5 Ways My Family Keeps Our Immune Systems Strong (and Uplift our Moods Too!)
My son and I like to do a lot of adventuring and keeping our energy levels up is key. It’s also really important for me to keep our immune systems strong so that when cold and flu season rolls around, we don’t get knocked out of commission. Additionally, I have noticed a lot of our dietary and lifestyle changes have helped us feel happier and calmer. I generally have more energy and patience and my son seems to be brighter and better able to deal with challenges.
1. We get outside daily! If we spend hours on screens, like going from phone to TV to video games, we get grumpy and agitated. So, we put our screens away and get out for a walk with our dog every evening. I’ve noticed my son likes to open up and chat a lot on walks and we get some good deep breaths which is important after a day of sitting in school or working. We release positive, feel-good hormones when we move our bodies. On weekends we plan a hike or adventure with friends or just us. When he has friends over, I ask them to go out and play and they always get creative and have a fun time. We also get on the trampoline and jump once a day!
2. I make simple meals without processed and packaged foods. I noticed we had some freezer type meals during a busy time and we both felt terrible. Bloated, lethargic and brain fog. I decided then that going with simple ingredients was going to be best. I make a lot of soups and stews, but even on a time crunch some organic sausages with a side of baked potato and sautéed broccoli is easy and yummy. We enjoy butter so that peps things up! First thing in the morning I don’t serve sugary processed cereal (I can’t even pronounce half of the chemicals in those, haha). I start with fruit, peaches, kiwis, apple slices and grapes. Or we make a yummy smoothie with frozen blueberries, peaches, almond milk, vegan protein powder, banana and peanut butter. My son loves them, and they are so quick he can even drink it in the car on the way to school!
3. Supplements. Keeping it simple while supporting our immune systems and digestion is key. I never do those conventional multi vitamins from the drug store – the dyes in them can last in the body as a toxin for decades. Imagine that! While they say they have a vitamin component, the body gets so busy trying to detoxify and sort out all the sugar, chemicals and dyes that there is no benefit to health. In fact it’s just the opposite. I was so happy when I found Health First’s Family First Multi – it tastes like orange juice and is sugar and dye free! My son loves the taste too. We also supplement with their yummy grape flavoured chewable probiotic, Family First ProBio Plus D. I personally love their Cold Defense formula to take all through the winter or when I feel something coming on, it’s quite powerful!
4. We take it easy. Yep, we look for the path of least resistance when things are getting stressful. When it comes to arguing or me trying to control the schedule, I like to take a step back and say ‘Do I need to win this argument for my ego? Or could I let it go? Is there a safety or health risk here or could I be easier going and empower my child to make more decisions?’ I find taking a step back rather than reacting with impatience or anger has been so helpful in keeping my stress levels down and helping my son be confident. I also take the ‘chill’ route when it comes to our schedule. I don’t commit to a lot of gatherings unless we really feel like it would be nourishing. Same with after school activities – we keep it to the minimum of what he’s really passionate about. There is so much to say about ‘unscheduled’ time, especially if we can focus on not just staring at a screen but instead allowing ourselves to see what else we might feel like doing. It’s often led us to browse a neat comic shop or do some work in the garden or just chill on the couch and flip through books. Playing with our pets and noticing the funny things they do are some of the most memorable moments. Decompressing is essential to a healthy immune system, and energized mind.
5. Positive talk. At our house we try to speak in ways that are supportive. And we also seek solutions. Now, it’s important to show every aspect of life in parenting, so we make sure we carve out time to discuss challenges and feelings. But it’s the constant chatter in the house that we are intentional about. It’s too easy to go on saying, ‘I’m tired, stop doing that, that’s annoying, life is stressful, I hate x, y, z’ but in reality, that has a damaging effect on a child’s mind when it’s constant. Open communication and problem solving is key, but constant complaining is not needed. Instead, we make a conscious effort to chat about things we are curious about, have learned or are grateful for and enjoy. This keeps the energy at our home peaceful and uplifted and we hope all who enter feel that way too! Before bed we say a simple prayer or affirmation of blessing, peace and good sleep. And in the morning, before we head off, I make sure to say, ‘I love you, and have an amazing day filled with fun, ease and divine protection!’ Words are powerful and the way we use them shapes our experience and even affects our mood and health.
By Sitara Hewitt