ADVICE: Having Healthy Holidays

Dr. Brenda Gill
By Dr. Brenda Gill
December 9th, 2015

There are many things you can do to minimize falling sick, so you can enjoy a fulfilling, restful holiday.  They don’t take much time, so try to incorporate them into the next few weeks and you’ll  be able to  relish  your time off. 

1.       Get at least 8 hours of sleep nightly.   A study found that people who had at least 8 hours of sleep per night were 3 times less likely to catch a cold compared to those who slept for less than 7 hours nightly.  Growth hormone is released during sleep, which not only boosts our immune system, but, helps repair the body.  Remember every hour before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight for balancing hormones.

2.       Hydrate well.   Drink at least ½ your weight in ounces (if you are 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 ounces or 7-8 glasses of water or herbal tea per day).   We have a shower or bath each day to remove the “dirt” from the outside of our bodies, drinking water eliminates the metabolites/hormone breakdown products and other debris from the inside.   Also, homes are typically drier at this time due to the heating system.  This can dry out your nasal passages and throat, which makes you more susceptible to viral or bacterial infections.  Remaining well hydrated moistens our mucous membranes, keeping those unwanted bugs away from our bodies.   Limiting stimulants (coffee, decaff coffee, black tea, green tea, herba mate, rooibos or Pop) which dehydrates us, also reduces cortisol, heightening  our immune function .

3.       Laugh with your friends and family.   Being around friends and positive family members  increases your serotonin, which is the  “ I feel good” hormone.  Laughter has been shown to boost the immune system for at least 24 hours!  So, indulge in a funny movie or book or enjoy a good belly laugh with friends. 

4.       Eat protein.   Balancing protein (fish, chicken, turkey, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, buffalo, lamb, goat or sheep dairy and eggs) with carbohydrates (veggies, fruit and whole grains) keeps the blood sugar stable.  This minimizes cortisol and insulin release, which helps us handle this busy time of the year much more effectively.  In addition, protein gives the immune system what it needs to fortify itself.

5.       Exercise.  Getting at least 45 minutes per day increases the activity of the immune system, so, it is more alert to any foreign viruses or bacteria.  If you are outside, you also get the benefit of sunlight , which increases Vitamin D and fresh air, heightening your immune response even more!

6.       Wipe up.  If you are travelling during the holidays, before you settle into your seat on the plane, bus or train, clean the armrests, table tray, air vent, seat belt buckle, headrest  or anything else you may contact with an alcohol swab.  Even shopping, use them on handles to washroom doors and stalls and sinks.  These areas tend to harbour germs.

7.       Relax.  Take time for a massage, yoga or meditation.  All have been shown to boost your immune system and decrease cortisol.

8.       Be prepared.  Have immune support supplements, herbs or homeopathics on hand, so they are easily accessed when you need them.  Whether it’s a non-citrus Vitamin C powder, a stress B capsule, an immune boosting tincture or a homeopathic flu kit, if you start using them as soon as you have any symptoms, like a scratchy throat every 2-3 hours, your immune system typically eliminates the germ within 1-2 days.

9.       Take time off  from work if sick.  The first 2-3 days of a cold are the most contagious, so, if you must go, stay clear of fellow workers.  Ideally, take the time off to rest, hydrate and devote your time and energy to do the things that will help you get well quickly.  Remember that feversare a good thing.  Get to bed or take a hot  Alkabath  to assist  a fever.  This will kill the germ, since it can only live at a temperature below 100 degrees F or 37.8 C.

10.   Be organized.   Make a list of what you need to do over the next 3 weeks and a time frame of when you can do them, so  you feel confident they can all be accomplished.  Drop the ones that are unrealistic and delegate those that others can help you accomplish. Then it’s just one day at a time.  Again, this maximizes our coping ability and minimizes anxiety and tension.

11.   Make some yummy treats.  These would make a lovely gift or an easy dessert to bring to a party.

12.   Thank whomever and whatever.   Take the time to express your appreciation to  people you care about, feel gratitude to the place you’ve chosen to live, the job that supports you and realize how fortunate we are. 

For those who would like more ideas of making it through the holiday season feeling fantastic or to access lots of yummy holiday recipes, visit our website at:  www.getbetterhealthonline.com

If you would like to have your immune system evaluated, your vitamin/mineral levels tested or need specific recommendations to stay well, consider an appointment with Dr. Brenda Gill at 250-362-5035.

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