General Tips for Immune System Support

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WE GOT THIS... TOGETHER

While it is not possible to completely prevent Covid-19, you can certainly prepare your body to weather the storm if it does show up. Sign up for online herbal and lifestyle consultations with me to fine tune your home routine. Until then, use these as general guidelines and be in good health. 

1) COMMON SENSE ADVICE Sleep, breathe, eat the rainbow (steamed veggies daily with healthy fats) and care for yourself like you are going to run a marathon. Even if nothing happens to you, the ambient cultural stress is high and we need to look at this time as a challenge to remain clear-minded. The little things add up and can be used as ways to amplify your life rather than limit it.

To support sleep: turn off media by 9pm, be in bed (ideally asleep) by 10pm. Melatonin in small amounts can be helpful as well. 

To support breath: this video by my Qigong teacher Master Liu He shows a great lung support exercise. I have used it multiple times to come out of exercise-induced asthma as well as anxiety-induced shortness of breath. Give it a try! https://youtu.be/i3noqRBgxWM

To support eating the rainbow: simply slice and cook vegetable in butter/olive oil, then add a dash of water, cover and steam for a little bit. I use this basic recipe for carrots and chives from Jacques Pepin (who is incredibly relaxing to watch as well): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf6sX4DyDFU

2) FLAVOR! Parsley, rosemary, hot pepper (cayenne, hatch, etc), peppercorn (szechuan, long pepper, black and white pepper), garlic, chive, curry spices... all of those often-overlooked herbs and spices will be your friend in increasing resilience via vitamins and support of gut flora (prebiotics). If you have access to a garden space or even a sunny patio, consider growing oregano, parsley, thyme, lemon balm, and rosemary. Bee balm ("wild bergamot"), anise hyssop, and pineapple sage are also useful and pretty!

3) SPRING CLEANING Streamline your living / sleeping space to make it easier to clean. Deep clean the washing machine and use water/soap/washcloths to regularly wipe down surfaces, then wash them- you don't have to use stronger disinfectants every time for all the surfaces. Save the disinfecting wipes for high volume surfaces that interface with the outside world like door handles, keys etc. Investing in a UV sanitizing light may be helpful for phones and other small objects like credit cards and keys.

4) FRESH AIR! Air out your house, especially if using a diffuser for essential oils- they can irritate our lungs (especially animals and babies/kids). So don't overload your house with antiviral essential oils/cleaning products which can contribute to asthma and airway restriction/irriration. Instead, *small* amounts of diluted essential oils in a little snifter can help more to uplift moods than for any medical impact.

Humidifiers are useful to create an optimal environment for your airway mucosa. 40% humidity helps decrease viral infection susceptibility. A hot or cold humidifier will work- just be careful that any condensation doesn't cause mold, and clean it with every use! A simple one can be helpful: https://www.amazon.com/slp/best-warm-mist-humidifier/td5sqn5e96pu3gg

Air filters can reduce general stress on the lungs as well, so if you have the ability it is worthwhile to invest in one for the bedroom/ living room. We will be inside a LOT these days so pay attention to the air quality! I use this one but many options are great: https://www.rabbitair.com/

5) EASY THERE... We all know about stress eating and drinking. But keep in mind how much stress we put on our bodies with what we eat and drink. Exercise moderation, and if you are immune compromised or have underlying conditions such as history of pneumonia, any heart issue, autoimmune disorder, or diabetes / blood sugar issues, please reduce the load on your body. Reduce inflammatory agents such as environmental mold, smoke, and dust by cleaning and using an air filter if possible. Reduce inflammatory foods such as alcohol, sugar, simple carbs including wheat, processed foods, and very greasy/salty/spicy foods. 

6) BE KIND TO YOUR GUTS Don't go overboard with vitamins and supplements- our bodies can have a hard time digesting them and they can end up adding to the problem. I do recommend: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium. Try to use natural sources of vitamin C such as parsley, broccoli, lemon peels/zest, kiwis, etc, but supplementing is good to be sure you get enough. Brazil nuts are a great natural source of selenium.

Speaking of guts- if you run out of toilet paper, now is a great time to try a bidet or even use a peri bottle- you just need a much smaller amount of tissue for drying off.

7) SWEAT IT OUT! Try to break a sweat every day. This can be from a hot bath, a hot footbath, running or trampolining in place, jumproping, holding horse stance for 5 minutes, online yoga/aerobics, dance games on the gaming console, running, biking, hot tubbing or infrared sauna-ing if you are lucky enough to have your own. A mild sweat is your friend, and if you can sing and/or listen to music at the same time even better! Moving your energy in positive ways is so important right now.

8) OXYTOCIN- THE HAPPY HORMONE! Cuddles, love, and laughter help maintain a healthy immune response! I'm not saying a cuddle will replace antiviral therapy if you get the flu, but it doesn't hurt to bring in the positivity with our close ones! Remember for now, Oxytocin (OT) NOT overtime (ot).

9) VISUALIZE AND EMBRACE NATURE Although we are isolated physically, we can join together socially in the virtual world and in some cases outside in wild areas if you have access. Let's envision our connection to each other, with kindness and love, helping each other move through fear and other difficult emotions without judgment. Imagine your favorite natural area, or visit if you can (safely), and give thanks for the earth and sun which sustain our bodies and communities.

Beth Russell (brown haired woman) holding a toddler, in front of a mountain

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