As a kid I loved heading back to school. Sure I was sad to see summer vacation go but I was ready to photo collage my binders, start organizing my backpack and catch up with everyone. Now as a parent this time of the year feels very different than when I was a kid. I’m always sad for my favorite season to end (I named my first born Summer after all!).

Back to school means transition, and transitions are tricky for kids. It means an earlier wake-up, rushing out the door, lots of new germs at school and cooler days and longer nights are approaching.

Make the transition out of summer mode and back to school and back to work smoother and saner with these three tips.

1. Strengthen your immune system before cold season starts

As summer wraps up and kids return to school they are exposed to new germs, a faster pace to the day, less sleep and more stress. Basically the perfect recipe for a lowered immune system for the entire family.

This time a year ago my daughter started preschool and I learned ALL about the fun germs kids bring home from day-care, from coughs and colds to hand foot mouth disease. The CDC reports that elementary aged children get 8-12 colds a year. That many colds equals a lot of missed school plus time off of work for parents. So this year I am getting a jump start before cold and flu season hit.

For helping my family build a strong immune system that is ready for cold and flu season I turn to medicinal mushrooms. These fungi are immunomodulating, which means they help prevent you from getting sick by building your body's resistance to stress and balancing your immune system. Some of my favorites are reishi, turkey tail, maitake, shiitake and oyster.

Mushrooms benefit from a long cook and are a great addition to broth, soups, stews or anything that is going to sit on the stove or slow cooker for awhile. I take them in my daily tincture formula for a few months this time of year to really support my immune system.

I don’t recommend medicinal mushrooms when you are actively sick. Instead they work best when taken preventatively or right after a bout of being sick.

2. Soothe back to school jitters and anxious nerves

With the start of back to school season we often have to adjust our schedules and routines for different drop-off times, earlier bedtimes or maybe more time in work mode. For both children and parents a new schedule can mean excitement, but also a source of stress, digestive upset & loss of sleep.

Plants can help soothe our stress and promote sleep during what might be an emotional transition. Sip on calming teas daily during the back to school season. Some plants I like to work with include lemon balm, lavender, tulsi, chamomile and oats.

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