Since I seem to be on a flow with the discussion of fall and colds, I may as well continue. Especially as most people are actually experiencing significant weather changes, where as others, like myself are still dancing between heat waves. However, the one common denominator is that school is back in session for the year. Whether you have a little one crossing over from the land of fairytales to the land of letters and numbers or you have a big one prepping for the academic pressures of collage applications, stress enters the brain and our environment. We often find stress has wrapped itself around the entire family.
So how can we support our children during this seasonal transition, mentally and physically during the school year?
No matter their age they are learning, creating and being productive. School constantly presents them with new information and they have to assimilate it into their brains, so we need their brains to function optimally. To support brain development in kids and brain function in teenagers and adults it is suggested we have a healthy diet high in essential fatty acids (avocados, wild caught fish, oils, nuts, seeds) including a good supplement form. When choosing the right Omega’s it is really important to find a clean source as so much fish is contaminated these days, I like Carlson brand, you can find it on amazon. For picky swallowers you can add from a dropper into a smoothie. Unfortunately, the gummies are just full of sugar so I don’t recommend those.
Bacteria in our gut changes depending on our stress level, our sleep patterns and how healthy our hormonal system is. The influence of mood, memory, and cognition are clinically and therapeutically relevant to a range of disorders. For example, we tend to hold a lot of our emotional stress in our stomach. Leaving so many of us with tummy aches, digestive issues and bowel problems. It is essential we support our gut microbiome. Our children’s diets should include a good range of probiotic style foods: fermented veggies, kefir and live plain yoghurt with no sugar added. In addition it is recommended to take a daily probiotic. You can add probiotics to smoothies, yoghurt, juice or even directly on the tongue if swallowing is an issue.
As we move through these months with stress and with season change, we really need to take charge of our immune system giving it as much extra support as we can. We want to be going into this already feeling strong and stress can bring down our immunity. This way we have a better chance of avoiding viruses’ altogether and if we do happen to catch something we are well prepared in defense to kick it in the butt fast. One of the best sources of immune power is the good old Vitamin C, however, it is proven that taking Liposomal is the best source; it goes into your cells. You can also try taking superfruit Camu Camu in powder form, it has 60% more vitamin C than an orange and it has great medicinal qualities which help the body and mind deal with stress. I add this into everyone of our morning smoothies for our daily dose of Vitamin C. At the first signs of illness, I go right to the Liposomal and give correct dosage every couple of hours until runny stools have been achieved. You will rid that bug fast, I highly recommend reading up on Vitamin C healing cold and flu viruses!! Another great immune enhancer is Elderberry syrup, another superfood rich in healing nutrients, including Vitamin C. You can read more about this here and I also include a recipe to make your own at home! At the onset on illness also try Echinecea as a helpful tool to combat the virus. We like to use essential oils in our daily routine which kill bacteria as well as enhance the immune system, I usually add them to a home made hand sanitizer.
Sleep as we all know is incredibly important to our overall wellbeing, some people are naturally great sleepers and others have their challenges. We all have a range of hours we need in order to function but studying or over tiredness and over stimulation can mean less sleep for our kids, and ourselves. If we don’t get enough shuteye, our bodies can’t heal, rejuvenate and rest which can lead to health or mental concerns. Sleep is especially important as our kids try to learn new information and retain it and recall it. Being tired will put a strain on their brains and there is proof that lack of sleep can lead to worsening memory. Children aged 6-13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night. Teenagers aged 14-18 need 8-10 hours and adult’s need anywhere from 7-9 hours a night. It can be challenging for the mind to settle after hours of homework especially after the use of screens. Our brains seem to want to continue to work or it begins to worry about the next day despite needing sleep. We can help our children get ready for bed with a few simple tools: Try to avoid screens at least 20 minutes before bed. If your child likes tea you can clam their minds and body with chamomile. A warm bath is another great form of relaxing. We include essential oils in our bedtime routine, in every bedroom diffusers are blowing and we have sleep pillow misters and roll on blends to promote a calm relaxed state. If you are interested in purchasing oils or blends, please email me; I can also prepare a custom blend for more challenging sleep issues!
All of the above also pertains to us adults, we need to care for ourselves just as much as our kiddos. What good are we if we are racked with stress and coming down with every bug under the sun. If our immunity is weak, we are going to feel tired and overwhelmed most of our days. Start now to get back on track before we enter flu season so your body is armed with defense keeping you healthy all winter. I also suggest accupuncture for any sluggish immune system or at first signs of a virus. It really does wonders and sometimes is the only thing to really push things out. As we move further into winter I will talk in more detail about tackling specific viruses naturally.
A quick reminder to keep an eye out for indicators of stress. Sometimes we are just going and going and we don't even see it. If your kids are young, have a lot of after school activities planned and are melting down, irritable, demanding or any other signs of being difficult it may signify they are over stimulated. Their little brains and bodies are at capacity for learning and energy. A good dose of rest, being home with their toys and simple play like board games, cooking and reading are a great way to be active yet slow down. Same goes for old kids, there is a lot more they can handle yet the pressures become enormous especially socially. Check in with them, communicate, ask if they are feeling stressed, over whelmed or down. It helps them to navigate their own bodies and mind too!! Now don't forget to check in with you from time to time too!!!