With the recent changes in weather it is crucial to keep healthy and do anything possible to protect yourself from the flu. The general rule of thumb is to drink lots of fluids, get a lot of sleep and maintain a well balanced diet. With all else being equal, what about the counsellor that follows the aforementioned rules but also has a lot of stress; be it from a stressful environment, challenging clients or unsupportive peers. Even though this person is keeping healthy with a well balanced diet, getting a lot of rest and drinking a lot of fluids, they are more likely to get the flu if they have added stress compared to their peers who do not have stress. This is because the body releases cortisol, which prepares the body to either fight or flee from a stressful event. As the body is prepared for a potential threat, heart rate and blood flow increases which temporarily suppresses parts of the immune system. The more a person feels stressed, the weaker their immune system gets. If you’re an individual who experiences regular stress, here are some tips to help reduce it!
1. Get your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor. Depleted vitamin D coupled with chronic stress can result in more colds.
2. Reduce the stress in your life or eliminate it altogether. There are multitude ways you can do this: recognize what you can and cannot control, use diaphragmatic breathing to change the oxygen and carbon dioxide ratio in your body, if you’re able to figure out the triggers and cause of your stress, come up with a plan of action to address it. Set aside a time to participate in an activity you enjoy, since the FIFA games are on right now, perhaps watch a soccer match and root for your favourite team!
3. Eat a lot of raw foods.
4. Exercise regularly- if you can’t meet the recommended amount of exercising; 3 times a week for 30 minutes, try to get at least 10 minutes of vigorous exercise in daily to improve circulation of immune cells in your blood.
5. Wash your hands often.
Following all or some of the tips mentioned above will help you from catching the flu and becoming resistant to it. If you have more tips, please comment.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA