It’s back to school and for our community that means homeschool days are back! Who doesn’t get excited about seeing friends again, getting the school rooms ready and reading great literature!
But school season also brings fevers, flus and other things. When school starts, staying clear from germs and boosting your immunity is a must. And if you’re consistent with just a few of these tips, you’ll reap the benefits this coming season.
In our family we’ve been researching and building our natural medicine cabinet for a while and I’m excited to share these great tips with you. You may find some of the same standby’s you and your family use and you may find some fresh ideas to help you foster a new mindset or a new habit to add to your wellness routine.
Basic Immunity Boosting
Supporting your immune system is more about ‘healthy’ habits than anything else. Using hand sanitizers is a must for us. We make our own with this simple recipe. A great tip is putting small bottles in your car and kids backpacks. That way, whether you’re just picking the kids up from school and didn’t have a chance to wash hands or you’re leaving the playground, you’ll always have something to get rid of the germs.
Salves are also a great way to boost your system with herbs and essential oils, catering to what your body needs. We use them for respiratory support, sleep aid, allergy aid, and extra antioxidant support (using clove oil). Here is a great all purpose healing salve.
When the kids come home from school we’ve started a new afternoon routine of diffusing. Diffusing works by putting essential oils directly in the air. This is also great because it cleans the air before the germs have a chance to find you. Diffusing has many other benefits including lifting your mood and reducing stress (all good for keeping you healthy). Another great tip for homeschoolers – you can diffuse peppermint oil and a citrus oil to increase focus (great for getting that last hour of school work in).
Another way to clean indoor air from germs is using salt lamps. They are commonly made from Himalayan salt crystals that release negative ions in to the air, which helps clean it. The only downside…. my kids like to lick them!
Using Food to Boost Immunity
Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Eating right, getting sleep and drinking plenty of water can all help your immune system run strong. Doing just a few of these things will help, but keep in mind that variety is the key to proper nutrition.
In our family, we’ve created daily habits around a few key things. First, at each meal everyone has to create a rainbow on their plate. The reason for a rainbow is because nutrient dense foods include colorful fruits and vegetables such as dark, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and berries etc. Second, we try to eat foods that support a healthy gut, like probiotic yogurt and a fermented food like sauerkraut. Each of these foods packs a punch of digestive aid and helps to build a stronger immune system.
Lastly, during the cold and flu season we keep sugar to a minimum. Too much sugar produces an environment that can breed germs, meaning it breaks down your immune system and lets viruses in. Instead of giving up your sugar cravings, try using some less refined sugars like dates, coconut sugar or turbinado sugar when making your homemade goodies.
If you really want to super charge your immune system, you can make bone broth or elderberry syrup.
Elderberry has gained popularity lately as a prevention and treatment for the flu. I make my own syrup with pure elderberries, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and honey. It tastes great and kids love it. I usually give them a teaspoon a day and you can use it as a pancake syrup as well.
Bone broth may not sound very appetizing, but it’s been used for thousands of years by almost every culture because of its nutrient dense benefits and immune boosting compounds. The simmering process in making bone broth causes the bones to release healing compounds like collagen, glycine and glutamine.
After making chicken soup with a whole chicken (about once a month) I save the bones and use a crockpot to make bone broth. You can find a great article here for making it. Once done and cooled, I put the liquid directly into ice cube trays and freeze. A fun tip, I add the bone broth ice cubes to rice, soups, sautéed veggies and the family doesn’t even know it.
‘Me Time’ to Boost Immunity
Whoever is doing most of the homeschooling at your house, without you there’s no homeschool and no harmony. So, finding time to do things for you is essential. What does “me time” look like? Well, that depends on what YOU need to recharge! Perhaps you reenergize with exercise? Shopping? A few hours of extra sleep? Maybe you like to soak in a hot bath with a good book?
Whatever it is, you have to promise yourself that you’ll schedule time or find someone to give you the time you need to reconnect with yourself.
I know that when I make it a point to take care of myself I am so much more able to care for my family. I feel more in tune and have more energy. My favorite self-care ritual is a weekly Epsom salt / magnesium soak in the tub and a homemade facial.
I hope you will share what your health and wellness arsenal looks like for this time of the year. I’m always looking for fresh new ideas to try out on our family! And if you need a recipe or two, I’d be happy to share what I know!