As we’re right in the middle of winter here in Australia, we thought it would be a great time to talk about ways in which to boost your immune system and dodge the many colds and flu’s that circulate around this time of the year. We also discuss ways to boost your child’s immune systems, as we all know just how easy it is for them to spread their cold throughout the whole family.
The importance of sleep
This is something you’ve heard us talk about a lot – and for good reason! Sleep is just so important for your wellbeing and when you don’t get a good sleep, you tend to physically feel it in your body and mind the next day.
What we want to really focus on is how to set up regular sleep patterns. Yes, that means turning off Netflix and your phone by a certain hour, and getting into a regular routine no matter what the season!
Avoid sleeping with your phone right next to your bed, is it something you really need to go to sleep with? If you wake in the night do you grab your phone and check your phone? This is a sure fire way to have an interrupted sleep pattern.
Try to aim to get to bed at the same time each night, give or take half an hour to an hour. Do all those things that help you to fall asleep quicker, like using an electric blanket to make your bed nice and toasty.
It’s funny that we tend to be pretty good at getting our kid’s into a great sleeping routine, but sometimes we forget to look after ourselves. Your body is a human body too! You’ll work out what your body likes the most, but in general, if you’re not getting to sleep by 11pm or 11.30pm then you’re missing out on your optimal time for sleep. This is where your body recovers the most.
Your immune system will protect you best when you set up the routines that allow your body to adequately rejuvenate and recover.
Listening to your body
It’s never too late to start to get in tune with your body and start to understand what it means when you feel a bit sluggish, have a brain fog or can feel yourself coming down with something.
Rather than ignoring it and getting on with life, as is often the case for us busy parents, you need to find a way to go back a level, before you get to the stage of chronic illness or sickness. Read the signs along the way, take that day off or ask the husband or kids to help out a bit more with the chores while you recover.
If you can afford it, go and book in that message or do some self-care, even a bath or a nice peaceful walk can do wonders. So before you let yourself get to the stage of absolute exhaustion, take the steps to unwind and rest as much as you can. If you do wake with a sore throat you can also boost your immunity with essential oils, consumption of fermented foods, bone broths, hydration and getting more sleep. If you’re stressed, then finding ways to unwind from that stress is so important. While you might not be able to take a day off work, there are certainly others things that you can do…
This is soo easy to make yourself and even easier to buy the bone broth powder that we stock on our website! Bone broth is great for our immunity!
For making your own chicken broth all you need to do is get some good chicken bones (maybe some chicken feet if you’re feeling brave!), some veggies like celery, herbs, corn cobs, carrot and all the hearty veggies that won’t break down and then throw them in whole without worrying about peeling. This is a great way to use up older veggies in your fridge too.
When you do peel an onion or any other veggies during the week, you can put those aside and use in your bone broth. Put in a bit of apple cider vinegar to bring out the marrow in the bones which are so good for your immune system.
We stock bone broth on our website, which is just a powder that you can add to anything. If you do have leftover meals where you’ve used bone broth, this makes great dog food as they also receive all the benefits of the bone broth. It’s never been easier to add a scoop into your spag bol, shepherd’s pie, scrambled eggs, veggie roasts or curries.
Things like sauerkraut are so good for your body, along with kimchi and kombucha. We’ve just done a whole Facebook live series on how to make the perfect kombucha (see resources below for link) which is really easy to make, and the whole family will love. It becomes a bit of a treat to sit down and enjoy, the kids also think that it’s a special drink- which it is!
If you’re just not into the taste of all the fermented foods or drinks, then get onto a good quality pre or a probiotic supplement.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
In winter it can be a bit hard to gloss over this oh so important habit. The tap water is cold and it makes your teeth hurt and gives you an ice cream headache (at least down here in Tasmania anyway!) Tracey admits it, she’s even pretty bad at hydrating in winter, but you can always choose a hot drink to boost your hydration levels. You can also purchase a 2L water jug and fill that up, by the end of the day if that’s still got water in it then you know you need to drink up!
