These days it can seem like everyone is trying to give their immune system a much-needed boost–and for good reason. Our immune systems suffer when we don’t sleep well, sit too much, or experience stress and, unfortunately, our modern day culture has us doing all three on the regular. We know it can be hard to just flip a switch on any unhealthy habits, but adding just one immune system-boosting activity to your day could make a big difference in your overall health.
As a child, our founder, Lisa, grew up in a coastal town in Asia, where she drank a lot of herbal teas with her grandma. She said that those moments were “some of the most nourishing and healing” times of her life.
20 years later, Lisa found herself burnt out, stressed, and anxious for a lot of the same reasons we are: we work too much and we don’t take enough breaks to take care of ourselves. Lisa founded The Qi because she simply wanted to go back to a time where wellness was simple, beautiful and authentic.
While drinking tea is a wellness ritual that has been around for thousands of years, we wanted to share a few more activities that can be added to your busy schedule. If you’re feeling more anxious and stressed out than ever these days, take it easy on yourself. Life isn’t always simple, but finding time to recharge is so important. Start out by adding 1-2 hours of wellness to your week and go from there. You got this!
1. Forest Bathing
The term “forest bathing,” or shinrin-yoku, emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise. Forest bathing isn’t about hiking or running through the forest, but rather being consciously present in what is going on around you through your senses of sight, hearing, smell and touch. While forest bathing, you should take the time to walk aimlessly and see where nature takes you.
According to Ming Kuo, a researcher who has been studying the effects of nature on humans for 30 years, spending time in nature boosts our natural killer cells, which fight off infection. During Kuo’s studies she found that people who spent a three-day weekend in a forest preserve had an average of 50% more natural killer cells when they came back home. The best part? 30 days later the number of natural killer cells in the participants' blood was still 25% above what it was before their trip.
While two hours in the forest isn’t going to have the same effect as a three-day weekend, getting out and getting your vitamin D will give a nice boost to your immune system either way.
2. Walking Meditation
If you’re somebody who can’t seem to sit still with your thoughts, we get it. When you have 1001 things to think about, the last thing you’re going to be able to do is clear your mind. With practice, clearing your mind becomes easier and easier, but active meditations like walking meditation are a great way to meditate without having to sit still.
Walking meditation uses the act of walking to guide your thoughts away from any stressors and towards how your body is moving. As you focus on the physical experience of walking and the specific actions involved in each step, you’ll slowly shift your mind to be completely in the present moment. Walking meditation kills two birds with one stone because you’re not only de-stressing with meditation, but you’re also getting in moderate exercise, which is great for your immune system.
3. Chrysanthemum tea ritual
Chrysanthemum tea is high in both Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which are both extremely important for immune system health. Besides these vitamins, Chrysanthemum tea is full of anthocyanins, which are known for being powerful antioxidants. Part of the reason why eating lots of fruits and vegetables is important for your immune system is because they contain antioxidants, which help fight against cellular damage.
Brewing our whole flower chrysanthemum tea is also a perfect opportunity to do one of these 3-minute breathing exercises. Doing these breathing exercises while your tea brews is the perfect way to turn a simple activity into an easy wellness ritual.
4. Yoga Nidra
If you ask a doctor what you should do to stay healthy, they’ll usually mention eating your fruits and vegetables, getting exercise, and getting enough sleep. You might not be prioritizing sleep either because you have too much to do during the day or because you have too much to think about right before you go to bed. It happens to the best of us.
Luckily, there are a lot of wellness practices that help us get better sleep and yoga nidra is one of the best. Yoga nidra, or yogic sleep, will provide a deep rest and relaxation that you won’t find in a lot of other practices. And if you don’t consider yourself a yogi, don’t worry. Yoga nidra usually only requires only one (or a couple) of really simple poses. This practice focuses mostly on meditation and bringing your body to a state of relaxation.We hope these wellness rituals inspire you to take some time for yourself this week. If you decide to give one of these activities a try, we would love to cheer you on! Tag us on Instagram @the_qi_ or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us all about it.