The equation is simple : Holidays + Overeating + Stress + Lack of Sunlight = The Flu.
Have you taken your holiday vaccine yet? You know, the one that protects you from the effects of the holidays? Of course you haven't. No such vaccine exists.
The flu, bronchitis, pneumonia and other such diet related diseases have a season. This season spans from November through to New Years Day. It is the time of year that we celebrate, eat, drink and be merry. It's also the time of year that we suffer for it. Arguably, the holidays are a time when the body's resistance hits an all time low due to excess physiological, physical and psychological stress.
If you look at it from a natural perspective, this evolution of illness makes perfect sense. The flu and other seasonal illnesses are derived from a perfect storm of abuse to the processes of the human body. Yes, abuse. Whether we call it holiday cheer or good ol' partying, your body suffers from, and reacts to, any unhealthy change from the norm.
Researchers have found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response. The research confirms the body's ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of disease. During the holiday season we drink excessively, we overeat, we rush around, we fret, we sleep less and these enervators contribute to emotional stress. The days are shorter and so is our natural supply of Vitamin D.
Ultimately, the way the body signals us to slow down is by producing symptoms. Once the flu appears we become forced to rest and regroup. If, after recovering, we don't adjust our mode of living to one that is more sane, there's a likelihood of relapse.
Fact: There is no way to prevent the holidays, but there is a natural way to prevent the flu. The holiday season rolls around every year and while there are no vaccines created against the holidays, here are some helpful, natural and common sense ways to prevent the flu:
- Increase exposure to sunlight. Invigorating winter walks, hikes, skiing, even spending time in a natural lighted room is better than no sunlight at all.
- Keep stress levels low. There are many methods available to do this. Some include becoming still as with yoga or meditation. Others may include, prayer or partaking in something you enjoy, like a hobby. Whatever it is that keeps your mind quiet and your stress levels low, make time for it during the holidays.
- Get adequate rest. Sleep is recuperative, restorative and necessary for good health. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep can do wonders in keeping the body's defenses up against disease. Rest is the time the body uses to repair and regenerate new cells. Without rest we are stressed at a cellular level. This leaves us feeling, strung out, emotional, irritable and prone to illness.
- Notice symptoms. Listen to your body's signals, they are there for a reason. Insomnia, headache, stomachache, joint pain--these are all signs of improper eating.
- Eat light - Eat foods that digest quickly and efficiently, like fruits, vegetables, salads and soups to avoid any disruption in the gut. Practice intermittent fasting by skipping breakfast. This is a savior during holiday time and it gives the organs a much needed rest. Another tip is to eat at least three hours prior to going to bed, saving your protein intake for the last meal of the day, then rest. The body digests best when it is at rest.
Stay well and Happy, Happy Holidays everyone.