6 Ways to Naturally Support Your Immune Health

This article first appeared on MadebyHemp. I’m collaborating with them to promote each other’s articles.

I usually think of the immune system as something to worry about during the winter. But really, our immune systems can get worn-down any time during the year. For many of us, summer is an extremely busy time and it’s pretty easy to get overextend ourselves. This article was originally published in the winter, but I think it’s a good reminder for this time of year as well.


The holidays can be a very stressful time, and excess stress has been known to weaken the immune system, thus making us more susceptible to falling ill. This paired with the fact we are exposed to more germs due to family visiting from out of town, it’s no wonder we are all getting sick during this time of year. Fortunately, there are several preventative measures you can take to make sure you’re doing the best to maintain overall well-being during this busy time of year.

CBD Health Benefits for the Immune System

As we have talked about previously, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for regulating most functions in the human body. One of these functions is our immune response. Cannabinoids (like CBD) interact with our ECS. When our ECS is active, it helps to aid our body in bringing itself back into balance (homeostasis). When our body is in balance, it is more likely to make sure proper immune function and regulation is occurring.

The immune system is extremely complex, and there is still much to be learned about it. We are excited to see more research being conducted about the relationship between CBD and the immune system. For now, though, it appears the ECS and CBD are very much involved in the maintenance of a properly functioning immune response.

Busting Myths About Immune Health

Due to the complex nature of the immune system, there are many misconceptions when it comes to staying well as the weather changes. Let’s bust one of those myths before jumping into the best preventative measures you can take to keep sickness at bay.

Many of us have heard the phrase ‘put a coat on or you’ll catch a cold!’ Although we may associate sickness with colder weather, research suggests our increase in sickness during the winter months is most likely due to spending more time indoors (to avoid the cold) and spending more time in close contact with others who may pass a virus to us.

Having busted this common misconception, let’s dive into some effective, preventative measures to keep you healthy this winter.

1. Manage stress

girl in front of her laptop stressed out with her head down in her hands

Stress is the single most important factor you can manage to avoid weakening your immune system. Stress wears down our immune system rapidly, making us more likely to fall ill when we are exposed to germs.

It’s not uncommon to be stressed out during the holidays, it can be a stressful time! You can help mitigate this stress by meditating, indulging in regular exercise, and practicing mindfulness. There are many various ways to manage stress over the holidays, so whichever option works best based on you and your schedule is great! We’re not so concerned HOW you manage stress, we’re merely advocating for you to do so!

2. Prioritize sleep (or make yours better!)

woman sleeping

Our bodies repair themselves while we sleep – which is why it is so crucial to make sure we’re getting enough quality sleep. When we skip out on our regular amounts of sleep, the number of infection-fighting antibodies and cells in our bodies are reduced.

Supplementing with a CBD supplement before bed will help you relax and therefore get into a deeper sleep. There are several things you can do to ensure you get a better night’s rest, and it is in your immune system’s best interest to get quality sleep when you can.

3. Support your body with herbs and supplements

herbal tea with dried herbs next to it

At Made By Hemp, we always recommend using a supplement as just that – a supplement to an already healthy lifestyle! Things, like sleeping well and managing stress, will always make a more significant impact than a supplement, but we listed a few supplements that can help boost your immunity nonetheless.

  • CBD. As we mentioned before, CBD can be a powerful tool to help maintain balance in your body. Including CBD into your daily routine will be all-around beneficial – and will especially aid in activating your ECS and keeping you balanced this winter.
  • Reishi mushroom. Mushrooms are widely used in Eastern medicine and have been known to act as a powerful immune sidekick. Source high-quality reishi mushroom powder and try mixing it into your morning latte.
  • Echinacea. Echinacea has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which helps to fight off colds or infection. Try an herbal echinacea spray or a bag of tea that contains dried echinacea.

