Sometimes, we hit a little bump in the road that reminds us we haven’t got it all figured out. A little indication that we are a work in progress, and that we have to keep working if we want to continue to grow. I hit one of those bumps this weekend, head on, and I am actually feeling pretty grateful for it. This bump left me feeling run-down and totally depleted, but it also reminded me of all the work I have done, and how important it is to keep it up (even when I think I deserve a little break).
I “played” a little too much over the past few weeks – I had friends and family in town, an herbal conference in beautiful Camp Winona, celebrations, dinner plans, and I got kinda lazy with the practices that keep me feeling good – things like my morning routine, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating whole foods, getting to yoga class, and taking the time I need to do whatever it is that makes me feel nourished, grounded and healthy. Yes, I totally slacked in ALL of those areas (can you believe it?), and I paid the price.
I pride myself on not getting sick. I love it when people tell me to stay away from them because they aren’t feeling well; I see it as a challenge. I wonder “can my immune system hold up to this?” and it (usually) always does. That is why when my main squeeze started feeling a little run down, I thought nothing of it. I dosed him up with herbal tinctures and supplements and shared some loving words of advice: “You don’t want to get sick? Just start eating better. Drink more water. Take your supplements. Stop eating sugar…” You get the picture.
So you can imagine my surprise when I started feeling that little tickle in my throat… HUH?? What is this? Nope, it just can’t be… Wait, it is.
Then I made the connection.
I had been running around like a busy bee, putting my body through some serious wear and tear, so it was no wonder I wasn’t ready to fight this one off! My immune system was weaker then normal because my body had not been properly cared for! And I was the one responsible!
This was a great opportunity to get clear on a few things:
1. What do I need to do everyday to keep my mind and body strong, and prevent this from happening again?
2. What can I use to help my immune system get back on its feet and kick this thing to the curb?
3. How can I best utilize this time of rest and healing?
Great! I was turning this into a learning experience, and although 3 days of feeling exhausted and unmotivated isn’t ideal, I walked away with a lot of good stuff…
What do I need to do every day to keep my body AND mind healthy and strong?
– a healthy body is a hydrated body, plain and simple. It is estimated that we should be drinking about half of our body weight in ounces everyday!
Eat whole foods (with a focus on a variety of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables)
– When I am focusing on foods that are living, luscious and vibrant, I am much less likely to crave foods that aren’t supporting my health – like those gruyere biscuits at the Ravenous Pig… anyone else?
Get enough sleep (7 hours minimum for this gal!)
– Sleep is when our body heals itself. It is DIRECTLY related to the health of our body and our mind, and it is estimated that we need about 8 hours every night.
Move (sweat, breath deeply, connect to my body, and detox all that toxic sh*t)
– Our body heals eight times faster when we are exercising on a regular basis… Eight times!
– I have found that on days where I completely abandon these practices (as in I don’t even do one of them), I am more likely to be careless about other decisions, like putting off an email or having that extra glass of red wine.
Accomplish something (write a blog post, call a friend, make a connection, do something that scares me, plan my meals for the week and go grocery shopping)
– We all know how good it can feel to cross something off the list, and that is exactly what I am talking about with this one. Working from home is not always as glamourous as it may seem, so it is important to infuse my day with small tasks along with the long-term ones so I can see and feel that I completed something. And then cross it off my list!
What will help me boost my immune system and get me feeling healthy soon?
I am always suggesting immune boosting tips to others that are feeling slightly under the weather or have a tickle in their throat, and now I was ready to take my own advice and load up on all those immunity foods!
Tinctures are herbs in a super-concentrated, liquid form. You can use an individual herb or buy a formula (a mixture of herbs) that supports a specific area or function in the body (you might have seen my Brain and Memory tincture that I posted on Instagram last week). These cute little dropper bottles make it quick and easy to get a good dose of medicinal herbs into your life. For general immune strength, some of my favorites are:
Immune Defense by Herb Pharm
Oregano Oil by Vitality Works (or whichever brand is available in your health food store)
My Community Extract by Host Defense
These super-herbs are all GREAT for the immune system, so get them in any way you can as soon as you begin to feel run-down. Make tea by boiling garlic and ginger; make a miso soup with garlic, ginger, cayenne, and some leafy greens; make a salad dressing by blending olive oil and apple cider vinegar with garlic, cayenne and raw honey.
About 80% of our immune system surrounds our digestive system, so it is fair to say that a healthy digestive system helps create a healthy immune system! Probiotics help restore the good bacteria that our belly needs to properly digest and absorb food while keeping the bad bacteria in check. I usually recommend taking a high quality probiotic on a regular basis, and would definitely recommend it to boost the immune system to someone feeling under the weather.
Hot lemon water
Lemon is a natural healer. To make hot lemon water, simply add the juice from 1/2 a lemon into a cup of hot water with raw honey (honey being optional) and you have yourself a healing beverage! Feeling crazy? Boil the water with a few crushed cloves of garlic and add the lemon juice to that… Double the power, double the fun.
I was experiencing some stuffiness in my nose, so I whipped out my netti pot and got to rinsing. I promise, this thing is not as scary as it seems, and it works wonders!! I like to use the salt that the netti pot came with (a fine sea salt is great) mixed with warm water. After rinsing both nostrils, I use a little olive oil on my finger and moisturize the inside of my nose (I read that the saline solution alone can dry out our nasal cavity, so it is best to moisturize after using – thank you John Douillard!).
How can I best utilize this time?
Being sick this past weekend wasn’t exactly how I pictured spending my time, but it actually taught me a lot, and I walked away feeling really clear about a number of different things. Instead of getting angry that I was feeling ill and not able to be out and about, I realized that I was feeling this way for a reason, and it was my duty to reflect on what that reason was. I reviewed the week in my head and quickly realized how neglectful I was being of my health (of course I got sick!). Spending the weekend in, I got to test out some immune-boosting remedies, created some fun immunity recipes, and I took care of myself in a way that I haven’t in years! Turns out this weekend probably taught me a lot more about myself and the importance of my actions then being out and about with friends.
I share this with you because I encourage you to make the most of your situation. When you are feeling down, frustrated, angry or sick, is it possible to find something positive to take away from that experience? What can you take-away from that situation and use moving forward to be better prepared or more at ease? How can you make the most of each moment in your life? You deserve to be happy and feel empowered, and I am here to remind you of that!
Stay healthy! And if you need extra support, I am here for you!
with love and strong immunity,