3 Ayurvedic Tips for Back to School
I always loved back-to-school time. The new perfectly white shoes and the freshly distressed pair of Levi’s. The crisp mornings with just a hint of fall in the air. And in September, I would start out the mornings with the best of intentions, rising with enough time to eat breakfast and walk to school without being late. Inevitably, as the months went on, I would stay up too late reading and struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I devised the perfect plan to sleep in my school clothes, giving me an extra five minutes the following morning in the soft warmth of my bed.
But here is what happened. I would often fall back asleep, wake up, look at my clock, then start my day with a full surge of adrenaline, as I was bound to be late for school. Enough years of this takes its toll, and my nervous system started to pay the price.
Since my introduction to Ayurveda, I see this destructive pattern in a whole new light. When I take the time to start my day gracefully, everyone benefits. By starting the morning with my nervous system intact and without my stress hormones already in full tilt, I am better able to support my children as they head into their day. And they are better equipped to stay balanced throughout the ups and downs of the school year. Here are my 3 best tips for staying grounded and balanced well past September, whether you are a student, teacher, or parent or guardian.
3 Ways to Have a Balanced School Year
Inevitably, the change of season and return to school brings some challenges. The inertia of summer is replaced by a need to shift into a higher gear. Video games and YouTube give way to pre-algebra or calculus. And time at home with a few select germs to contend with morphs into lots of interaction and exposure to the bug of the moment. Fortunately, Ayurveda gives us a practical framework, and Banyan Botanicals gives us some amazing herbal products to ease us into the schoolyear.
Establish a Daily Routine
Ayurveda considers a daily routine, or dinacharya, to be one of the most important tools in the kit. Optimally, a daily routine provides a safe container for the nervous system signaling that all is well, and it can ease up on its fight-or-flight mechanism. And when our nervous system is sound, it allows the body to rest and restore. When I have given myself the time in the morning for self-care, it is much like giving myself the oxygen mask first. Then I can give oxygen to my son. He says, “Wow, mom! It feels like we have so much time in the morning!” We both feel like we can breathe. Ayurveda takes this one step further and recommends specific ways to tailor your daily routine to balance your doshas. For daily routine recommendations customized to your Ayurvedic body type, take this short quiz.
Fortify the Immune System
Dinacharya is one way to support the immune system and fortifying herbs is another. Ojas is a central concept in Ayurveda as one of the “subtle essences” in the body and one that is directly related to our immunity. We can reinforce our ojas with healthy habits—adequate rest and sleep, a wholesome diet, appropriate exercise, and doing what we love. We deplete ojas by doing the opposite. Herbal products like Chyavanprash and Immune Strong also help boost the immune system with ojas-enhancing herbs. A spoonful of chyavanprash is like a spoonful of love!
Try Herbs for Brain Support
Even with a daily routine in place, life can still be stressful. It is life after all. This year, I am sending my son back to school with some Focus liquid extract, which contains both brahmi and bacopa, two herbs prized for supporting cognitive function. I support my own brain and nervous system with Mental Clarity and Stress Ease, two formulas created to ease life’s daily stressors.
A cherished tenet in the Ayurvedic tool kit is that we are all unique, and that what may work for one individual may not work for another. This is a beautiful concept because it allows us to celebrate our own uniqueness, and to take responsibility for ourselves and our personal well-being. By trying different herbs and formulas, and with adjustments to our daily routine, we can zero in on the things that work best for us.
As a vata individual who craves warmth and soft things, I will always have a special relationship with my bed. But I know now that I can create a different kind of warmth in the morning, a warmth that comes from loving myself enough to start my day with some quiet time and gentle affection for myself. It is not always easy to climb out of those beloved blankets, but the rewards are always worth it.