Immune System Self-Care ~ Naturally!!

The Highest Time of Living!

IMG_1775“Don’t talk to me of solemn days

In autumn’s time of splendor,

Because the sun shows fewer rays,

And these grow slant and slender.

Why, it’s the climax of the year,

The highest time of living!

Till naturally its bursting cheer

Just melts into thanksgiving.” (From “Merry Autumn”, by PL Dunbar)

As I slip out into early dawn with our doggies, Tika and Buddy, for our morning walk, I feel a crisp breeze brush against my cheek. I smile, giggling to myself: “Nature is stirring things up!” Off we trek to fields where deer and rabbits play, anticipating the sun’s warming glow. I am reminded of PL Dunbar’s poem “Merry Autumn”. He invites us to embrace this stunning season of phenomenal colors, picturesque greenery transforming into glorious oranges, reds, and yellows, “the highest time of living”. Natural mulch is created as leaves fall to earth. Bees, bats, bears, and other creatures search for quiet, hidden places to hibernate, intent on rejuvenation.

Teaching practical ways to prepare for such challenging changes is one of my greatest passions. Moving from summer into autumn, we should enhance immune function. Our immune system is comprised of a network of specialized cells, tissues, proteins and organs that work to protect us from infection and disease, keeping us healthy throughout colder months. It attacks illness-causing organisms through the immune response, shielding us from destructive substances, strengthening our overall health and wellbeing.

A recent weekend workshop we hosted focused specifically on “tuning up” our immune system. Valuable “take-homes” included slowing life down, following a structured routine, and making necessary changes in three crucial areas: 1) dietary behaviors; 2) sleep habits; and 3) overall stress management. Nutritionally, adding oil and heat to our bodies is essential. Pouring extra virgin olive oil over steamed veggies as well as massaging ourselves with organic skin treatment oils reduces body dryness, inside and out. Internal warming stimulates a “bursting cheer” of energy! Try eating yummy autumn foods: baked sweet potatoes, cranberry chutney, crisp apple pie. Homemade hot cereals, topped with nuts, fresh or steamed fruits, and a dobble of locally made honey is a terrific plan. Creating soups, simmering assorted fresh veggies in organic broth, then adding flavorful spices and nourishing meats of choice is a delightful option. Join body-friendly yoga classes that focus on flow and seasonal breath work, empowering your mind, energizing your body, and nurturing your spirit. Embracing gentle movement in autumn is a powerful reinforcement for your whole being. Learn to meditate … cherish contemplative moments, the chance to be alone with yourself, cultivating your exquisite breath. Relax early in the evening, encouraging peace-filled slumber.

Burst cheerfully into October, utilizing some of these practical tips to jumpstart your immune function. Every little bit counts! An immediate effect that you may notice is an increasing ability to calmly confront stressors, those things that “push your buttons”; then you can expedite stress relief! Try slowing down a little by bolstering your immune function now!

Then, truly enjoy “autumn’s time of splendor”!