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6 Healthy Ways to Stay Stress-Free During COVID-19

The reality of the world we live in has changed drastically in the last 90 days. And learning how to adjust to a new way of life can be overwhelming and stressful.  The Coronavirus looms heavy on our minds, and it’s important to keep stress levels under control…for our own health.

Here are some tips to navigate the quarantine way of life and remain sane throughout times of uncertainty:

1. Start New Hobbies

Keeping busy during quarantine and isolation requires some creativity. It can be easy to binge-watch Netflix to distract yourself. But the truth is, if you don’t take the time to keep your mind-muscle moving, you may face depression, weight gain, and other adverse health effects.

Take this time-out to start that new hobby you’ve been meaning to start, or even think about how you can implement a career change.

While the pandemic has halted life and has many negative effects on our lives, it’s also a time to reset and pivot, if it’s been on your mind.

2. Enjoy The Great Outdoors

Many states are advocating for outdoor activities like hikes, biking, or dog walking. If your local park remains open, take advantage of it and get some steps in to keep your body moving and get some fresh air into your lungs.

Just remember, social distancing (physically) will help prevent the spread of the virus, so if you see others enjoying nature, make sure to stay a safe distance from one another.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

With that being said, a friendly wave and a nod will do for now.

3. Maintain Social Contact (without violating social distancing)

It’s important to connect with loved ones while in isolation. Humans need each other, we thrive off each other, and we can support each other through uncertainty.

Even though social distancing is important physically, it’s even more important to remain connected to our loved ones.

Employ technology like Skype or Facetime to see friends and family that you cannot spend time with. Call loved ones and elderly family members who live alone…hearing your voice may lift their spirits…and yours.

4. Disconnect from Social Media

Even though keeping up with the latest headlines is important, it’s also important to not allow yourself to get carried away by alarmists, conspiracy theorists, and negative news.

Try to set a daily limit for social media and news information, the rest of your day can be spent on speaking directly (over the phone) to loved ones, spending time outdoors, or working on your new hobby.

5. Savor Alone Time

If you live in a household that’s full of activity, and family members, it can start to feel a tad stuffy. So instead of needing social contact, you may find that you need alone time to recharge.

So, allow yourself time to simply be alone.

It’s ok to need a time-out from a fast and busy household, not everyone gets their energy from being with others.

6. Start Eating Well

Or continue to eat well.

In order for your body to take on the new stressors of the pandemic, it needs to stay healthy—not only to cope with stress but also to keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

If you’re prone to emotional eating and bingeing, the stress of the pandemic can make healthy choices more difficult. To combat a couch-potato session, eat your meals at the kitchen table, with the television turned off.

Be mindful of each bite you take and allow your body time to digest food. You’ll find that you feel full much sooner than you thought.

In fact, if you’ve been meaning to change your diet, now’s the perfect time to simplify and eat whole foods.

Instead of takeout, for example, start cooking for yourself.

There’s no better time to kick poor eating habits to the curb than now.

7. Add Vitamins and Minerals to Your Daily Routine

Speaking of eating well, and boosting immunity, make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals from your diet, and if there’s a deficit, take some time to research and order supplements that will help bolster your health.

Supporting your immune system and overall wellness will not only benefit you physically but also mentally.

Because when you’re body feels good your mind feels good as well.

As we navigate this new world, we have choices to make. Choices that can affect our mental health, the health of our bodies, and the health of our loved ones.

So the good news is, there will be some good to come out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the negativity, take time to listen to your body, simplify your life, and tend to your needs. Doing so will make it easier to minimize the stress involved with maneuvering the pandemic, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Immune System Alerts: What Low Immunity Looks Like

Your immune system is your protection from pathogens that can lead to illness and disease. It is comprised of a vast network of organs, glands and vessels that work together to keep you well and healthy. With a myriad of different types of white blood cells, it can neutralize, kill or remove substances like bacteria, pathogens and even cancer-causing carcinogens.

The immune system helps removes toxins that invade from the environment as well as waste created by your own metabolic processes. But sometimes things go wrong.

Many factors, both internal and external, may contribute to low immunity, which may also be referred to as an impaired or weak immune system. An impaired immune system may be a result of a number of factors such as medications, poor diet or medical treatments like chemotherapy.

Immune System Alerts

When your immune system is not working well you will get sick more often. But there are different types of immune problems including the following:

  • Low or weak immune system in which one gets sick more often than what is considered normal
  • Suppressed or compromised immunity due to a known reason, such as the use of steroids or chemotherapy drugs
  • Immune deficiency happens to those with a severely weakened immune system due heredity or genetics, or may be acquired during a severe illness like AIDS

Suppressed immunity or immune deficiency conditions can be pinpointed to a particular illness, heredity or external factors like medications. But weak or low immunity can arise from a number of factors and can often be remedied with healthy lifestyle changes.

