Always on My Mind: Immune health
Remember the good old days? You only thought about your immune health when the weather got cold. And if you had kids – when back-to-school season rolled around.
Then, everything changed.
Kids didn’t go to school in person, and every day became a good day to think about immune health.
So, where are we now?
If you have kids, they’re likely headed off to school this month. In-person. And, every day is STILL a good day to think about immune health.
Now, and, well, probably forever.
But, guess what? That’s not such a bad thing. Because one of the best ways to build immune health is also a great way to live.
Take Charge of Your Stress Response!
You might know it as “fight or flight.” It’s also called your stress response, and it’s designed to keep you alive! It’s a survival mechanism that initiates an emotional and physiological response to help you react quickly to life-threatening situations.
Unfortunately, your body can have that same response to stressful life events. (And we have no shortage of those, right?) All that stress takes a toll on your health, including your immune health.
So apart from moving to another planet, what can you do to alleviate stress in your life and keep your immune system strong and healthy?
Three Easy Steps
Here are three easy steps you can take today to begin moving toward a less-stress life!
- Connect with loved ones. Even if your circle of family and friends is small, you benefit from quality time spent with people who care about you. Eat a meal together. Go for a walk. Talk on the phone.
You might be thinking, “Are you kidding? My family drives me nuts!”
Here’s a tip: Focus on what you love about them. Those quirky habits you find annoying? Choose to overlook them. You might have a few eccentricities they’re putting up with, too!
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for their presence in your life, and if there’s an opportunity to hug them? Do it! Human touch (something we’ve been a little skittish about lately) contributes to a healthy immune system.
- Manage your media intake. Nothing seems to activate the stress response like consuming today’s headlines. When you do, you can pretty much count on rapidly rising outrage, anxiety, or sadness.
The antidote? Like your mom would probably say, “Make wise choices.”
For balance, find some outlets that offer positive stories. As for the daily news, choose where, when, and how often you tune in. Then, proactively manage your response. Here are some ideas:
- Is there something you can do to create positive change? Do it!
- Remind yourself that most of the things you worry about never come true.
- Meditate or pray to center yourself and calm your thoughts.
- Donate financially to relief efforts.
- Learn to say “No.” Did you find yourself living a simpler life in the recent past? (Perhaps, for example, you had to quarantine during a global pandemic?) You swore you wouldn’t return to that crazy, overloaded schedule. And yet … you did.
Some people maintain healthy boundaries with this standard response: “Thank you for asking. Let me think about that and get back to you.”
Use it when you’re asked to:
- Organize snacks for the flag football league
- Coordinate a fund drive for your alma mater
- Write the homeowner’s association newsletter
It gives you time to breathe, consider, and respond. If you can manage the task and it will add to your joy, grow skills you want to hone, or help you make meaningful connections, then say “Yes!”
But if it threatens to send your stress level soaring, don’t be afraid to say a loud, vibrant, healthy, “No!”
Lessen Stress. Start Now.
Your stress response is your best friend in a life-threatening situation. But it needs to be tamed when it’s reacting to everyday stressors. Choose one of these tips and begin today to get your stress response under control. Your immune health will thank you!
Nutritional support for immune health is always a great idea, too! Find out more when you explore our DEFEND category of botanicals!