Do you find that you are more likely to get sick during the change of seasons? There is some truth in the explanation that when the weather changes, your body goes through an adjustment phase, during which you might feel more tired or rundown, leading to a weakened immunity. According to Chinese medicine, our life energy (‘chi’ or ‘qi’) is directly linked to the environment around us. An acupuncturist or doctor of Chinese medicine will often tell a patient to come in for maintenance when the seasons are about to change to re-balance the ‘qi’. This strengthens immune defences and therefore the ability to fight off those nasty office bugs that seem to rear their heads as the seasons change.
From a slightly more western point of view, this is the time to up your intake of vitamin C, down the echinacea and boost the friendly flora of your colon.
Many of us have deficiencies that only come out when we put our bodies under a little too much stress. While stress is par for the course for PRs, pushing ourselves that little bit further as we feel the pressure to navigate an overloaded diary should be handled with care. Remembering to look after your immune system so that you can tackle the coming weeks with your health in tact is the way forward.
To create a defence shield against the office germs, try one or two of these preventative measures. None of them are unattainable and they could make all the difference when it comes to staying on top of your game.
Wash your hands!
What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office? Switch on your computer then head for the coffee machine? STOP! First you need to reach for the soap. Hand washing is the single most effective way to stop the spread of infection. Simple!
It’s probably not the best time to join a gym, so start small and build up. Take regular breaks throughout the day and move around as much as you can. Exercise will release endorphins, which will boost the immune system and keep you fit and healthy.
Try something herbal
If there was ever a good reason to plunder the depths of nature’s bountiful treasure chest, now would be the time.
Studies suggest that taking echinacea at the start of a cold reduces symptoms twice as quickly as when not taking it. Worth a go!
Make a switch
Think about the little ‘afternoon treats’ that you indulge in – could they be healthier? Try to forgo sugary drinks and sip on some aloe vera juice, which has potent antibacterial and antiviral properties. Switch the M&Ms for a handful of brazil nuts instead. They contain a great combination of immune-boosting nutrients: vitamin E, selenium and B vitamins.
Look after your gut
Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t always possible as party season approaches and your stomach will be the first to let you know! A period of unhealthy nutrition will compromise the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut and your immune system will go down. Recent studies show that taking a daily probiotic can help rebalance the good bacteria in the intestine and prevent cold and flu-like symptoms rearing their ugly heads.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep deprivation alters immune function so make sure you’re getting enough zzz’s. Try going to bed just 20 minutes earlier. It’ll boost your defenses, help you think more clearly and put you in a better mood to enjoy all those social events.
What are your tips for staying healthy? We’d love to hear.