4. Load up on healthy foods

acai bowl with fruit and other healthy items around it

Vitamins can help an infection from even happening in the first place. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, then you should not need to take a supplement – the vitamins are already in the food we eat! We know there are plenty of treats around this time of year and we are not suggesting you don’t indulge (because we sure do!), but that doesn’t mean you have to completely ditch your healthy lifestyle altogether. You can still eat healthy meals in between your holiday get-togethers, and squeeze in workouts when able.

  • Vitamin D. Due to the decreased amount of sunshine, vitamin D is an important supplement to add to your regime. You can either purchase a high-quality vitamin D supplement or look for fortified milk and cereals.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is probably the most well-known immune booster. You can get your dose of vitamin C by eating citrus (like oranges, grapefruit, or lemon), bell peppers, kale, and broccoli.
  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that will help the body fight infection. You can get vitamin E from nuts (like sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, or hazelnuts), avocados, mango, and kiwi!
  • Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that keeps the immune system strong and aids in healing. You can find zinc in legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products.

Prioritize eating a salad packed with vegetables, drinking a green juice, or even making your own vegetable broth before your next holiday get-together. Your immune system will thank you!

5. Stay hydrated

woman drinking water

Making sure you stay hydrated aids your body in eliminating toxins and other unwanted bacteria. Soda, alcohol, and sugary drinks are not substitutes for water; if you need to, try herbal teas or add flavorings to your water to make sure you are getting enough.

As a guideline, to be properly hydrated, our bodies need ½ of our body weight in ounces per day to stay hydrated. If you weigh 150lbs then 75oz of water daily is what you need. We know drinking that much water isn’t always possible, but 35oz of water daily is better than zero. Do your best!

6. Wash your hands

person washing hands

One of the easiest tips of all, but we had to mention it! Thoroughly wash your hands, especially before handling food or after being in an environment with a lot of germs (like a Christmas work party or family dinner).

These tips can help you avoid sickness this winter (or anytime in general). We want to show you how easy it is to integrate a wellness lifestyle into your already busy schedule. Wellness is a choice that everyone can make!


Featured image credit: Foundry Co via Pixabay

Nine Tips For Better Sleep Hygiene So You Can Get A Good Night’s Rest

This article first appeared on MadebyHemp. One of their representatives sent me an email several weeks ago suggesting we could promote some of each other’s articles. I haven’t tried CBD oil myself, but I did some research on it when writing for a client and it sounds like something that really could help a lot of people. This post also has some very good content about habits that can help us get a better night’s sleep, which I think most of us would appreciate. I hope you find it useful!


Sleep hygiene is the series of routines, habits, and behaviors you partake in relation to your sleep. Unknowingly or not, each of us has our own rituals and behaviors which may impact our overall feeling of rest. Things like a 3 pm cup of coffee or sleeping in on the weekend to ‘catch up’ on sleep are examples of undesirable sleep hygiene behaviors.

Sleep hygiene is important because it can either improve or reduce the quality of sleep you are getting. A few simple tweaks can really improve the amount of sleep you are able to get – whether that is 6 hours or 9 hours.

This list is a holistic approach to improving your nighttime habits and is not a simple one-step solution.

You would think as a CBD company we would list CBD as a sleep aid, but we believe it’s more important to live a wellness lifestyle as opposed to simply adding and relying on a supplement to help you sleep. A ‘supplement’ is just that – a supplement to an already healthy lifestyle!

1. Develop a night-time wind down routine

This can include:

Engaging in this series of behaviors will gradually signal to your body you are getting ready to go to sleep – and these behaviors will also aid in relaxing your mind and body. Read more

Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase on that website.

INFJ personality types* often live with ridiculous amounts of guilt. We feel guilty about things we did and didn’t say or do. We feel guilty about how the people around us feel and how they react to us, about our own short comings, and even about our successes.

Everyone experiences a certain amount of guilt. But it does seem like one of the more common struggles for INFJs. Most people attribute this propensity for guilt to INFJ perfectionism, saying that if we fail to make something “perfect” we’ll feel guilty about it. But it’s a bit more complex than that (a fact which, I’m sure, will surprise no one familiar with INFJs).

