I’ve had two colds this season. Before this season I’ve had ZERO colds for many years. What’s changed? My acupuncturist, holistic doctors and a little self-reflection have shined a light on what habits can make or break our immune systems.
1. Finally Decide Against Extreme Stress . Duh. Did I really need to write that? We all know this, so let it be a reminder: Stress kills. Stress weakens. Stress opens your up to all sorts of infection and imbalance. Don’t just “cope” with stress, actually confront it at its source. Stressful job that’s breaking your spirit? Either dig into solutions to decompress your workload or find a new job before you leave this one, preferably, to avoid jobless stress! Overworked? Can you hire a temporary assistant? Really toxic relationships? Confront & deal with them. Generally speaking, “extreme stress” situations don’t go away on their own!
2. Get Enough Sleep…Early. My acupuncturist told me that I would heal much faster if I went to bed before midnight and preferably before 11pm. I know that this is not feasable for some of you, but if it is, give it a try! Here’s why. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, your organs rest and rejuvenate at different hours of the day. The chart I found & pasted above breaks it down. Stay up till 2 and your liver won’t rest properly, nevermind your gallblader! On the same note, I was advised to eat breakfast at 8 or 9am in the morning when the stomach was “waking up”… Very interesting, indeed!
3. Do Not Skip Meals. If you wait until you are starving to eat, you have waited too long! You are compromising your metabolism, your brain power, your personal energy & your immune system if you “starve” for no good reason (same with weird crash dieting) and, especially if you do it often: bad news!
4. Keep Your House Clean & Free Of Antibacterial Stuff. When I was a baby my mother antibacterialized everything near me. As a result, I got unexplained rashes and had a compromised immune system. That was my first clue that too much was too much. This article presents compelling reasons to stop using chemical-rich “antibacterial” products. Washing your hands with regular soap and water after you are around lots of people is a good thing… but overdoing anything is bad! Cleaning your home frequently without chemicals (!!!) is another way to keep your “strong & healthy” vibes stronger and healthier!
5. Don’t Let Your Mind & Body Get “Soft”. Its a funny thing. Some people have sniffles for half a day & then they are fine. Some people get a small cold that knocks them out for a week. While there are lots of reasons why we are affected differently by the same germs, cultivating a strong mind that is pro-health will actually help you tremedously. Some studies suggest that meditation and even exercise can fight colds and flu. I do a lot of Buddhist chanting when I feel a cold coming on. This season, I did less rather than more when I felt a cold coming on. Of course, that’s because I was going to bed late, sleeping less and forgetting to eat. (!!!) So… off I go to chant! Whether its trying some meditation, yoga or a taking a regular walk, mind-body medicine is very, very real.
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