As a holistic health coach, I help my clients set (and re-connect with) their health and wellness goals and keep them motivated to continually make small and sustainable changes that nudge them closer to their best selves. And I believe having abundant ENERGY is THE most valuable currency of true health. Having energy means feeling vital, feeling strong and feeling capable of getting through everything you set out to achieve in your day.
Now something I want to talk to you about in today's post is IMMUNITY, because it seems most people these days only want to discuss vaccines, lockdowns, restrictions and masks. The pandemic has highlighted, more than ever, the need to take back control of our health and increase our immunity so that we are equipped, armoured and **ENERGISED** should we go to battle and conquer this virus, wherever we may be in the world.
In this post, and because I'm all about prevention rather than cures, quick fixes and popping pills, I am sharing with you 20 small steps that you can take every day to dramatically enhance your immune system.
20 ways to support your immune system (and lower stress = the enemy of our immune systems!):
1. Get to bed before 10pm. Lights out by 10.30pm latest.
We know that sleep deprivation significantly lowers our immunity. Aim to get to bed at a consistent time each night as this helps create a healthy circadian rhythm, and make sure you're getting the most healing, immune boosting sleep cycle which typically occurs between 9pm and 12am.
2. Drink a large glass of warm lemon water upon rising, before eating.
Our livers, kidneys and lymphatic systems need a good flush out every day before consuming anything in the morning. Alkalising warm lemon water is excellent for this. Best consumed 30 minutes before your morning cup of tea or breakfast.
3. Reduce or remove an anti-inflammatory foods.
Consider cutting back on - or better yet, cutting out - gluten, dairy, sugar and artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, MSG, GMO foods, trans fats and refined vegetable oils. These foods aggravate our gut lining, which in turn can cause leaky gut and a hole host of auto-immune conditions. Considering 80% of our immune system is located in our gut, it makes sense to give our guts a break.
4. Meditate daily. Or practice other breathwork exercise.
Stress is the ultimate enemy to our immune systems, and we know that meditation and any breathwork exercise helps to lower stress (and induce those chilled zen vibes). Busy people often talk themselves out of meditating, but really the more busy and stressed you are, the more you should be meditating. If you want to boost your immunity ASAP, get meditating.
5. Take a magnesium salt bath.
Draw out toxins from your body's largest organ, your skin. Magnesium or epsom salt baths are an amazing way to draw out impurities and reduce the toxic load our body constantly has to process. As an added bonus, and, if like me you find a warm bath incredibly soothing and nurturing, you'll reap the immune-boosting benefits of taking time to replenish, rejuvenate and recharge.
6. Drink clean filtered water.
Aim for two litres daily of warm or room temperature filtered water. In Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, cold water and beverages are avoided as they "shock the system", putting out our digestive fire (notice how all your Chinese friends sip on boiling water and teas? smart cookies, aren't they!). Bonus points: add squeeze lemon or pinch Himalayan pink salt to re-mineralise water. A drop or two of a good quality food grade essential oil is also a lovely immune- and flavour-boosting addition to your H20. I love lime, orange, peppermint, spearmint, grapefruit, lavender and lemon.
7. In the words of Michael Pollan, “Eat real foods. Mostly plants”.
Because really, there's nothing on our planet that is quite as immune-boosting and nutrient-dense as oranges, lemons, broccoli, mushrooms, garlic, berries, capsicums or peppers, onions, kiwi fruit or dark leafy greens, to name a few of my immune-enhancing favourites. Aim to eat a rainbow every day and for a wide variety of different produce to ensure you're getting a good rotation of polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and prebiotics to feed the good gut bacteria (probiotics), **remember gut health is important for our overall immunity**.
8. Don’t check your phone for the first hour upon rising.
Instead, enjoy this sacred time of connecting to the Divine, journaling, meditating, turning an oracle card, reading, listening to a podcast or healing sound frequencies, or going for a nature walk. Basically anything that lower the stress response, because mornings are already full-on! Resist the urge to jump straight onto your socials.
