Boosting Your Immunity and relieving stress during Lockdown
The one thing about these unprecedented times is that we are all united in experiencing uncertainty about the future. Our Immune system is at risk of taking a battering at the moment. Many things from stress to poor nutrition can suppress our immunity thus exposing us to being more susceptible to illness. But we can really help to boost our immunity with some very simple adaptations to our daily living and predominantly, by being kind to ourselves.
None of us sadly have a crystal ball to determine tomorrow’s update, let alone where we will be in 6 months time so it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and low. We are out of control and as humans, we don’t ‘deal’ with this very well.
But knowing that we are all in this together and that we all (largely) are governed by the same rules, can help. Seeing the Nation unite in our bid to beat this virus is tremendous. The things people are doing to raise money for the NHS is amazing – it helps to make us feel ‘together’ even though sadly ‘physically’, we are not.
But I can’t help feeling that we are overly exposed to people ‘achieving’ daily and there is a danger of ‘bandwagon’ mentality. What I mean is, that seeing people achieving is fabulous (especially for such worthy causes) but it can also bring pressure. Remember you don’t NEED to run a marathon, to start that new form of exercise, to write a book, etc etc – Just committing to clapping every Thursday night at 8pm, for example, shows support and praise for all our frontline workers. It is enough. Don’t put yourself under pressure by feeling the need to do something new or different. Just keeping you and your loved ones safe is enough.
Sleep is known to restore and rejuvenate you. Reduced sleep leads to increased inflammation, hunger and adrenaline and a decrease in cognitive function, memory and tolerance – Tolerance is (something we really all do need during this time!)
In addition, sleep loss is associated with damaged telomeres which is a key sign of cellular ageing and it also negatively impacts the microbiome (see following)
So yes, it is quite tempting to stay up late to binge watch the latest box set but if you are anything like me, I never sleep in. If you have had a rough night, try and get a ‘nana nap’ in during the day – I appreciate not possible if you are working or have young kids. So try and keep to your normal bedtime routine – go to sleep at the same time and get up at the same time
The Gut and diet
As gross as it may sound, your gut is inhabited by massive populations of different bugs – bacteria, fungi and parasites – that in total weigh about as much as the human brain! This hidden world is our microbiome. These bugs interact with our body and the food we eat. If we treat these organisms poorly, they can make us feel depressed and anxious but if we treat them well they can lighten our mood. If we are feeling low, or tired, it’s very tempting to reach for those refined and highly processed foods and alcohol but colourful plant-derived foods rich in fibre such as fruits, vegetables and legumes nourish our gut bugs, sending flashes of information to the brain saying all is ok! (Dr Rangan Chatterjee- The Stress Solution)
Immunity increasers – Black Garlic, Ginger and Green Tea
Immunity depleters – Sugar – We should also minimise sugar in the diet. Did you know just 1 teaspoon of sugar a day reduces the immune system by 50% for 5 hours! (Lorraine Perreta – The Advanced Nutrition Programme) We have something called ‘macrophage’ in us that reach out and ‘grab’ bacteria and infection and disperse them. Sugar breaks down the ‘sticky pads’ they have that grab these nasties so keeping sugar to a minimum is sensible here. And what sugar does to the skin….well I will leave learn about that on one of our vlogs (see Instagram details below)
We are told to eat our’ 5 a day’ to ensure good gut health. In reality we should eat 15 a day! But let’s face it, this is nigh-on impossible. We can improve our immunity with supplements like “Immunity Intelligence” – from The Advanced Nutrition Programme. This succinct series of immune-supporting nutrients of vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, as well as folate, iron, selenium and zinc are united together in daily-dose pods with five capsules and tablets. It also includes Colostrum in double dose – the antibody in our first line of defence (£63 – works out at just £2.25/day – and more nutritionally better than that coffee!) email email@example.com order
Wow! Just how many online workouts are there at the moment? It is fantastic that fitness professionals are offering all kinds of free workouts for all levels and ages. Exercise can help to relieve stress, tone muscle and increase flexibility, as well as increase blood flow to your skin ( I am a complete believer in skin renewal via oxygen circulation btw!).
But… and there is a BUT… it can be tempting to over exercise during this time as we simply have so much time to fill – we could be in danger of overdoing it. In fact, Liverpool Hope University has just launched a statement in which they warn that doing too much exercise means you’re putting yourself at risk of injury and as a knock-on effect – illness. That’s because when you’re injured, your immunity is lowered so it will struggle to fight infections. Not great timing considering the reason we’re all in lockdown is because of a highly infectious virus.
“The science behind exercise and immunity involves the complex interaction of a number of different cells, including immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, which can help identify a virus,” explains Dr Matthew Jackson, a lecturer in Sport and Health Science at the university. “Prolonged bouts of vigorous aerobic activity could actually lead to immunosuppression as these cells are redistributed and diverted to key tissues and organs that are active during exercise.” Which basically means that too much of a good thing could be compromising your immunity. (Harpers Bazaar)
My advice is to mix it up – if you feel compelled to exercise twice a day just do one CV session and something like yoga or weights at the other. Making use of our daily allowance of getting out for exercise for an hour should be made the most of
Routine and Organisation
The first 2 weeks felt a bit like a holiday and routine went out the window. Yes – we had no time pressures and could do anything at any time (as long as it was mainly confined to our own 4 walls)
I hadn’t quite realised how I actually loved routine though, until now. And, the same goes for my teenager who couldn’t wait for remote learning to start again after the Easter holidays. She is is lucky to have this facility as I am to have my work as a focus. I feel for those who are trying to amuse little ones and home school while trying to work themselves sometimes. So this is why a bit of organisation is really key now. There are several blogs/articles out there but if you need support , head over to https://www.blissfullyorganised.co.uk/blog-blissfully-organised-decluttering-home-organisation-tips-news/
The Power of Touch
I did my final major project on ‘the power of touch’ when completing my college course (many years ago!) Studies confirm the primal importance of physical touch in that is reduces the feelings of social exclusion – Don’t we know how painful that can be now – especially if you are in isolation. A lack of touch can be a physical stressor. A hug goes a long way but the same goes for ‘stroking’ which is primal, and not learned. Mothers intuitively caress their babies this way as you would a pet too. If you live alone and without a pet, simply applying cream, oil or moisturiser can be so soothing – try a mini facial with a massage (we can help with this)
Outside of our own households for the foreseeable future, we need to replace human ‘touch’. Feeling the grass under your feet and just being ‘in’ nature may help. Reach out to people – Pick up the phone and talk, rather than text during these times. A voice may not replace touch but it helps someone to know they are in our thoughts, and we them.
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