It’s just not a nice feeling to have that dry throat and dry skin when you’re not adequately hydrated. Even that dry throat feeling means you’re well into the point of dehydration. Water helps to flush out toxins and keep you out of the sick bay this winter!
Winter is the time where it can be so easy to skip out on your exercise routine, due to plummeting temperatures and the temptation of being warm and snuggly at home. It’s cold and dark early in the morning and it always seems easier to exercise in summer.
However, so many gyms have great competitive rates on their membership fees, which leaves you with no excuse for shorter days. If you can hire some workout equipment over the winter period or get onto Youtube where there are thousands, if not millions of free videos you can watch on exercise then this will also help you to create a winter workout routine.
High-intensity workouts are good for overall strength, fitness and release of endorphins, and really important as you move into your older years. Strength training is so good for your bones, with so many science-backed studies for improving the risk of getting osteoporosis.
Yoga is incredible for your immune system as it works on your bones and internal organs, all the things underneath the surface! Yoga is about focusing on the breath, releasing tension and releasing thought, which is incredibly calming. If you’re just not into yoga, try push through your limits and keep going. There are so many different versions of yoga, so explore which option suits you best. It’s all about what works for you and your body. Bottom line, just keep moving in winter!
These are absolutely going to help you stay out of the sick bay, as they’re natural plant-based medicines, that have been around since forever. We always laugh that so many people think that essential oils are a new-age thing. When your immune system gets down, go to the essential oils that help boost your immunity. Even Googling essential oils for immune support will go a long way in introducing this huge topic into your life.
There are so many calming oils to help you fall asleep, even if you have a lavender bush at home, you can rub some of the purple flowers along your arm or take a deep inhale of those beautiful aromas.
These oils have been used for centuries and will help you to get in tune with your body. You can even add them to your food for extra flavour. Try to throw them (the edible ones) into your bone broth, kombucha or even glass of water to make it taste better, which in turn will encourage you to drink more (lemon or grapefruit are both great oils for this).
Easy Air by doTERRA is great for exercising as it helps you to breathe easier, or Ice Blue for your joints to get through the hard workouts. Essential oils can be used as a preventative measure, and also as a remedy or treatment when you do find that you get sick.
This one probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise to you! This is a huge aspect of reducing toxic loads by keeping chemical-made foods that are loaded with synthetics, preservatives and additives that you simply don’t need in your body. Ask yourself do you really want to be eating food that is designed to last for years in your cupboard? The same goes for skin-care products.
Jo touches on a history of her family where they were always sick, constantly run down and tired, bloated, inflamed and not sleeping. The children were also always sick with tonsillitis, ear infections, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, constantly sick, red rosy cheeks and so many other illnesses. It got to the point where Eva her daughter was always on back to back antibiotics, and their GP knew her family really well. That just became the norm!
When questioning the GP on the constant sickness, he replied that it was, in fact, normal when they are daycare. They would then remind her of all of the germs and sicknesses that are going around. It really doesn’t have to be that way! The moment her family decided to eat additive-free, was the moment they all stopped getting so sick- especially Eva.
Break the process down
Feeling better all comes down to eating better, then gradually moving onto improving your cleaning products, body-care, essential oils and fermented foods. This is a huge process that doesn’t just happen overnight.
Start with one thing and stick to it the best you can. Pick something that you feel you’re struggling with the most and tackle that. Perhaps it’s improving your sleep habits and doing everything you can to improve that. Take a few steps back and ask yourself if you’re doing everything you possibly can to help the problem.
While you can take on all these hints and tips yourself, finding a really good naturopath can give you great guidance in the early stages of your journey, in order to help you truly get in tune with your body. They will help you to understand what’s really going on, and help you find the ways to boost your gut health and immunity through winter. These days many health food stores have naturopaths on site that you can consult with! We hope you’ve found this podcast incredibly useful for improving your overall health!