Holiday Immune Boosting

December is such an action-packed month, whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, or none of the above. It is so easy to get swept up in the energy of the season and before you know it, find yourself fighting off one virus after another and winding up spending your cherished holidays bundled up in bed instead of enjoying your family and friends. The real work of strengthening your immune system is a year-round project, but there are still some tools you can utilize to keep yourself (and your family) healthy through the holidays.

The first key to staying healthy during the holidays is to get adequate rest. Your body can tolerate straying from your routine here and there if you still give it ample time to reboot and recharge. Plan to get yourself home and in bed at a reasonable hour. Turn off the TV, put down the phone, turn down the lights and give yourself at least 30 minutes to unwind by either taking a bath, reading, or writing in a journal before going to sleep. Put your phone in airplane mode if you can, and then try to spend the first 30 minutes of the day without checking your phone. This might mean leaving a function a bit earlier or setting aside your work a little sooner but will result in you feeling more rested, less harried, and will give your body much needed rest to maintain your pace for a few weeks.

A major temptation for most people at this time of year is all the food that many of the functions focus on. Appetizers, multi-course meals, fancy desserts, and specialty cocktails are plentiful and it is natural to want to indulge as you spend time with your loved ones. Sharing food is an important part of celebration and also of human connection. Instead of just saying no to everything, create a game plan of eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables for most of the day, have a healthy snack before going to the party/dinner so you aren’t ravenous, then allow yourself to enjoy the treats that you truly love. If you are drinking alcohol, alternate drinks with glasses of water so you stay hydrated and try to limit the beverages that are laden with extra sugar or cream. Have that egg nog if you love it, but maybe only have the one. Try to stop eating well before bedtime so your body can focus on functions other than digestion while you are sleeping. Having an earlier bedtime will naturally limit the amount of alcohol you consume, as will volunteering to be the designated driver once or twice.

Luckily in Fernie exercise is one of the many ways that people celebrate winter and the holidays but it can still feel difficult to fit it in. Make a promise to yourself to prioritize exercise, setting aside 30 minutes to an hour to go for a walk/run, do a quick online workout, or go to the gym if you can’t fit in a trip to the hill. Schedule it into your day like you would any meeting or coffee date. Doing it first thing will help to set the tone for the day.

Complimentary therapies such as contrast hydrotherapy can not only help to clear our metabolites and toxins through the body’s main systems of elimination (skin, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and colon) but also actually enhance your body’s ability to fight viruses. A simple way to perform contrast hydrotherapy in your own home is to alternate hot and cold water at the end of your shower. Do the hot phase for one to three minutes and the cold phase for 30 seconds and repeat twice (total of three cycles). Additional therapies to consider are saunas/steam rooms, epsom salt baths, and deep tissue or lymphatic drainage massages. As always, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, particularly when you are doing anything that results in extra perspiration.