Every so often my body politely begins to hint at me to slow down. I’ve started to take these warnings quite seriously these days, otherwise it will quickly manifest into some form of sickness leaving me depleted and drained. And who really can afford to be sick?! Ignoring these signs and then becoming ill is kind of like our bodies way of saying, “I told you so!” I’ve recently realized that we play a huge part in getting sick. Of course germs play the leading role, but typically germs become a threat when our immune system is weak. Personally speaking, I can now pinpoint some lifestyle habits that begin to threaten and compromise my health.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the power of saying no. In the past I would often be found running and racing all around, completely overcommitted. I would wrestle with insecure feelings of guilt and obligation, genuinely wanting to do, help, be more than I was able to. And of course wanting to love, friend, and serve and not disappoint the people in my life. Now I confidently say no when something truly is beyond my capacity, and if I feel that my immune system is headed south then I politely cancel or reschedule any future commitments.
An unhealthy lifestyle is probably the most obvious answer to a weak immune system. For the most part I tend to eat fairly clean. I guess this can be a bit vague seeing everyone has a different version of what eating healthy entails but for my family it’s about eating fresh, local whole foods. This is where the famous “you are what you eat” saying comes into play. When eating nutrient rich foods I’m sharp, aware and fully energized. On the flips side, I immediately begin to see a dip in my energy when I’ve consumed a bunch of processed or sugary foods. As expected anytime my energy begins to drop I lose any motivation to workout. Moving your body is important for numerous reasons. One of the less obvious benefits being to get the blood pumping and flowing efficiently. It’s a bit ironic how all of these are so closely connected.
Lastly is the importance of sleep. Ideally speaking we need eight hours of sound rest. Anyone who has kids knows that those days are long gone. Even when the opportunity presents itself, I can’t sleep a minute past seven in the morning. On nights that I tossed and turned, or got up with Felix I try to find time during the day to rest. I know what you are thinking…easier said than done as there’s far too much to do to simply rest mid-day. But instead of tending to the long to-do list, I will often put 20-30 minutes aside to lie down with Felix which works wonders.
I most recently got sick when I was on holiday in Bali. Since CVS wasn’t an option I asked the kitchen staff if they had any recommendations. They brewed me some homemade ginger-lemon-honey tea. I sipped a couple glasses and by the afternoon felt like my usual self.
I’ve since learned that ginger is commonly used to help aid with digestion, nausea, motion sickness, and headaches so this warming ingredient is a bit of a powerhouse in itself. Crushing and steeping it into a tea can help prevent any onset signs of a cold or flu. Squeeze in some lemons, which are high in vitamin C then add in some raw honey which is antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and high in antioxidants. It’s a simple remedy to make anytime you feel your body needs some extra TLC. If you like ginger like myself you might find yourself making it just for fun as it’s so tasty, warming and energizing.
Peel and grate/mince the ginger. Fair warning ginger is pretty powerful and potent so a little goes a long way. I typically grate a piece about 2″ long. Cut a few thin slices lemon and ginger and muddle it together in the bottom of the pot. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon. Add roughly 3-4 cups of water into the pot and simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Add in the honey (personal preference) and sip immediately.