9. Eat a small dinner before 7pm.
Our digestion is strongest between 11am and 2pm, therefore lunch, really, should be your biggest meal. If you're feeling under the weather, aim to eat 3-5 small and light meals - ideally warming broths, soups and stews packed full of vegetables and herbs. Top everything with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for extra immune-boosting properties.
10. Think positive, joyful, uplifting thoughts.
Our thoughts and beliefs are more powerful than many of us would believe. What’s more your vibe: glass half-full or glass half-empty? Think healthy thoughts. Think happy thoughts. Think feel-good thoughts. Focus on the good, focus on what's right with you, focus on what's working.
11. Surround yourself with people who inspire, uplift, encourage and support you.
Release those relationships that deplete, drain and disempower you. Life is too short to continually feel drained by “energy vampires” as Dr Christiane Northrup calls them. Whether we consciously know it or not, being around people like this can lower our vibration and therefore our vitality.
12. Give thanks.
Practice gratitude daily, before eating, before bed, upon rising, in the shower, when stopped at the lights, while brushing your teeth, with a loved one, as much as possible basically! Express gratitude for your wonder body, your temple that you navigate this life on. Be thankful for everything that is going right with you and your body.
13. Smile and laugh more.
Watch a feel-good comedy, be around people who make your heart smile, go to a laughter yoga club (fun fact: my friend hosts these in Bondi, Sydney, when they aren't in lockdown 😊). There's a reason for that famous expression, "Laughter is the best medicine".
14. Nurture your inner child.
What did she or he love to do most as a small child? What your favourite thing as a child, that you could spend hours doing without getting bored? Colouring in? Playing in the garden? Watching Disney princess movies? For me it has to be dancing and singing, oh and being with animals! Play, have fun, breathe in good vibes, be in the moment, be present and know that you're doing wonders for your health.
15. Connect with nature.
Ground yourself daily, get some sun, look at the moon, bathe in birdsong, go on a nature walk minus phone, listen to the waves at the beach. Notice the bees and butterflies. Be present and mindful about it all. Take it all in. Be grateful for the beauty that is all around. It really is the simple things in life.
16. Pat a pet daily.
If you don’t have your own, then get into nature and find a stranger’s dog, just check if it’s ok before patting as some people these days are fearful of strangers and germs... This is one of my fave ways to instantly raise my vibes and smile - especially effective if I'm having a 'ruff' day.
17. Turn off your wifi router at night.
Because who wants to be bombarded with EMFs while sleeping? No thanks. We’re practically engulfed by them the other 17+ hours of the day, so we might as well give ourselves a break from it while we get our beauty sleep. Wifi and EMFs and 5G weaken our immune systems and are associated with long list of illnesses and diseases. If you're not using the internet, then turn it off.
18. Cut back on or cut out the caffeine.
Our adrenals and nervous systems run so much better without it. Jitters, anxiety, scattered-lady-syndrome, begone! Caffeine dehydrates us, too. Especially inconvenient if we do come into contact with a pesky bug or virus which we need to flush out of our system. Keep hydrated instead with herbal teas, fresh juices, bone broths and other nourishing beverages like turmeric lattes - yum!
19. Move your body everyday.
Exercise is essential for a robust immune system. Too many reasons to list here, but of course it helps to increase strength and energy and lower stress. Bonus points: find something that you don’t actually hate or dread doing. Yoga, Zumba, hiking and pilates are my go-tos. What’s yours?
20. Use affirmations.
Tell yourself everyday, countless times throughout the day: “I love and approve of myself”, "My body knows how to heal", "It is my birthright to be totally healthy in all areas of life", “Everything is always working out for my highest and greatest good”, “I am filled with joy”, "It is easy for me to be healthy", and "My life keeps getting better and better”. Or, make up your own!
Which ones will you try out this week? Let me know, beautiful!