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Ten Tips for Staying Healthy Through Cold and Flu Season

  1. Get regular sleep. The body repairs and renews itself during sleep and the immune system has a chance to do its best work during rest.  Extra sleep at the beginning on a cold or flu can be key in shortening its severity and/or duration. Warming socks (see reverse page) are a great way to boost immunity and get extra sleep!
  2. Reduce stress.  Cortisol, the hormone released under stress, has many effects, including dampening the immune system’s response.  This effect is why people tend to get sick after a stressful event or with an increase in stress.  Use whatever methods work for you, including exercise, meditation, friends, art, and try new things.
  3. Exercise regularly. Exercise comes in many different forms and you need to use one that works for you.  Exercise can relieve stress and improve circulation and mood.   (Don’t push yourself in outdoor activities if the weather is particularly bad.)
  4. Reduce exposure to air pollution.  This may mean quitting smoking or avoiding smoke.  Cigarette smoke is particularly hard on the lungs and the chemicals in smoke impair immunity and are another burden for the body to detoxify. You may also want to check your house for mold and other indoor air pollutants, or try washing out your nose and sinuses with a Neti pot to reduce buildup of irritants and allergens.
  5. Breathe into your abdomen with your diaphragm.  Deep, rhythmic breathing puts your nervous system into a restful state, which will reduce stress, improve immunity, and provide greater mental clarity.
  6. Limit dairy, wheat, junk foods, and sugar.  These foods in particular cause mucus production and depress immunity.  A whole foods diet is your best bet, especially with warm, cooked foods as the weather gets colder.
  7. Take a high quality probiotic.  Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria in the intestines that provide one of your first lines of defense and a huge portion of immunity.  Make sure the product has lots of live bacteria.
  8. Maintain proper elimination.  Proper elimination will reduce the toxin buildup, and is supported by drinking enough water every day and eating whole foods rich in fiber.  Proper elimination also includes letting go of mental stressors, old emotions, and the household clutter.
  9. Do daily shower hydrotherapy.  End your shower with a cool spray starting with your extremities and ending with your torso.  This will invigorate you and boost your circulation.
  10. Resolve old grief and let go of old attachments.  Grief is the emotion associated with the lung, and unresolved or unexpressed sadness can block the lungs energetically, which can lead to less than optimal physical functioning.  Grief also depresses immunity physically through connections among emotions, the nervous system, and the immune system.
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