How Not To Get Sick
My little town of Mojave suffered a terrible accident on Friday. Everyone I know is suffering. One pilot died and an aircraft that many have poured their blood, sweat and tears into is destroyed.
Emotions are high, people are overwhelmed, overworked and on edge. Being the empath that I am, I feel it. Whether you are directly involved in an experience, or feel it indirectly as I do, the combination is a risky one for our health.
My initial response, to bake (and then eat too many) cookies is only making matters worse. My tendency to put others first, coupled with my sugar high and feeling everyone’s intense emotions makes me feel like I could get sick.
I’ve compiled a list ways to NOT get sick. Some will probably fall in the, “duh! I knew that already” category, but maybe there are a couple things that haven’t occurred to you. Hopefully we can apply these techniques to get through our current tragedy, as well as make it through the busy holiday season.
1. Think Positive Thoughts
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Positive thinking does not mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.” When we learn to have positive self-talk and look at the world with more gratitude, it may not change external circumstances, but it helps us cope better. This is one way to sail through the flu season unscathed.
2. Take Care Of Yourself First
Many of us derive a high level of satisfaction from helping others. In fact, it’s proven that doing something nice for someone else increases our level of happiness. However, when you feel like you’re going to get sick is the time to care of yourself instead. If you aren’t healthy, there is no way you can continue to be there for others.
Learn to say no. Don’t overextend yourself. Rest and take breaks so you are well first, then give.
3. Eat Well
The most important thing we can do is to stay away form sugar and alcohol. Stress, and even the anticipation of stress, signals a need for increased levels of blood sugar in order to meet the needs of fight or flight. Our adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys, trigger the release of epeniphrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. These hormones help the liver convert sugar into active blood glucose which is necessary for energy production.
Sustained levels of stress fatigue our adrenal glands, making it difficult for them to produce the necessary levels of hormones. A strong craving for sugar may ensue, along with low energy, shakiness and a short fuse. This craving for sugar and energy means many of us turn to sweets and caffeine. While this immediately feels like it helps, within about an hour, we are in a worsened state, with our poor adrenals even more fatigued. Read more here.
Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. They release of sugar into the blood stream more slowly than sweets. Plus, they’re loaded with other beneficial nutrients. Eat loads of fresh garlic. Garlic is proven to enhance blood sugar control, it has anti-microbial properties and can prevent colds.
4. Get Lots of Sleep
It’s tough to sleep when we feel emotional. If our day is super busy on top of it, slowing down before bed can feel impossible. I often fall asleep with no problem, but wake up later in the night to process my day or figure out a solution to something I didn’t have time for earlier.
If at all possible during your day, take a 5 breath breather in your car or in the bathroom. Just close your eyes, draw your awareness in and take 5 deep breaths. Make time before bed to wind down. Journal, meditate, do restorative yoga, anything to help you relax and be at peace so you can get a good night of sleep.
5. Do Gentle Exercise
All we really want to do is get our blood circulating through our body. It helps cleanse us of waste and bring in new vitality and energy via fresh oxygen to our muscles. When we’re rundown and overwhelmed, heavy exercise will be too much. Consider taking an easy stroll outside -maybe even just park farther away at work or the store and enjoy the longer walk as a way to breathe in the fresh air.
6. Go Upside Down
Shouder Stand in particular, or Legs Up The Wall pose are great for boosting the immune system. Viparita Karani, or Legs Up The Wall, is the more gentle of the two. If you get that “Uh OH, I’m getting sick” feeling this is the pose to do. If you are more in maintenance mode and just feel rundown, then Sarvangasana is a good choice. Both postures calm the mind, slow the breathing and heart rate, create restfulness and help cleanse the lymph nodes in the neck, throat and armpit areas. The lymph system is a major component of the immune system and anything we can do to help them will improve our immunity.