Picture this classic scenario. Just 3 weeks until Christmas, and your “list” seems like it’ll never quit. Shop for gifts, clean the house, send Christmas cards, volunteer for kids’ school fundraiser, finish year end work projects, attend holiday parties. And on and on. You’re exhausted and you can’t wait for holidays.
Cut to day 2 of holidays, and you’re stuck in bed with a nasty cold. Not what you had in mind, right? Is this you?
Chronic stress greatly interferes with your immune system, and prevents your white blood cells from optimally attacking viruses during cold and flu season. Add to that stress too much alcohol at parties, not enough sleep and not enough exercise, and you’ve created an optimal environment for a cold or flu to call home.
Follow these 3 simple strategies to beat stress and prevent that holiday cold from ruining your fun.
A fascinating area of medicine, called psychoneuroimmunology, studies the way our psychology (our thoughts and emotions) affects our body and immune system. It has been shown that chronic stress disrupts the healthy bacteria in our digestive system. The bacteria in our guts have a key role in maintaining a strong immune system, and so off-setting the balance of good and bad bacteria can result in a weaker ability to fight colds and flus. Go for a product with at least 25 billion colony forming units (CFU), and that must stay in the fridge.
It is well known that prolonged exercise can decrease our immune responses. However, short bouts of exercise greatly increase white blood cells counts. Aim for 10-15 minutes per day of exercise that work all major muscle groups. Get up and do some lunges, squats, jumping jacks and sit ups. Or run up and down the stairs at home or work. Pick something that will work for your lifestyle, and stick to it over the holidays. Your body will thank you.
3. Herbal medicine
My all time favourite medicinal herb is called ashwaghanda (ASH-wa-gon-duh). It is an amazing anti-inflammatory and immune booster, and can help decrease feelings of stress and increase energy. Stress can cause a lot of inflammation the body, making it harder to fight colds and flus. Arm yourself with a good herbal product and feel amazing!