Sometimes a few simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in making your immune system much more prepared for dealing with the day-to-day stuff.
We all have a hard time with these bigger transitions, like transitioning from Summer into Fall. And with cold and flu season right around the corner, people are already starting to get sick and come home with every sort of bug out there.
Right now, it's really important to take care of our bodies even more and prevent ourselves from getting sick as much as possible.
1. Sleep More
One of my favorite things to do is a really important little life switch, and that's just sleeping more, especially as the nights get longer and the days get shorter. Living in this thing called modern society makes it really hard for us to follow the cycles of natural light.
We're surrounded by lights and other devices that make it really easy for us to get off our natural schedules. The bright lights around you actually turn off your melatonin production and make it harder for you to fall asleep. So even though you can stay up until 10, 11, 12 o'clock with all the lights on, your body won't get into sleep mode until you turn down those lights.
The little switch: just by setting an alarm every evening to start transitioning into sleepy time, you can prompt yourself to turn down those lights and get your brain in synch with bedtime. I'm also seeing a lot of new cell phone updates having bedtime alarm modes where you can give yourself a reminder like, “Hey, I gotta go in about an hour. It's time to start winding down.”
And during this little wind down, start sneaking in a few other fun self-cares. Like, doing a little gentle stretching, or maybe it's as simple as brushing your hair and your teeth and your face. Or maybe it's time to do a little bit of yoga, a meditation, something to turn your brain down instead of watching really stimulating TV or video games before bed.
By turning off the lights, transitioning, and slowing things down, it really helps your body switch into a more sleep-productive, rest and relax mode. It's so good in the evening to lower the lights and have a regular routine to get your body used to having a sleep time, just like we do with our kids.
As adults, we need to learn to have a sleep time, too, and learn to switch off the brain.
And as a fun bonus, we spent a lot of time talking about stress relief this last month. If you want, check out some of our old blog posts on how to do that.
So remember, when you sleep more, your body can recover and take care of everything else more.
2. Lower Stress
One of my other fun, immune-boosting things other than sleep includes lowering stress. And we did a blog post on that, too.
For me, stress and sleep are highly linked together. When I'm really stressed out, it's harder for me to sleep. And focusing on the underlying causes are really, really important. Having higher levels of cortisol chronically when you're feeling stressed all the time is actually linked to a decreased immune system.
Just by focusing on chilling out a little bit more, you're going help your immune system do what it naturally does, and that's take care of you.
So go for a walk on a regular basis, get outside, enjoy the sunshine, find a way to let some of those stressors out, let some of the steam out of the tea kettle - and your body will naturally take care of itself and have a better immune response.
3. Increase Lymph Movement
My third favorite way to take care of my immunity is by increasing lymph movement. Your lymphatic system contains the detoxing fluids of your body. It's where a lot of your immune processes happen. And it happens in your lymph nodes, those places under your armpits and your throats that become swollen and tender when you're not feeling well.
Any time you start getting sick, you start feeling that sore throat feeling, or that it hurts to move feeling, that's actually your lymph responding by building more white blood cells in your lymph nodes. And they're meant to slow you down because it's easier to filter bacteria and viruses to the lymph nodes when you're slow versus when you're fast.
At the same time, without movement at all, your body can't catch that there is a bacteria or virus floating around. So moving is really important, not just to signal that immune response to start, but also by clearing out your lymph on a regular basis.
You're kind of squeezing out the sponge of all the toxic things that your body's dealing with so it can focus on the regular stuff. Then, when a virus or bacteria comes in, your body's already prepared because it doesn't have to deal with its daily load of crud as well.
So I like to move my lymph just by walking. A little bit of simple walking everyday goes a long way.
Or you could do a tapping exercise, just by cupping your hands and tapping the skin of your body.This actually really helps to bring more lymph up to the surface, which helps clear it out so that it can get detoxed.
Another great way to move lymph is hydrotherapy, cold water actually increases lymph flow.
And how you do this is really simple:
Alternate hot and cold water right before you start your shower
Jump in and get your feet wet as that water's heating up
Get into the hot water and turn it back and forth a couple of times
It might sound really strange and a little shocking to the system, but let me tell you it wakes you up more than coffee does and it totally flushes your lymph out so that it's detoxing that regular toxic load again so that your body can get ready for a bigger immune battle when it needs to.
4. Get a Massage
My last way to move lymph that I really love is just getting a massage. And we all could use more massage. Massage helps with stress relief as well as with your sleep. Massage is a really great way to move your lymph through your body and detox that stress at the same time.
So if you want to boost your immune system:
Make sure you sleep more
Move just a little bit so that your body is ready for the immune battles ahead
We also have a free Fire Cider Class to learn how to make your own immune tonic to prevent colds and flu's. Click here to learn more about how to build your immune system.
But otherwise, take care of yourselves this Fall. Take a little time out for you, and we'll enjoy talking more about boosting your immune system throughout the month.