It seems like everyone is catching a cold or flu now that we are in the middle of winter. If you have children, they seem to pick up every single virus going around school and bring it home, then your employees or workmates are away on sick leave, and everyone is always talking about the latest ‘flu that’s going around’. Is it possible avoid the flu season and stay healthy all winter?
Are you healthy or sick?
How do you define yourself when you have a cold? Do you say that you are ‘sick’ or ‘healthy’? I’m guessing, like most people, you will say that you are ‘sick’.
But here’s the thing. We catch cold and flu viruses all the time but usually our first line of defence takes care of it and we don’t even know about it. When we actually start to feel the symptoms of a cold or flu, it’s our second and third line of defence working hard to get rid of the virus. This is a good thing – even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time. It means our immune system is working as it should be. Sometimes a simple mindset shift is all it takes to embrace the cold you have.
Do we catch colds from others?
It’s easy to have the belief that we get sick by coming into contact with sick people. But if that were the case people in the health profession would be catching every cold that came into the hospital. We come into contact with bacteria all day long, but we fight most of them off. The trick is to make your immune system strong enough to deal with it. Your immune system is related to digestion. If you have digestive issues, then your immunity will also be at risk.
What role does stress play in staying healthy?
When we have a lion in front of us, our bodies go into fight or flight mode and our bodies react accordingly. Everything that is not essential at that moment is suppressed. It won’t spend energy on things like healing, digesting, or repairing etc. However, in modern society, our bodies can’t tell the difference between a life-threatening event or something like a work deadline or getting stuck in traffic and being late to a meeting, so it reacts the same way. When we have dozens of these stressors every single day, our bodies simply can’t work the way it’s supposed to because it is constantly in fight or flight mode.
How can you improve your immune system?
Here are my top 4 tips for building up immunity during winter:
- Manage your stress levels
If you are stressed out, try meditation, see a counsellor or therapist to talk about what is stressing you or try reading personal development books. Self-care is essential, but if none of these things work for you, then consider taking yourself out of your stressful environment. Your body will thank you in the long run.
- Eat well
Focus on whole foods. Add more protein, fats, and vegetables and less sugar. Your body needs fuel from healthy foods to improve your gut health and digestion. If you don’t have time to cook from scratch every day, try batch cooking it on the weekend and keep meals in the freezer to eat during the week when you are busy.
Exercise in moderation is great for your body in general but it helps your immune system as well. Getting outside for a walk during winter will help you to get some much-needed vitamin D and breathe in the fresh air!
Visiting a chiropractor is really good for your brain and your body and it will help take you out of the fight or flight state which is essential when building up your immune system.
Over to you, do you think you are sick or healthy when you have the flu? Comment below with ONE thing you are going to do to build your immune system this winter.