Wash your hands for twenty seconds...and what else?
Posted by KM Herbals on Dec 17th 2020
Our herbal oil extracts are produced on-site in our coastal manufacturing facility, many using plant material freshly harvested from our permaculture garden located right outside! Additional dried herbs are sourced from various sustainable resources like local family farms and eco-conscious suppliers.
When it comes to immunity and staying well, we’ve all been told to wash our hands. It’s true that a thorough washing – be sure to get between the fingers and suds for a full 20 seconds – is essential. But what else can we do to support ourselves and those around us?
Let’s begin with our surroundings. Cleaning and sterilizing commonly used services are a simple place to start! Get the countertops, dining tables, desk surfaces. But let’s get creative! What about your steering wheel, door handles…your phone?!
Diffusing several drops of pure essential oil in a diffuser can cleanse the air in your space - as essential oils are naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial! Diffuse a scent that relaxes and soothes to create yourself a sanctuary where you can unwind.
A final tip for your environment is to keep it warm! Your body expends energy when it's trying to warm up. Some even recommend bordering on a mild sweat to keep your immune system at its max potential!
In addition to staying warm, it's also advisable to keep yourself (and your environment) humidified. Really the goal here is to keep from drying out any mucus membranes. Japanese doctors have suggested taking a sip of water (ideally warm) every 15 minutes to keep the mouth and throat moist. Drinking water or other liquids will wash any contagion down your throat and into the stomach where stomach acid can kill the virus.
Keeping our hands clean is just the start! Trimming your nails and using a nail brush can be a simple way to eliminate bacteria living under your nails.
Nutrition also plays a key role in immunity! Avoiding sugar is a straight-forward (but not always easy) way to support your overall health, as sugar is an immune-system suppressant. Likewise, promoting your gut health with prebiotic fibers (that feed probiotics), probiotics and raw fermented foods supports the resilience of a central system to your body's overall resilience and well-being.
- Fresh ginger! Blend it with water and lemon to make your own ginger shots. Enjoy ginger tea or include it in your favorite dinner dish.
- Vitamin C - We are all familiar with this flu season essential. Enjoy it in citrus, sweet potatoes, and strawberries!
- Vitamin D: those living in overcast climates or known to be deficient in vitamin D should especially consider taking it as a supplement.
- Mushrooms: consider incorporating reishi, lion's mane, chaga, and shiitake - to name a few!
- Elderberry: this ingredient is often central to natural cough medicine, is anti-inflammatory, and is packaged with antioxidants.
- Fire Cider: you may have heard of this immunity tonic! Enjoy the full recipe here.
Stress and lack of sleep can make the body more vulnerable to illness. Making sure you are managing your stress and getting enough sleep is a very important preventative measure to take during this time.
A go-to stress relief remedy from one of our staff is simply eating an orange. Peeling an orange slowly (wash it first), and letting the textures and aromatics of the peel stimulate your senses can be a powerful and meditative way to calm yourself when anxious. Plus, you have a healthy snack packed with Vitamin C, and as they are in season right now, oranges and similar citrus fruits are abundant and delicious. If you are experiencing anxiety or are having trouble sleeping, here are a few things you can try:
Meditation and Breath Work - This is the perfect time to engage in any mediation practices or breath work exercises you enjoy. If you are new to these, one helpful method is to hold your hands out in front of you like you’re holding a basketball, and to let your hands expand and contract to mirror the movement of your lungs as you breath in and out. Try to slow your breathe as you do this, and make it a dance.
Light Exercise like Yoga or Pilates - If you are practicing social distancing and can’t get to your favorite class, there are plenty of online videos of short exercises or poses available. If you are new to these fitness routines, try the lowest impact options or do your own simple and familiar movements - you can even bring back your grade school “favorites” like Jumping Jacks and Burpees.
Limit Screen Time - we all know we should be limiting the time we spend on our phones and computers before bed, but right now is an especially important time to give yourself space. Allow yourself a break from world news, especially before bed, so you can be sure to take the time you need to rest, repair, and prepare your health for any future stressors.
Take inventory of your supportive resources - have an emotional support animal? A friend you can call? how about a doctor or therapist that you trust should you need it? Don’t be afraid to ask for the support that you need, as well as to give support with the tools and resources that you have in your own possession.
Tea Time - Passionflower, Tulsi, Chamomile, Peppermint, Valerian, and Lemon Balm are all calming teas that can be enjoyed before bed. However, the simple act of sitting with a warm beverage to periodically sip can help you start to slow yourself down during the evening hours.