress that surrounds us all. Unless you’re a complete cucumber and just too cool and totally unflappable. #envyyou
Mind Your Gut
The gut is known as the second brain. In Ayurveda it’s hailed as the root of all health. If digestion is healthy everything else is good, if digestion is messed up, all manner of problems unfold.
Did you know that 80% of our immunity is in our gut? And 90% of our serotonin!
Our gut is one place that’s full of bacteria. In fact, for every 1 human cell there are around 10 bacteria cell. We are totally outnumbered, so we better keep the bacteria dudes happy.
The best way to take care of your gut is to cut out (or seriously reduce) processed and junk food. Eat real foods that keep gut bacteria happy. You might also consider taking a probiotic – a supplement made of different bacterias that helps out the good bacterias in there. Another great option is to eat fermented foods, these serve as wonderful probiotics. I always have a batch of sauerkraut on the go, it couldn’t be easier to make, see recipe here:
Do some research into supplements to see if you might benefit from any. Most of us in the northern hemisphere at least need to supplement with vitamin D in the winter as we just don’t get enough sun exposure and this is a vital vitamin for our healthy functioning.
Reduce Your Toxic Load
If you’re eating well, exercising, sleeping like a trooper, taking time to zen-out and stay cool, then it might be time to look at reducing your toxic load.
Something like 80,000-90,000 chemicals have been introduced into our environment in the last 50-100 years or so. We’ve never been exposed to such a variety of chemicals, many of which haven’t been studied or testing thoroughly. They’re in our face cream, our toothpaste, our shampoo, our cleaning products, our carpets, furniture, even in our water supply. Everywhere you look, they’ll be room for improvement.
Don’t get bogged down. Notice the products you have in your home that you’re using regularly. Check out the ingredients labels. Don’t freak out at the enormity of the problem and do nothing. Pick one things at a time and see if there’s a better option available. Better still, have fun making your own products!
Use the Think Dirty App to help you assess products and make better purchasing decisions.
If you’d like to be in good company as you lighten your toxic-load then join my natural living facebook group for ideas and chit-chat on this topic.
If you’re interested in using essential oils to uplevel your health and wellbeing then check out the link below. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, I’m here to help!