Living With INFJ Guilt And Overcoming Cycles of Shame | marissabaker.wordpress.com
Photo credit: “Incognito” by nasrul ekram, CC BY via Flickr

Why do INFJs feel guilty?

The INFJ mind is very good at coming up with reasons we should feel guilty. Our Introverted Intuition seeks out patterns in our own behavior. Our Extroverted Feeling picks up on how we make others feel and evaluates our actions in light of how people “should” be. Our Introverted Thinking is quite happy to analyze our faults to death. And that pesky Extroverted Sensing adds even more guilt by whispering that all this shouldn’t matter and we could just go have fun. Read more

The Myth of the Good Little INFJ

Last week, I stumbled across an article on Pinterest talking about female INFJs. Well, technically it was about INFj in the Socionics system, which is a bit different than the MBTI type and may include INFPs as well, but for purposes of this article we’ll just talk about INFJ types. The original article, written in 2011 by someone identified only as Beskova, paints a portrait of the INFJ type that is beautiful on the surface but doesn’t quite manage to reach their heart. It’s part of a disturbing trend in portrayals of INFJs, though this is the most extreme example I’ve seen.

Like many people who treat the INFJ type as quasi-mythical, this writer describes INFJs as flawless, naive, pure and submissive. They even describe a typical INFJ appearance: “Women of this type are very feminine and are delicate, modest and even shy. … They have a very ephemeral body, and sometimes lightly stooped posture.”

Reading on, it seems the INFJ has no faults. They never gossip or argue, meet adversity with mild gentleness, focus on humanitarian efforts, fit into any job, and submit themselves selflessly to helping the people in their lives. In short, the article says, “When a female INFj becomes your wife, know that in your home there lives a quiet angel” who “makes for one of the most obedient wives.”

The Myth of the Good Little INFJ | marissabaker.wordpress.com
photo credit: Cameron Nordholm

The biggest problem with this portrait of an INFJ isn’t just that it’s untrue; it’s the fact that INFJ women may try to fit into this mold if they end up in a relationship with someone who expects “their” INFJ to act like this. One thing that’s become clear in the months I’ve been reading things INFJs share online is that we’re one of the types most vulnerable to getting involved in unhealthy relationships with narcissists. And INFJ descriptions that make us out to be perfectly submissive and obedient aren’t helping discourage interest from unhealthy people.

Myth: INFJs won’t start a fight

It’s true that INFJs are one of the most conflict-avoidant types. Until a person does something the INFJ can’t live with, we’ll often just nod and smile at most conversations and suggestions. This happens with casual acquaintances when we don’t want to wast energy on conflict, and in closer relationships when we don’t want to deal with the emotional fall-out of conflict unless there’s a very good reason. I talk about this at greater length in my INFJ Handbook.

But if you think INFJs can’t get angry or won’t take a stand when things aren’t as they should be, think again. INFJs tend to draw a line in their minds, and once it’s crossed we’ll make sure we let you know. Once we get started, we’ll probably tack on a list of every other way you’ve ever let us down as well. The closer we are to you, the better we’ll know how to tear you apart (note: we’re not proud of this fact, and many INFJs work hard at controlling their anger). The best way to avoid this in a relationship is to keep open lines of communication, which is the number one thing many INFJs are looking for in a relationship. INFJs prefer to keep our emotions out in the open, and if we feel safe and heard then there’s no need to bottle up our feelings until we explode.

Myth: INFJs are always agreeable

In this socionics article, the writer talks about how INFJ women often need/want other people to make decisions for them. They write, “If you are her husband take responsibility for making major decisions in development of your family and she will with pleasure obey you.” Now, I’ll be honest — sometimes I do want people to make decisions for me. But if an INFJ is consistently told she can’t be trusted with important decisions and is left out of the planning process, then she’s going to stop trusting you.

The other party might not even notice an INFJ doesn’t agree with him if he’s expecting her to be what the article says: “friendly and dutiful, never quarrel nor ask much for themselves.” We place a high value on trust and communication in relationships, and assuming we agree with you instead of really asking us what we think is a good way to experience the INFJ door slam.

