As warm summer days turn to crisp fall evenings, you may find yourself feeling a little “under the weather”. The change of seasons affects all of us on some level, and it's common to feel tired and need more rest or even come down with a cold or sore throat. Our bodies are always communicating with us, and these symptoms mean it's a great opportunity to focus on what our bodies need to thrive, and especially on boosting our immune system for the months ahead.
If you're a parent, the beginning of autumn also means the start of a new school year – and we all know how challenging it can be to stay well when it seems like every other week there's a new bug making the rounds.
When it comes to our health it's always best to be proactive as opposed to reactive, and these 7 tips are meant to help set you up for success.
1. Drink More Water
Yep, we all know we should be doing it and why, but it's something we could all use a reminder on. Drinking plenty of water this time of year helps to support the natural detoxification processes that are happening in our bodies with the change of seasons. A well-hydrated body means toxins are more likely to be flushed right out rather than circulating around taxing our immune system and making us feel lethargic and unwell. So drink up!
2. Get Extra Sleep
Sometimes it's easier said than done. But it's so important to make sure we prioritize our sleep, especially while our bodies acclimate to a change of seasons. When we're getting adequate sleep, our bodies have a chance to do the deep healing work needed to stay on the up and up. Chronic sleep deprivation will eventually cause the immune system to crash and also impacts hormonal balance and mental health. So make sure you take a look at your sleep habits and make some adjustments if needed.
Find 6 Tips for Getting The Best Sleep of Your Life HERE
3. Increase Your Nutrient Intake
The body will naturally thrive if it has the right tools – and nutrition is a key player. Making sure we are getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients this time of year means the body will have resources to draw from. It also means we'll be in a more robust state if we do come in contact with the inevitable pathogen. Focus on fruits and veggies that are rich in Vitamin A and C like sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, citrus, bell peppers, and all of the dark leafy greens. Antioxidants are also a key immune system booster so don't skimp on those end-of-season berries. Consider juicing on a regular basis if you don't already. Juicing removes all of the fiber, essentially flooding the body with highly absorbable nutrition while bypassing digestion. Juicing is also cleansing, detoxifying, and hydrating. Win-win. Is your life too crazy-busy to eat well all of the time? Don't be afraid to supplement. A high quality, organic, food-based multivitamin taken on a regular basis can do wonders for our health, and help shore things up where our diets fall short.
4. Eat Adaptogens
Adaptogens are certain superfoods and herbs that have the ability to help support our bodies in managing change and stress. Meaning all of us can benefit from ingesting more adaptogens because change and stress are normal parts of life. Try incorporating things like turmeric root, maca root, ashwagandha, ginseng, rhodiola, holy basil, and medicinal mushrooms into your diet on a regular basis. It can be as easy as blending them right into your morning coffee, adding them to a smoothie, or enjoying them in the form of a delicious raw chocolate bark.
5. Treat Your Tummy
About 80% of our immune system resides in our gut – so don't forget to give your tummy a little extra TLC during the change of seasons. We all need probiotics on a daily basis to help keep our digestion balanced and to make sure we have an army of good guys ready to go when pathogens invade. Probiotic bacteria have also been shown to help keep inflammation at bay and lessen the severity of a seasonal cold and/or flu. Consider taking an organic probiotic supplement daily if you don't already, and also load up on natural food-based sources of probiotics like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and plant-based yogurt.
6. Jump on the Self Care Wagon
Yes, #selfcare may be trending something fierce right now, but it's so much more than a trend – it's an awareness and a core practice that helps ensure we stay healthy throughout our life. It's essential. Self-care can look like many different things – we all have unique needs and lives so this will take a bit of turning within. It might look like getting a massage or a facial on a regular basis, carving out more time to spend with friends and loved ones, taking more baths loaded with salts and essential oils, meditating for a few minutes in the morning or before bed, getting back into an exercise routine, setting better boundaries about your time so you have a moment to breathe, or otherwise doing more of what makes you feel nourished, relaxed, and good in your body, mind, and spirit. When we look after ourselves on a regular basis, our immune system is stronger as a result.
7. Avoid Toxic Chemicals
Hand washing is essential in order to avoid picking up and passing around bugs as we head into the fall season. And those convenient hand sanitizers seem like a great idea especially if our jobs or lives require that we interact with a lot of people and touch shared surfaces – especially when immediate hand washing isn't always an option. But not all anti-bacterial hygiene products are safe for us, in fact, some are downright toxic. The chemicals found in many conventional soaps and sanitizers can actually harm our immune system by killing beneficial microbes that live on our skin, and in our bodies. There are also other risks involved with these chemicals like increasing one's risk for thyroid cancer. We can avoid the risks by sticking with basic, natural soap and warm water, and by choosing hand purifiers that use the power of natural essential oils to kill pathogenic bacteria while protecting our immune systems.
May you havea healthy, happy transition from summer to fall!