When Vitality is Out of Our Hands
I ate Chicken Nettle Soup, drank tons of water, ate probiotics like candy and pilfered through my homeopathic remedies in search of relief. And yet the cold lingered. And then it moved to my chest where it maintained a slight presence for a week or two. Why, you may be asking, would this woman heralding vitality find herself so lacking in it?
There are times when the battle between disease and vitality is largely out of our hands. As a consequence, our quest for better health by way of diet changes, exercise, tonic herbs — all the things we talk about here — seems like it’s not enough. We still get sick.
Chances are, though, as you lay in bed wondering what went wrong, you’ll discover something in your life that was out of your control. And has been for an extended period of time.Here are a few scenarios that come to mind that place our vitality in a precarious position:
- Sleepless nights with a newborn
- Stresses and long hours to meet deadlines at work
- Traveling and eating out (goodbye, real food)
- Caring for loved ones who are sick
- Occupations that subject you to sleeplessness and illness: doctors, nurses, firefighters, etc.
You may have noticed one of the common threads in most of the scenarios I mentioned is sleep. And sleep was the primary culprit responsible for my brush with death (exaggerated humor here) and the progression of my cold. It’s true.
For the previous three weeks I had been keeping late nights trying to get this website up and running. In addition, our youngest little one (almost 8 months old) started waking up again during the night, sometimes 3 or 4 times. I believe my nightly sleep tally was up around 5 or 6 hours acquired in chucks of 90 minutes or so… more than enough for some, but a far cry from my needed 8 or 9 hours. I’m sure you can see the picture of why vitality was lacking for me. You can’t expect great things from a weary body.
One of those factors was out of my hands. So is the deadline my husband faces that requires him to pull a few late nights to complete. So is the big family vacation we have coming up that takes us to California for two weeks, spending 12+ hours in a germ-infested airplane and eating out more times than I care to consider. All are situations out of my hands that have the potential for effecting our vitality. But they don’t have to have drastic consequences.
Most of the time we have the benefit of a heads-up that our vitality is coming under fire. In such cases there are several things you can do to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And even if your vitality takes a sudden downward plunge, these tips are beneficial for improving your health at any time!
How to Maintain Vitality in Difficult Times
1. Be purposeful at making the best, healthy, choices you can. Become aware of your lifestyle and how it’s affecting your health. Using my less-than-perfect example, as soon as I noticed a trend with my little one’s difficulty sleeping, I should have put aside the late night choices I was making that were in my control.
2. Lay off the sugar. This includes all refined sugar and carbohydrates (you shouldn’t be eating them in the first place!) and also the better natural sugars, including real maple syrup, honey and fruit. Yes, fruit. It’s so easy to grab a piece of fruit and think we’ve made the super-healthy choice… and indeed it is a better one than that bag of chips beckoning from the pantry. But fruit does contain large amounts of sugar that should be avoided in times of low vitality.
3. Instead, chow down on vegetables. Vegetables are the unsung heroes of good health. They’re high in fiber and low in sugar . They’re easy to digest and provide loads of vitamins and energy! This chart offers a terrific overview of all the wonderful, nourishing benefits that vegetables have to offer. We all know that boosting vitamin C during times of illness is a good thing but did you know there is significantly more vitamin C in a serving of crunchy bell peppers, green leafy vegetables or broccoli than in oranges… but minus the high sugar content. Yes, it’s true! If you can’t convince your little ones to eat vegetables, perhaps this video will help.
4. Drink water. ‘Nuf said.
5. Find time for fresh air and exercise. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, the personal time to breathe deep and reflect on life is imperative. If you just can’t seem to pull yourself away for exercise, be intentional in walking a little faster wherever you go. Now that the weather is warm exercise comes much more easily. It’s the cold winter months that throw up the biggest hurdles for exercise. We’ll be talking about how to transition your routine for the winter months in the near future.
6. Ingest tonic herbs – especially Adaptogenic ones – like they’re going out of style. Ginseng is the best and also Astragulus, Licorice, and Rhodiola. All have the wonderful benefits of helping your body move gracefully through times of stress. We’ll be talking about all of them in the coming months!
7. Take sleep seriously. The amount of sleep needed for optimum physical performance varies by individually. To find out what your body’s needs are consider reading this article by the National Sleep Foundation. It’s most likely that as an adult you’ll need somewhere in between 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night. I tend to fall to the extreme of needing nine hours… but motherhood has certainly trained me to be super thankful for eight hours! My husband, on the other hand, falls to the opposite extreme. Somehow we still love each other.
8. Lastly, Invest in Thieves Oil. I admit, the price tag ($40+) on the little bottle of Thieves Oil made me think twice… no, four times… before breaking down and buying it last year. Best. Idea. Ever. We love the smell of it, but that’s nothing compared to how well we felt it helped us get through the cold and flu season this year. I even offered it to my dad, who is a firefighter, to wear during his duty days as a protective mechanism against the violent illnesses he came in contact with throughout the winter. He loved it too, and ended up purchasing his own bottle. Did I mention he suffered from only a cold this winter?
Let me hop off on a bunny trail here to say that Thieves Oil is a trademarked product of Young Living Oils and requires purchase through an independent distributor. I find that annoying. Indeed, I have looked elsewhere at other immune-boosting oil blends comparable to Thieves and while I can’t vouch for their efficiency because I haven’t regularly used them (although I have NO reason to doubt that they are as good), for me personally it came down to the smell. I like the smell of Thieves Oil better. Perhaps that’s rather shallow of me, but it’s the truth. At any rate, Thieves Oil has been life-changing to our family this year (we even use it in our toothpaste!) and so it’s become our go-to immunity booster when we’re fighting low vitality. And yes, I am a Young Living distributor (by necessity, really) and so if you’d like to purchase your own bottle of Thieves Oil (or any other oil of Young Living that you want to try) I’m happy to send some your way for $39.00 plus shipping (cheaper than Amazon). Just visit the Nourishing Herbalist store.
As far as where you can buy the best oils or what my (& Rachel’s) real thoughts are about Young Living, doTerra, and other essential oil companies out there… you can read our post on Where to Buy the Best Essential Oils).
At any rate, the Thieves Oil’s proprietary blend includes the oils of clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. That said, you could always attempt your own combinations of these oils, or use them individually, to achieve similar immune-boosting support.
At the end of the day…
All of the above suggestions are ones even I forget about from time to time, but once something triggers my memory and I reinstate healthy practices, I’m always amazed at how quickly I feel back on my game.
It would be nice if our quest for vitality meant only terrific health and energy, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t promise us we’ll never get sick again. There will still be bumps in the road. But the truth is that as our vitality improves, so will our successes in the war against disease and that’s how we know we’re on the path to better vitality.
You may still find yourself feeling poorly from time to time, but the intensity and duration of illness will be significantly lessened. What’s the takeaway? When vitality is out of your hands, just take it in stride. Our bodies are magnificently made and in due time we’ll find ourselves out of “survival mode” and back to the land of the thriving. With a good reminder of why we want to continue to build our vitality for any future stresses coming our way!
This post was shared on Party Wave Wednesday.