Guest post by Nina Nelson
Does your family get sick all the time? It doesn’t just feel like it – you literally say, “we’re sick again” at least twice a month. I’m sorry, friend. I know how it is, really. I used to say the same thing quite frequently.
But not anymore.
Now, illness just isn’t something that happens much in our home. We’re exposed to a lot of it, for sure. My husband is a paramedic and spends a good deal of time taking people to the hospital. And we spend time with other (potentially sick) families at church, our home school co-op and such. Opportunities to pick up the latest bug abound.
So how is it that we only get sick twice a year (maybe) and when we do, we recover very quickly?
Well, a few years ago, my focus shifted from reacting to illness as it came to strengthening our immune systems to prevent illness. This simple shift in mindset has been huge for our family and, over time, has become second nature to us.
One easy way to prevent illness? Make sure you’ve guarded your health before you even leave your house.
Now, there are three main ways we do this and one of them is so ridiculously simple, that you might be quick to dismiss it. Don’t. Instead, consider them all as valid, easy ways to guard your health.
1. Protective essential oils
One of the beautiful things about essential oils is that they contain so many helpful properties. Lemon alone has several, including being antibacterial. (It’s not just used in cleaning recipes for its delightful smell.) Many oils are antiviral and antifungal as well, making them a powerful weapon as bugs circulate.
So what oils should you use and how? Well, there are many choices. But to keep things simple, I’ll tell you about some of my favorites that are mild enough to use on little ones. (And here’s a little tutorial in case you want to know more.)
- First, frankincense. There’s a saying in the essential oil community – “If in doubt, use frankincense.” Frankincense is a powerful healer, reduces pain and boosts the immune system.
- Next, lemon. As I mentioned earlier, lemon is antibacterial. It’s also antiviral and makes a great disinfectant.
- Finally, tea tree. This well-known oil comes with a whole host of microbe-busting properties and boosts the immune system when diffused in the air.
Want to make it even simpler? Pre-blend your oils in a roll-on bottle. In a 10 mL bottle, put 10 drops each of lemon, frankincense and tea tree essential oil and top it off with a liquid carrier oil. Roll on the arches of everyone’s feet before leaving the house in the morning.
Now, I’m very picky about essential oils, so I encourage you to only use EOs from companies that test their oils to make sure they’re 100% pure so that you’re not rubbing in concentrated doses of harmful contaminants.
2. Herbal concoctions
Herbs provide gentle, effective immune-system boosting properties. I like elderberry syrup and immune-boosting tinctures for their ease of use and longer shelf lives – I don’t have to whip up a new batch each time I use them.
- Elderberry syrup. This is another great way to keep your immune system strong, especially when you’re going to be hanging around people who may be sick. You can buy it pre-made, but it’s super simple (and more cost-effective) to make it yourself. You’ll find recipes for homemade elderberry syrup and elderberry gummies here.
- Immunity-boosting tincture. Certain herbs, like echinacea and thyme, are great at protecting and enhancing your immune system. We buy a pre-made one for kids that my children love to take – they even remind me if I forget to give it to them.
You can always buy tinctures pre-made or learn how to make your own. Either way, take a dose before you leave the house for immune system protection.
Which brings me to my last easy way to support your immune system before you leave the house …
3. Good night’s sleep
Our culture seems proud of how little sleep we get. Sure we complain, but it’s almost like we try to out-do each other with our lack of slumber.
But getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night is optimal for our health. While we sleep, our bodies take some much-needed time to repair after a long day.
According to WebMD, losing out on much-needed sleep makes us more prone to getting sick, particularly in cold and flu season. So even if you’re doing everything else right, you may still be increasing your chances of getting sick by not getting enough sleep, whether that’s because you’ve got a new baby, or just like to stay up after the kids go to bed for some peace and quiet.
This one single factor makes a big impact on your overall health. But you know what? That’s great news! Because it means you can fix it, often with some simple lifestyle changes:
- Herbal tea. Not always necessary, but I know when I need it. I make this herbal blend to help with stress throughout the day and as a sleep aid at night.
- No computer/screen after 9. Screens work to reset your brain, waking you up when you should be winding down. Turn off the computer or TV and put away the cell phone.
- Essential oils. Yes, I love essential oils. Because they work. If I’m having a hard time getting to sleep, I rub on a blend of lavender, vetiver and wild orange, diluted in coconut oil. It helps me sleep great and wake up feeling rested.
Now, there’s definitely more you can do to keep your family healthy year-round, but these 3 easy tips are a great start and can soon become sustainable habits in your healthy living journey.
How do you try to guard your health before you leave the house?
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