Stress management and immunity
New year is one of the most exciting and stressful times of the year. Everything speeds up around us, and we inhale its atmosphere. It feels like we do not have enough time and this creates physical and emotional stress. When the tension takes over and persists, the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) are raised and this impairs our immune system. That is why it is very common during this period to catch a cold and feel poorly. To support our immune system, the first point would be to manage stress effectively. Let’s see the best tips on how to manage stress effectively.
Firstly, don’t overwhelm yourself, there should be at least an hour a day just for you, all others can wait or learn to accomplish themselves or their needs. During this hour to relieve stress, perhaps try the following techniques;
- Meditation – much scientific data shows that meditation helps to decrease stress levels and strengthens the immune system. 10 to 30 minutes a day of meditation practice would be a good habit.
- A warm bath before bed with Epsom salt and/or essential oils puts the body in relaxation mode and improves your sleep.
- Alexander breathing techniques and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), both have been very successful in the naturopathic practice to decrease stress levels. Among many health benefits of these practices, they may enhance mindfulness and feeling of well-being.
- Improve your sleeping habits – during the night your body has finally time to restore and repair all the parts required. This is the time also when your immune system regenerates. Make sure not to deprive your body from this need. Evening is the time for you, make it special, have a bath as explained above. Decrease the light in your home one hour before bedtime, read a book, switch off all the electronic devices at least one hour before bed and put on some light/relaxing music/sounds. Make sure your sleep time is approximately seven to eight hours which should be between 9pm to 7am. The earlier you go to sleep the more beneficial it would be for your health and beauty. Make one change at a time, choose what suits you best and make it as a habit.
- Much research shows that optimism and gratitude makes our immune system work better. Try to find 10 things you are grateful for every time before going to sleep or during your meditation routine.
- Exercise is one of the best strategies to help maintain a healthy immune system and decrease stress level. When you exercise you speed up your circulation and blood flow deliver nutrients and oxygen to all your systems which helps your physical and mental well-being. Yoga, pilates, running, jogging, gym, brisk walk etc. are all great.
- Immune support nectar recipe: Grate ginger and peel lemon zest, squeeze lemon juice, add honey to taste and mix it all together. Have a tablespoon every day with warm water at 40 degrees. No limitation - can be taken all year round.
- Eat at least one portion of fermented foods each day. Organic live yogurt, coconut probiotic yogurt, raw sauerkraut, kimchi. Perhaps challenge yourself to learn how to make sauerkraut, it is easy and cost effective skill. If you buy sauerkraut make sure it is raw and not pasteurised or even worse preserved with vinegar because this kills the good bacteria in it. The brands you can trust are The Cultures Cellar and Raw Health. Fermented foods boost your good gut microflora which helps to support your immune system, liver function, digestive juices secretion, nutrient assimilation, absorption and production of vitamins.
- Aim for five different colours of fruit and vegetables a day. Think of a rainbow of vegetables and fruit, best to choose from: vegetables (red pepper, aubergines, pumpkins, asparagus, beetroot, carrots, radishes and tomatoes), berries (strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries and blackberries) and fruit (papaya, pineapple, kiwi, pears, apricots, figs, apples and peaches). Colourful fruits and vegetables are excellent and highly dense source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which are very beneficial to the whole body and especially in supporting immune system and stress coping mechanism.
All the best!