What Low Immunity Looks Like

Experiencing low immunity means that one has a poor or sluggish immune response. This can put you at risk to develop illnesses like flus and colds more often than others. But worse, it can make you susceptible to other health issues like parasitic infections and even cancer. Some symptoms that may be indicative of low immunity include the following:

  1. Frequent colds and flus occur in those with low immunity. When you get sick, your body must make antibodies to fight the bugs that cause the illness. But a weak immune system either has difficulty making enough antibodies or making them as quickly as needed. This results in you getting sick more often or never quite recovering from the previous illness.
  2. Four or more ear infections in a one-year period is a sign that your body cannot fully fight the infection that is causing the problem. Ear infections are caused by both virus and bacteria and often stem from an upper respiratory invader that is behind the bacterial or viral infection.
  3. The need for two rounds of antibiotics in a one-year period is a sign the body is not able to fight a bacterial infection without help. This may be due to a number of factors that could include lifestyle choices like a poor diet or smoking.
  4. Gastrointestinal problems often occur in those with weakened immunity. Your immune system relies on the health of your gut, including your stomach, intestines and colon. If this environment is unhealthy or compromised, your immune system will have a difficult time functioning. This is just one reason why diet and other lifestyle choices have such a profound effect on your health.
  5. Poor response to treatments for infections could be a sign of low immunity. Some treatments assist the body to fight infection so the patient can get well sooner. But if your body is not responding, it could be that the immune system is too weak to help fight the infection.
  6. Chronic sinus infections may stem from airborne substances that create allergies. But if you feel that you are susceptible to more than your fair share of allergy problems you might be experiencing low immunity.
  7. Partial or extended recovery from illness means your body takes longer to heal than the average person. When the immune system is functioning properly, the body can often fight illness and recover within two weeks or less. Taking longer may mean your body is struggling to keep up as it takes longer to create the necessary antibodies to heal.
  8. Infections where they are not commonly found may indicate low immunity. For example, a yeast infection is more common to the genital area, but may be found in the mouth (known as thrush). This happens as the infection overwhelms the area where it originates, while the weakened immune system is too sluggish to contain it. The infection is then allowed to spread and inhabit other parts of the body.
  9. Constant fatigue is common with those who have lowered immunity. That’s because your body is attempting to divert energy into the recovery process, which is why rest is an important factor of healing. At the same time, if your lifestyle is overly filled with work, stress and too much physical activity with not enough time for rest, your immune system will suffer from exhaustion.
  10. Slow wound recovery is common for those who have a weakened immune system. When we think of the immune system, we often think of colds and flus. But, when you injure your skin with a burn, cut or other wound, your body relies on healthy immune cells to fight any infection. Fresh blood is sent to the wound to carry immune cells to the wound along with nutrient-rich blood for healing and regeneration. A sluggish immune system will have a difficult time with this process so the wound may take longer to heal.

Infections, colds, flus and other types of common illness may be contracted by anyone. However, one with a lowered immunity may experience these more frequently as the immune system does not respond as it should, allowing bacteria and virus to continue to multiply or thrive. Lowered immunity can leave you open to a host of other illnesses, too, that can compromise your health even more over time.

How to Deal with Lowered Immunity

There are some things you can do to help boost your immunity such as:

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Exercise daily
  • Consume a nutritious diet with less sugar and junk food
  • Use nutritional supplements during times of stress or during cold and flu season
  • Don’t smoke
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Use stress reduction techniques

Your immune system is your protection from disease and key for good health. Incorporating more healthy lifestyle choices will help keep your immune system strong, allowing you to enjoy better health well into your golden years.

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/ 

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Keeping Balance During the Holidays

The holidays are an exciting time when we visit family and friends, go to more parties than usual, decorate our homes and, hopefully, enjoy ourselves. And too often, holiday stress gets in the way and saps our energy and health. But it doesn’t have to be like this, it is possible to find balance during the holidays and enjoy the season with some minor adjustments.

Keep Stress Relief a Priority

Stress seems to build up quickly this time of year for many reasons like traveling, family commitments and money pressures. Add extra activities like holiday parties and shopping, and many people feel under more pressure than they should. But taking time to slow down can benefit your physical and mental health. Here are just some ways to relieve holiday stress:

