Summer To Winter
I think autumn is my favorite time of year. Everything feels fresh and with renewed purpose. It's a time where routines fall into place - whether you are starting a school year or not. The energy present in the season supports rhythm and regularity.
One of the reasons routine becomes so important this time of year is because of the huge transition that happens in the environment around us. The switch from summer to winter is a big one in most areas of the world (and, yes, even climates without a snowy winter still experience dynamic shift in weather pressures and patterns). Our systems hold strong in the face of this upheaval anchored by our routines.
Combating the Chronic Cold
Sometimes despite our best efforts, we will simply fall sick - and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Getting the occasional cold or flu helps to build our immune system and keep us strong in the long run. But when we feel like we have cold symptoms for months, or that we catch something back to back to back, then there is likely some level of imbalance happening in the body (or our lifestyle) that we can absolutely rectify.
I see it time and time again with my clients this time of year...women who catch the circulating cold only to retain a lingering runny nose or cough that takes six weeks to clear up. They are usually seeing me for something else altogether - like regulating their period or optimizing fertility - but when chronic sickness plagues the system it interweaves into the dynamic of the whole. This means that if our immune system is off, chances are, we need to clear that up to create lasting change in our long-term health goals - it becomes our primary focus.
Top 10 Ways to Stay Healthy
Below are my top 10 ways to strengthen immunity during the summer to winter transition. Begin and maintain these steps as soon as you feel that hint of fall chill in the air!
- Routine Yourself (and your family): hold steady to your sleep, work and play schedules
- Sleep When Tired: it's natural to feel a slight increase in fatigue during seasonal shifts. Rather than fight it, try and rest a bit more to help your system through the transition.
- Eat Warm: cooked foods are easier to digest, reserving more energy for your immune system to fight off "invaders"
- Mitigate Stress Response: meditation and exercise are great ways to support stress management, keep up with the routine that best suits you
- Astragalus/HuangQi: a powerful immune boosting herb - drink as tea or take as tincture during seasonal shifts and when "everyone around you is sick." You can also add the raw herb to simmering bone broth for an added immune boost
- Vitamin C: bolster your system, reduce inflammation and support free-radical damage by taking a daily dose of 500-1000 IU during the fall months
- Probiotics: we've already learned how important the microbiome is to immune function. This is a great time of year to bolster it up by taking a high-quality probiotic daily (in addition to fermented foods) from Sept-Dec. Don't forget to give a powder or chewable one to your kids, too!
- Vitamin D3/K2: usually available in liquid/oil form, D is an essential nutrient to supporting the immune function, and we naturally get less from the sun as the months turn cold. The K2 addition helps properly absorb the D. Also great for kids! (*note: a high quality cod liver oil is a great alternative D supplementation for individuals also looking to include essential fatty acids)
- Diffuse Essential Oils: naturally detoxifying and antibacterial - Orange, Cinnamon, Oregano and Frankincense are great for immunity (and smell lovely too!)
- Congestion Rub: a simple formula of coconut oil and Eucalyptus essential oil to have at the ready as a chest rub and nasal swab when mucus strikes (or you can make a salve from beeswax) - great for kids and adults alike
Wishing you a wonderful start to the fall season. What are your favorite ways to stay healthy?
Yours in health,