GET BACK ON TRACK (THE HEALTHY ONE) AFTER THE HOLIDAYS!
The holidays are over and we survived! However, with the stress that goes along with the planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and worrying about family dynamics, in addition to knowing you didn’t stay really “clean” on your own diet, comes the consequences. Your digestion probably wasn’t optimum and absorption of all the nutrients your body needs just didn’t happen. Now with the let-down of the holidays being over, many people get sick. The adrenalin or cortisol your body was running on is depleted, you’re tired, and your body can’t cope. So how do you fix it?
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM!
• Number 1!!!! SLEEP. Getting at least 6 hours per night (8 is better) is what our bodies need to restore. If falling asleep or staying asleep is a problem, try not to turn to RX drugs, if possible. Even though you may get the required hours of sleep, it’s not necessarily restorative. Also, over time, the dosage becomes ineffective and higher dosages are required. There can be many side-effects, as well. Many report waking groggy and not feeling rested. There are many articles about this topic. Instead, try natural means, such as eating a handful of pumpkin seeds, drinking a tea made with certain herbs to make us sleepy, taking Magnesium capsules (please talk to a pharmacist about the type and dosage), or use an herbal sleep aid with valerian root, passion flower, and/or California poppy seed. If your brain just won’t calm down (we call this monkey brain), try Calmagen. For all of these suggestions, please speak with one of our pharmacists to obtain the best recommendation for your unique situation. Also, try taking Epsom salt baths or foot soaks and trying different forms of meditation and yoga.
• Speaking of Epsom salts and meditation, be sure to include a stress management activity every day. In addition to those 2 suggestions, also try different forms of yoga, dance, journal, do art, take a class just for fun. Chronic stress increases the risk of many health problems. If you feel you need supplement help, come into the pharmacy to complete a Stress Questionnaire and speak to a pharmacist. That will determine the best herbs to help your situation. Adaptogens, such as Ashwaganda or Cordyceps, can help - they increase your body’s ability to cope with stress, regulate cortisol production, help combat fatigue, and boost your vitality.
• LAUGH! While stress damages your immune system, laughter actually helps it! The saying goes that laughter is the best medicine, and there’s truth to that. Laughter releases dopamine and other feel-good chemicals in the brain, all of which can help decrease stress. Twenty minutes of laughter a day may not keep the doctor away, but it may help keep your immune system working properly.
• PRACTICE GRATITUDE and AFFIRMATIONS AND SET INTENTIONS. Journal or share with your significant other or other family members 3-5 things you’re grateful for EVERY DAY. It can even be that you opened your eyes and can see. Also, remember that you are a great person and tell yourself 3-5 reasons why, again EVERY day. These are good practices to do before you get out of bed in the morning and when you lay down at night. It’s also a really good morning activity to set an intention for your day and/or week. These activities really help us stay grounded and centered. This, in turn, manages stress.
• EXERCISE! Ever notice when you exercise how much better you feel? The neurotransmitter serotonin gets a straight path through the blood brain barrier while the other amino acids are busy taking care of your muscles. Walk, snow shoe, dance, go to the gym and be sure to include weight-bearing exercises. Keep it varied – it’s better for your health and you’ll avoid getting bored. It's usually many people's New Year's Resolutions, but people start out strong and don't maintain it. If you haven't been much of an exerciser, start slow and build up, both your time and intensity. Find the activities you enjoy. These suggestions will make it much more maintainable.
There are foods, beverages, and supplements that can help, as well. Check back for part 2!