This post describes the simple habits we use to keep our family healthy through the Fall and Winter months. Included are simple practices and easy routines that naturally boost immunity and keep our bodies healthy.
As a mom of three and a nurse, I am always thinking about ways to keep my family healthy. Especially during the colder months of the year when we are all gathered together in closed spaces and sickness seems to be up. I want to share our simple and easy routines, the precautions we take, and the habits we strive to develop in our family.
Healthy Every Day Habits
My mom has always told us that the six best doctors are:
- Clean Eating
- Stress Reduction
My mama knew what she was talking about! All six of these “doctors” are essential for keeping your body healthy and strong. Let’s break down what this looks like in our everyday lives.
Sunshine Is Your Friend
Getting outside, even in colder months, is essential for your mental and physical health. Direct sun on our skin, for about 15 minutes every day, is great for Vitamin D absorption. You need Vitamin D to keep your immune system and cells working at peak levels!
Even when the kids are sick, I will bundle them up and take them outside to sit on the porch in the sun for 10-15 minutes every day. This gives your kiddos a chance to feel fresh air on their face, have a change of scenery, and get those rays in! Such a simple habit that keeps your family healthy and thriving.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Your body is 60% water. Every single organ, cell, system, and process and in your body requires water to function properly. 75% of people in America are chronically dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration can include decreased energy, fatigue & exhaustion, headaches, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat and not being able to think clearly. So, it’s obviously very important for our bodies and our brains to stay hydrated. It’s important to teach our kids to stay hydrated and start this habit in them as well!
I love to keep this cup nearby throughout the day to stay on my water goals. My kids also have water bottles that they take with them to school and outside. I’ve noticed that when my husband and I are consistently modeling how we chose to drink water, our kids are quick to follow as well. If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding fruit to your water; a slice of lemon, lime, or orange; or get a really good filter to help your water taste better. I also prefer my water ice-cold (hello, I’m a southerner!).
An Object In Motion Stays In Motion
Newton may have discovered this concept hundreds of years ago, but the principle remains the same today. Our bodies work better, are healthier, and are less prone to injury when we are staying active on a consistent basis. This doesn’t always mean that you’re hitting the gym daily and lifting weights. A 20-minute walk around your neighborhood 4-5 times a week counts as motion!
Movement naturally helps our body get rid of toxins. Our lymphatic system is a major part of our body’s immunity. Think of your lymph nodes as the “trash can” of your body. Your body requires movement to help move that “trash” through your system and out of your body. The more you sit around not moving, the more that “trash” is collecting and stinking the place up.
Movement is also great for increasing your energy, grounding you emotionally, helping you sleep at night, and resetting your mood. Grab your kids or grab a friend and get moving!
Eat As Clean As You Can
You are what you eat. It’s just that simple. Our family has made a lot of changes over the last five years in our eating habits. And it has made the biggest difference in our overall health and wellbeing.
Our digestive system works with 80-90% of our nervous system in some way. It’s known as the “gut-brain” of our body. Have you ever been trying to make a decision and someone says, “What’s your gut instinct?” This is why! Also, 85% of our immunity is housed inside our digestive system. We need a healthy digestive system to boost our body’s natural immune system. This is especially a big deal as we head into cold and flu season.
This means eating as “clean” as you can with your family. Clean eating means different things for different people. But for us clean eating means:
- Buying organic produce, especially the “dirty dozen”
- Reducing artificial ingredients
- Eating whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables
- Eating a wide variety of colors (eat the rainbow)
- Avoiding refined sugars and being mindful of sugar intake
Let me touch on that last point about sugar really quick. I love the taste of sugar and I love baking with my kids, especially in the colder months. However, I try to be very mindful of our sugar intake because refined sugar causes a lot of inflammation in your body. It’s said that 1 teaspoon of sugar depresses your immune system for about 30 minutes. That’s a significant amount of time!
Getting a good night of sleep is essential to keeping your body healthy. I know getting good sleep can be difficult when you are a parent to small children, but creating good sleeping habits is so needed! While we sleep, our bodies regenerate new cells, our brains store new information and get rid of toxic waste, and our energy stores are replenished. When we are skipping out on sleep, our bodies simply are not able to keep up with fighting off viruses and infections. Here are some simple steps to help create quality sleep:
- Establish a bedtime routine to help signal to your body that it’s bedtime
- Start turning lights down low 1-2 hours before bedtime
- Turn off screens, tvs and electronic devides 1-2 hours before bedtime. Blue lights from screens inhibit melatonin production (which you need for good sleep!)
- Keep the time you go to bed fairly consistent and aim for 9-12 hours of sleep for kids
- Keep your room dark and cool. You can even try taking a hot shower before bed and then getting into cool sheets. This change in temperature helps your body relax!
- Listen to calming music or Scriptures as you fall asleep. This can help your mind stop racing and calm for sleep!
There’s so much more I could add to this post. But in the interest of keeping things short, I will stop here. Be sure and read my follow-up post about how we naturally boost the immunity in our kids, the vitamins we take, and other immune-boosting products we use.