  • Meditate – Author Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon once said that one should sit for 20 minutes in meditation every day and when you’re busy, longer. As odd as it seems, it’s not wasting time. Meditation calms the mind and when the mind is calm, we see more clearly and manage our time better. In addition, taking deep breaths and meditation helps reduce cortisol levels so you feel less stressed. (1)
  • Exercise – Exercising just 20 minutes, three times a week increases your body’s production of endorphins that improve sleep, reduce stress and make you feel happier. Holiday stress often stops people from exercising as they begin to feel overwhelmed and busy, but just some exercise helps reduce symptoms of depression. (2) The short time required for benefits is easy to fit into a daily schedule, and the overall benefits will be well worth the effort.
  • Eat right – With holiday parties come many treats and extra alcohol consumption. But that doesn’t mean all healthy foods should go out the door! Counteract the extra holiday calories by focusing on a balanced diet. For example, make a commitment to eat a piece of fruit and a salad every day, or take a B supplement to make sure you meet your daily nutrient requirements. When you do indulge, learn to enjoy you’re the treat and don’t overindulge. Many times, our mindset becomes all or nothing, but what you eat sometimes doesn’t define your overall healthy lifestyle. Even body builders have cheat days! So, remember balance, because even small, healthy practices add up and assist with overall wellbeing.

Keep up Your Energy Levels

When energy levels sag, we don’t get everything accomplished that we’d like. This can add to our holiday stress and even make some people feel depressed. Here are some practices to keep energy levels high:

  • Energy foods – This tip goes along with a balanced diet, because the benefits of healthy foods go way beyond stress. They give us energy and help us keep a positive mood. Don’t worry about the occasional holiday sweets you eat, but do focus on making sure you eat energy foods during your regular meals. These include plenty fresh apples, bananas, fatty fish, brown rice, green tea and coffee, of course. But don’t load your coffee with sugar and cream or it will have the opposite effect.
  • Stay hydrated – Consuming extra alcohol and sweets can quickly sap energy and leave you dehydrated. Be sure to make up for it by drinking fresh water throughout the day to help your body flush excess toxins and support your immune system.
  • Exercise – This was already used for stress reduction, but exercise also creates energy. In fact, at last one study showed that low-intensity exercise reduces fatigue while increasing energy for most people.
  • Supplement – Many times we simply don’t have the time to eat as healthy as we want, and it can be difficult to consume the recommended 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. If this sounds familiar, try supplementing your diet. Some popular choices that are proven to increase energy include B12, iron and beetroot powder. (3,4,5) But be sure your supplement is sourced from food and proven to work, or you won’t reap the desired benefits.
  • Superfoods – Superfoods are a newer term used to describe foods that are packed with nutrients and energy. Some of these include berries and microgreens like alfalfa or wheatgrass. These are often sold in supplements to fill the need for our high-energy, faced paced lifestyle. Most taste good and are an easy way to get the extra nutrition for when we need it.

Enjoy Yourself

The holidays are supposed to be a time to enjoy, but too often we forget. It may take practice to learn to balance stress with enjoyment, so make a commitment to yourself to savor as much of the season as you can. Keep a diary of the fun times to remind yourself that the holiday season can be an enjoyable time of year. Here are just some ideas for holiday fun:

  • Watch traditional movies – The holidays come with their own set of movies. Some carry the traditional meaning of giving while others are just entertaining. Either way, take a couple nights during the season to enjoy movies that make you laugh or get in the holiday spirit. Invite your family or friends, or if they stress you out, enjoy your movie solo. No matter how you do it, remember to relax and all things will get done.
  • Take a holiday light drive – You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to enjoy all the holiday lights and decorations that people share. Take a drive or a stroll around the neighborhood or a local shopping area. And remember you don’t have to shop, just enjoy the festivities, grab an eggnog and relax, and remember a balanced life is a happy life.
  • Attend a holiday party – Many people attend at least one, so why not enjoy it? Try to remember it’s just a couple of hours out of your week and you don’t have to stay all night. Holiday parties are about remembering to take time for yourself, meeting friends, relaxing and enjoying the season.

References:

1 Turakitwanakan, W., Mekseepralard, C., & Busarakumtragul, P. (2013, January). Effects of mindfulness meditation on serum cortisol of medical students. Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23724462.

2 Craft LL, Perna FM. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2004;6(3):104–111. doi:10.4088/pcc.v06n0301

3 Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin B12. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2019, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/.

4 D’Adamo CR, Novick JS, Feinberg TM, Dawson VJ, Miller LE. A Food-Derived Dietary Supplement Containing a Low Dose of Iron Improved Markers of Iron Status Among Nonanemic Iron-Deficient Women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018;37(4):342–349. doi:10.1080/07315724.2018.1427158

5 Domínguez R, Cuenca E, Maté-Muñoz JL, et al. Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(1):43. Published 2017 Jan 6. doi:10.3390/nu9010043

Cindy Papp

Author

Body Cleanse and Detoxification Specialist with over 22 years experience; BSc in Holistic Nutrition, C.C.T. Colon Hydrotherapist, Cert. Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Guide, Energy Work, Reiki, Author, Holistic Health Researcher

For more information on Cindy visit https://www.springclean-cleanse.com/