The Myth of the Good Little INFJ | marissabaker.wordpress.comA tip for people who know INFJs: If we don’t actually agree with you, or simply don’t care, we’ll typically make non-committal sounds, nod our heads, and avoid eye contact. If pressured to commit to something we don’t want to do or think, but won’t openly disagree with, we’ll try to push it off to an unspecified future date. When an INFJ actually agrees with you, we’ll make eye contact, our face will light-up, and we’ll say things like “Oh, yes” instead of just nodding. Usually, we’ll also be able to explain why we agree with you in specific terms.

Myth: INFJs are completely altruistic

One last quote from the socionics article: “watch that her emotional resources aren’t spent on her girlfriends, who inadvertently will use your wife as a psychotherapist. She will never refuse them herself, of course. Out of compassion. Therefore, it will be best if you take the matter into your own hands and limit the flow of those desiring to obtain psychotherapeutic sessions and useful advice from her.” Excuse me! What gives someone else the right to limit an INFJ’s contact with her friends? That’s the sort of controlling behavior that’s a huge red-flag in any relationship.

In addition to being incapable of taking care of herself, INFJ wives are apparently so dutiful they’ll do all the housework without any complaint even though they hate cleaning and cooking. For the record, this INFJ loves cooking and the housework doesn’t always get done in a reasonable amount of time. Also, one reason INFJs will avoid conflict and try to help people is because of how it affects us. Sometimes I do what people ask just because I don’t want to stay awake for three hours that night re-hashing every word of the resulting argument. It’s a self-protecting mechanism. That’s not to say INFJs don’t care about people — we do, deeply, and we will support our friends and family whenever possible. It’s a good thing. We can stretch ourselves too thin at times, but INFJs value their introvert time and don’t usually need someone to step in an control their lives to keep them from burning out. We’re not that altruistic.

In conclusion …

I may have dispelled some of the “mystic unicorn” aura surrounding INFJs, but perhaps that’s a good thing. Our rarity doesn’t make us better than other types, and type portraits that make us out to be something ephemeral and idyllic really aren’t helpful. As my siblings (and no doubt other people who INFJs have let into their lives) can testify, we’re not perfect.

If you’d like to know more about the INFJ personality type, check out my book The INFJ Handbook. I just updated it with a ton of new information and resources. You can purchase it in ebook or paperback by clicking this link.

Brown Rice Pilaf

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.comWhen served with a few pieces of chicken, this brown rice pilaf is one of my favorite meals. The original recipe (the origin of which I have lost track of) called for long grain or basmati rice — I’ve always used the brown rice that we keep on hand to serve with stir-fries. It has to cook longer than the original 15-20 minutes, but it’s healthy and it tastes good. There are several variations you could try on this recipe, though I like the one with basil and carrots so much that I haven’t played around with it too much. I have kept substitutions suggested by the original recipe in parenthesis if you want to experiment with some of them.

Brown Rice Pilaf

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.com
Cook the rice and garlic in hot butter

print this recipe

1 cup brown rice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups chicken broth

¼ cup shredded carrots (can substitute mushrooms, sweet peppers, or zucchini)

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.com
Add liquid, carrots, and basil

¼ cup rice wine (can substitute apple juice, dry white wine, or water)

¼ teaspoon dried basil (can substitute oregano or thyme)

½ cup slivered almonds (can substitute green onions, chopped walnuts, or pine nuts)

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. Add garlic and uncooked rice. Stir in hot butter for 3 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth, then stir in carrots, wine and dried herb.

Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Add slivered almonds and serve.

"Brown Rice Pilaf" by marissabaker.wordpress.com. For the chicken, I pour some rice wine in a baking dish, add garlic and basil, then add the chicken. Shake some basil and garlic over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese or crushed garlic and cheese croutons
For the chicken, I pour some rice wine in a baking dish, add garlic and basil, then add the chicken. Shake some basil and garlic over the chicken and top with mozzarella cheese or crushed garlic and cheese croutons