5 tips for back to school

The beginning of a new school year can be fraught with mixed emotions. It’s a big change no matter your age, whether you’re a pre-schooler, university student, teacher or parent and can sometimes result in a few minor health issues…. anxiety, stress, sleepless nights, digestive issues, an inability to focus, immunity problems, etc, etc.

This is a good time of the year to start new habits and bring in healthy changes for your household. Here are a few simple suggestions to help ease this transition and set you up for the school year ahead.

5 tips for going back to school

1. Get into a good routine

In Ayurveda, daily routine (Dinacharya) is essential when it comes to overall well being as it gives structure and support to your day. Doing the right thing at the right time (bed, meals, exercise, relaxation, bathing, studying, elimination, etc)  establishes a good natural rhythm and is really important for both body & mind.

2. Take herbal remedies

 There are lots of beneficial herbal medicines for this transition. There are herbs for immunity (Elderberry, Echinacea, Elderflower, Cats claw, Olive leaf, etc), herbs for focus & concentration (Brahmi, Gotu kola, Rosemary, Sage, etc), herbs for sleep (Chamomile, Valerian, Californian poppy, etc), herbs for anxiety & stress (Ashwagandha, Passionflower, Chamomile, Siberian ginseng, etc) and herbs for many other issues that may arise.  Visit our dispensary on a Thursday afternoon for a free 15minute consultation to see which herbs are best for you.

3. A good appetite is half the battle… 

The need for a good appetite cannot be overstated. In Ayurveda, Agni or digestive fire is not only seen as relating to the digestive system but also the appetite for knowledge, learning & living. Check in with your kids about their hunger levels before each meal/snack and if they are not hungry regularly try to remedy this. Simple changes can help increase appetite – drinking a warm drink when they get out of bed, include warming spices & herbs in the diet (ginger, cardamom, black pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, chilli, etc), eating smaller quantities, skipping snacks, eating a suitable diet, making sure there are no digestive issues such as constipation, inflammation, etc. There are also many herbal formulations that help to increase appetite and assist with digestion but consult with a qualified practitioner first.

4. Make some dietary improvements – what you eat is central to how you feel and if you’re not getting the right fuel it’s more difficult to perform well.

  • Make sure all meals are balanced, tasty, warm, digestible & nourishing
  • Include lots of wholefoods, fruits & vegetables, healthy oils and good proteins (legumes, lentils, nuts & seeds & for meat eaters, organic white meats & good quality fish)
  • Make some healthy swaps: white sugar for dark brown muscavado/honey or pure maple syrup; white for brown – (white pasta for brown pasta, etc); soft drink for water & lemon/ other fruit; cold milk for warm; raw for cooked (generally easier to digest although some amount of raw is ok but avoid during Winter/Spring); table salt for sea/rock salt.
  • Avoid inflammatory foods that may cause sluggishness, brain fog and behavioural issues (refined foods & drinks, cold dairy products, junk foods, deli meats, white sugar, etc).

Example: Start the day with a healthy bowl of warm porridge or sugar free cereal with warm milk & cinnamon (warm is better from Autumn until early Summer); Pack healthy lunches with a focus on incorporating wholefoods, more vegetables and if at all possible make it warm. If you are making sandwiches add extra vegetables and use a good quality bread (sourdough, Rye, spelt, etc); Always keep snacks healthy – whole pieces of fruit rather than juices, nuts & seeds, homemade rather than bought snacks, homemade soup, etc. and make sure the evening meal is homemade, warm, nourishing and not too late in the evening.

5. Spend more time outdoors

Being in a classroom all day would stifle anyone. It’s so important to balance this with time outdoors (even in Winter) and preferably in a completely natural environment (without a device/screen). The benefits of time outdoors are far reaching and effect the body & mind in so many positive ways. Some of the benefits include: greater confidence, increased creativity, enhanced responsibility for the environment, good exercise, improved thinking, improved immunity and it also reduces stress & fatigue. Instead of going straight home after school why not bring your kids to a park/beach/woodland or even just your garden.

There are plenty of other remedies (Ayurvedic, Herbal & Homeopathic) for more specific problems relating to the school year transition but too many to list here. If you have any specific health concerns relating to this or would like some support please get in touch, book a consultation or visit our dispensary.