It's that time of the year again for school to start! Whether you are sending off your little ones, taking college courses, or gathering for a late summer conference, tucking some natural preventative health tips in your pocket will certainly benefit you. While I was directing the 9-12 science program at a local Denver high school, I know from first hand experience how rapidly a simple cough can spread, and morph into a slew of other sicknesses. Don't be caught in the storm!
There are good germs and there are bad germs. We in fact host more microbes (tiny living organisms) in and on our body than there are cells that make up our body! Our friendly microbes are super important for keeping the not so friendly microbes in check, especially those that may be newly introduced to us from other people. Maintaining a healthy body is a major key to not getting sick.
Here's a story about how our bodies are like a pond that I learned from one of my herbal teachers:
A pond can be healthy and clean with a continual flow bringing new fresh water in, and releasing any old unneeded waste. The pond stays clear, unpolluted, and has a healthy balance of life. One day, the pond became stagnant, and algae overtook the clear waters. The pond started to attract mosquitoes and other unwanted bugs, and started to get that swampy icky smell.
Just like the pond, if we make our body a clean and healthy environment, it is less likely that the menacing microbes will want to hang out in your body, whereas if your body is like an unhealthy stagnant pond, the menacing microbes are more likely to settle in and make you sick.
Taking this analogy into consideration, we can think about ways to keep our body (the pond) healthy and clean. While practicing the following tips will be helpful, sometimes we can catch something that is stronger than what our healthy body can handle, and in those times remember that your community herbalist is just a call away with a bagful of natural remedies to support you. Enjoy and practice some of the following health tips, so that your school year is productive, healthy, and fun! Back to school kits are also available for order.
- Wash your hands after every class: Touching desks, door handles, and sharing classroom materials during activities or laboratories exposes you to millions of germs in a short period of time. Using soap with, or adding some drops of lavender and rosemary essential oils will add a natural antibacterial effect.
- Keep your hands and cuticles moisturized. Often times people will pick at or put their fingers in their mouth forgetting about everything they've touched, introducing the germs into their mouth.
- Drink a glass of water or a full water bottle every hour or two to stay hydrated. Maintaining flow and movement within your body will help to keep tissues and cells functioning at their optimum, will promote a health flow through your body, and will assist your blood and lymph in transporting toxins and immune cells to where they need to go to. Infuse your water with a sprig of fresh peppermint or spearmint to help enhance your concentration and settle your stomach from the anxiety of starting something new.
- Sleep!!! I can never emphasize this enough. A solid 8 hours helps your body to carry out necessary functions and repair during your sleep so that when you are awake you can spend your energy on the tasks at hand. This helps to not overburden or stress out your body. A spritz of water mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil can help to calm your mind and move your brain into a state of deeper relaxation.
These simple, age-old preventative back-to-school health tips truly are effective and can make a world of difference for your health. I hope that you take them to heart and integrate them into your daily habits!