Health Starts in the Home
One of the biggest contributors to negative health is the large number of synthetic chemicals in our homes. Our homes are our sanctuaries, our place of safety and refuge. But sadly, the products we buy often contain ingredients that endanger them.
We are marketed to and led to believe that even the “all natural” products are safe for our families when in reality, they aren’t. Many common household products can lead to health problems like eye and throat irritation, headaches, respiratory issues, allergic reactions, worsened asthma, focus issues, and possibly even cancer. These chemicals such as formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, ethanolamines, triclosan, and synthetic fragrance are wreaking havoc on our immune system at a time when we NEED it to be working at its best.
It’s important to use truly harsh-chemical-free products when cleaning and disinfecting our homes. That also applies to what we’re putting on our bodies for personal care and on our clothing when we do laundry. I encourage your to read the back labels on your all-purpose cleaners, shampoos, soaps, toothpaste, and laundry supplies. If one contains any of those chemicals shown above, ditch it and switch to a safe, plant-based product that you can feel good about.
Synthetic chemicals aren’t limited to cleaning and personal care products. I also want to encourage you to ditch those toxic air fresheners, plugins, and candles and switch them out for a much safer solution - an essential oil diffuser. Inhaling an oil can be greatly beneficial for kids! Breathing in essential oils directly influences the control center of the brain, the hypothalamus. This area sends instructions through our body concerning sleep patterns, mood, behavior, appetite, and the release of certain hormones. You’re not only making the air smell better, you’re supporting your family’s bodies! How cool is that?!
Wake up, sleepy head!! It’s time for school. Whether they’re headed to a school building or just the living room, it’s important to fill that tummy with some good nutrition.
According to kidshealth.org, “Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless, or irritable. In the morning, their bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. Their mood and energy can drop by midmorning if they don't eat at least a small morning meal.”
Try to offer options that contain protein, fiber, or whole carbohydrates like fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, nuts, lean meats, or healthy grains. And since a spoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for several hours, sugary cereals and toaster pastries probably aren’t the best options.
It’s tough for our kiddos to always get the nutrients they need, especially if they’re picky eaters like my daughter. She takes a multivitamin that that includes a full range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that deliver whole-food multinutrient support for general health and well-being. Its important to us that it be free of preservatives and artificial colors and flavors too.
A few other daily supplements I recommend:
Vitamin C - Because our bodies cannot manufacture vitamin C, we can benefit by consuming this powerful antioxidant daily. It plays an important role in normal immune and circulatory functions, helps to strengthen connective tissues, and promotes overall health, vitality, and longevity.
Vitamin D - Vitamin D helps support bone growth, healthy muscle, mood, and hormone regulation. It also plays a key function in respiratory health, and through its innate and adaptive defense mechanisms, supports the body’s respiratory immune system.
Probiotics - We can all benefit from a daily probiotic to promote healthy digestion, support gut health, as well as maintain normal intestinal function for the overall support of a healthy immune system.
Getting adequate sleep is uber important for staying healthy. According to Rachel Dawkins, M.D., with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, “Sleep is an essential part of everyone’s routine and an indispensable part of a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, and even depression.”
You might be surprised to learn that children from ages 6-12 should be getting 9-12 hours of sleep a night, and children from ages 13-18 should be getting 8-10 hours a night.
Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is important, ideally starting at the same time every night. Here are some tips to establish this healthy routine.
- Stop use of electronics/screens at least an hour before bed
- Read a short book or excerpt from a book
- Limit caffeine
- Take a warm bath
- Dim the lights
- Use calming essential oils topically or in the diffuser
Below the Wellness Line
Unfortunately, falling below the wellness line is a fact of life. However - it is how our bodies learn to “fight.” According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Once the body has come into contact with a disease-causing germ for the first time, it usually stores information about the germ and how to fight it. Then, if it comes into contact with the germ again, it recognizes the germ straight away and can start fighting it faster.” This is why it’s so vital that we continually support our immune systems, especially if they have been threatened and are in a weaker state.
One of my favorite things to do when anyone in our house is showing signs of going below the wellness line is a detox bath. This can be a great way to help restore the body, thanks to the ingredients within. Himalayan pink salt removes toxins from the body through a process called reverse osmosis. It also contains very high levels of minerals - like magnesium, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc. Activated charcoal is powerfully detoxifying. It also deodorizes, purifies, and is anti-bacterial. Add in some essential oils and it’s a mix made with love that you and your kids are sure to enjoy. Be sure to drink plenty of water after a detox bath to help your body replenish and stay hydrated.
- ½ cup Himalayan pink salt
- ½ cup activated charcoal
- 3 drops Lavender essential oil
- 2 drops Frankincense essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl or jar. When ready to use, add 3 TBSP to ¼ cup to a hot bath. Soak for at least 20-30 minutes.
Oil Up, Buttercup!
Whether your child needs help with focus and concentration, wellness support, sleep, or emotions such as fear, anxiety, excitement, etc., we have access to some amazing tools — essential oils. Essential oils can play a HUGE role in supporting our bodies when used regularly. Apply them or diffuse them while your family is getting ready in the mornings and during bedtime routines. You can even send rollers to school or apply oils to a diffuser bracelet or fidget spinner. If you’re doing school at home, have oils at the ready to apply or diffuse while the kids work. There are so many ways to use them to support a healthy lifestyle.
Obviously, that wasn’t a conclusive list of healthy back-to-school habits, but it’s a great start for many of us. For those of you reading this now, I’ve prayed that your family will experience great health, little fear, and comfort with your decision about where you‘re educating your children this school year. You’ve got this, mama!
If you’re interested in more healthy living tips, check out my free guide for Three Easy Ways to Detox Your Home. You can also join my healthy lifestyle Facebook group, How to Be a Modern Hippie, here.
If you're a parent, you KNOW the importance of having a nightly routine with your children, and that routine (or lack thereof) will not only determine your child's mood, but also the peacefulness of your own sleep, your stress level, and the quality of your upcoming day.
Usually the routine goes something like this: change into pajamas, brush teeth, snuggle during a bedtime story, sip a little water, sing a song or two, pray, get tucked in tight with a lovey, then lights out. That little routine usually sets the stage for the sandman to do his thing. But . . .
My little one, even at the age of five, was still waking up once every. single. night. at about 3:00 a.m. Which means my husband and I were also waking up every. single. night. at about 3:00 a.m. It was quick . . . she just spoke a couple of words into her monitor. But then one of us would have to trudge all the way upstairs to see what was wrong, and she was often sound asleep again or just wanted to have a sip of water.
We were at our wit’s end. Begging didn’t work. Bribery didn’t work. (Please don't judge me . . . I was tired!)
And then something magical happened . . . I added something extra to my daughter’s nightly routine. I placed my brand-new essential oil diffuser beside her bed, filled it with water, and added a few drops of sweat from an angel’s wings (aka essential oil).
And the very first night, she slept all night. All night. Her room smelled like a divine mixture of flowers and citrus, and our lives were transformed.