Holiday health – As we enter the cold & flu season, understand that it is more than just a coincidence that this “season” is in and around the holiday season. A time when we typically lose track of healthy habits, i.e. crazier schedules, parties with more unhealthy foods, late nights, alcohol and high stress (both positive and negative). Being out of our normal routines can cause stress, and a greater tendency for our immune system to break down and be less able to fight viruses and infections.
Although there are natural remedies to help with the effects of cold and flu, their value is diminished when we are not engaging in lifestyle habits that support and enhance immune function day in and day out over the course of our lives. Even if you are choosing to get a flu shot, it is still your own immune system that has to utilize the vaccination to help heighten its defenses against that specific strain of virus, ultimately still requiring a healthy functioning natural immune system.
Learn how to not only boost but also optimize your body’s natural defenses.
- Feed your body and immune system higher amounts of fibrous produce that is nutrient dense.
- Hydrate with water to detoxify, filter and help with elimination.
- Reduce or eliminate processed, sugary and chemically laden foods on a daily basis. (Save those foods for the 1 or 2 meals out per week that many of us engage in during the holiday season.) Stop poisoning your body and overwhelming your immune system!
- Plan ahead. If you know you have a holiday event one day, splurge then, but be ‘spot on’ with your nutrition the rest of the week.
- Plan ahead and set boundaries for yourself so you are not being spread too thin.
- Save vacation days to take during the holidays so you have some time to help you get the extra things done.
- Work on breathing exercises, meditation and relaxation techniques to help temper stress. They can be done even for just a minute here or there during the course of the day and pay high ‘stress-tempering’ dividends.
- Schedule exercise into your week. Look to see where you’ll have a little window of opportunity to fit in some exercise. If you have already invested the time into being physically fit, it won’t take much time to maintain that during the holidays. Exercise has shown physiologically to be one of the greatest therapies to temper stress hormone output. It’s just too important to neglect!
- Rest and sleep are critical to optimize the immune responses in the body. Deep sleep is when the immune system recharges most intensely. Ignoring the body’s need for sleep combined with the holiday stresses sets you up for a greater risk of being sick and having lowered immune function.
It’s a vicious cycle that has then been created if you become sick,
because then there is less time to get the Holiday check list completed
which creates even more holiday stress!
Optimum immune responses are based on lifestyle choices within the Triad of Health (Nutrition, Mental state and Reconditioning). For a healthy & happy holiday, think about what you are putting into your body, what is your state of mind, are you getting adequate rest and relaxation and are you making time for physical activity.