It’s cold season. The more time we spend indoors, the greater our chances of becoming sick. No, I’m not advocating that you stay outside in a blizzard, but I am recommending you do a few things to help stave off the sickness.
Apparently, adults average 3 colds per year and kids can expect between 6 and 12. That’s a whole lot of sickness, just within one family. While it may seem like a challenge, especially if you have little ones in daycare, there are a few simple things you can do that can help.
- Allow your child to build an immune system. Purell did not exist during my childhood and like most children, I was not a super regular hand-washer. I also grew up in the country, had many pets, and spent a lot of time at the barn. Also, and you may cringe at this, my father paid little attention to best-before dates on dairy products and other such goodies. I still do the same today. While this is completely anecdotal evidence, I do believe that being exposed to such things has helped my immune system to become the army that it is today (now watch me get a cold). All in all, let your kid be a kid. Eating stuff off the floor, licking toys at school, and getting into the garbage (not sure if kids actually do this, more so dogs) is likely beneficial in the long run…unless they eat raw chicken.
- Stop using Purell. Regular hand-washing does the job. By constantly purell-ing ourselves we never give our immune system the chance to practice, to exercise, to perform. An army that doesn’t get regular exercise, is a lazy, slow-to-the-draw kind of army and nobody wants one of those. My recommendation – wash your hands after you go to the washroom and before you prepare a meal. Otherwise, you’re probably good.
- Eat colourful fruit and veggies. They do your body a tonne of good.
- Forget the Cold FX. It costs a lot of money and it works via the placebo method, if at all. Don’t believe me, read this. Positive thinking, “I won’t get sick. I won’t get sick.” will accomplish much of the same.
- Drink water. Aim for the 8 glasses a day, but don’t beat yourself up if you just can’t drink that amount. Perhaps aim for one more glass than you usually drink.
- Watch your stress levels. Stress can weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to catching the virus. Baths, reading, listening to music, spending time with friends, cooking/baking, exercise, yoga, stretching, being in nature are all great ways to relieve stress.
- Exercise. After you exercise, your body goes into repair mode. Your immune system is fairly busy. Yet, this constant workload helps to make the immune system stronger and smarter. I do not, however, recommend exercising when sick. Your body is already working hard enough, let it rest.
- Sleep. Go to bed at 8:30 if you must. Sleep when you feel a cold coming on. It will undeniably speed along the recovery process.
There are likely hundreds of other possible remedies, these are just mine. As you can tell, I am not an advocate of supplements or hand sanitizer. Furthermore, I do not take vitamins. I aim to get what I need from what I eat. While many would argue that doing so is impossible, I seem to manage okay. Sickness does not visit me often (seriously, watch me get a cold today) and when it does, it doesn’t stick around for long.
Good luck this flu and cold season.
I am referring to weight-lifting position, just in case you needed some clarification…
Typically, I provide you with a Wednesday Workout tip, yet I am in need of some inspiration. I am asking you, my wonderful readers, what exercises, routines, activities you have been doing to stay fit and healthy. Feel free to comment on the post or send me an email. With your permission, I will write about your exercise/routine/activity on the following Wednesday Workout posts. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely get the credit.
The Globe and Mail is offering up some interesting exercise advice this morning – how to squeeze in a workout during your bathroom break.
I want to preface that I am a big advocate of fitting in exercise into your daily routine, but this is a stretch, even for me. Running or biking to work, walking during lunch, taking the stairs, sitting on a Swiss ball instead of a desk chair, or stretching mid afternoon are all fairly straightforward examples and less likely to result in a bacterial infection (well, one can hope). Doing pushups on the wall, right beside the urinal, is a little much.
The author of this article has likened exercise to hand-washing. It seems that both things are natural behaviours in the bathroom. Well, they’re not (well, hand-washing is fairly standard).
Personally, I don’t want to exercise in the washroom and I would hasten a bet that most of you wouldn’t want to either. And it’s not because it’s ‘weird’ (I like weird). It’s because it’s down right unhygienic and stinky.There are so many other places in the workplace to work on your pecs. The first place that comes to mind, your office. The second, the break room. The third, any wall that is not in the bathroom.
Let me restate this, I am all for fitting exercise into your daily routine, but even I have limits. Yet, if you’re comfortable with getting your sweat on in the bathroom, go for it. As the expression goes, to each their own.
Happy workout…wherever you may be!
I talk a lot about stress. Mainly because the majority of us experience it everyday in a variety of settings – in the workplace, at home with our family / partner, in the car, at the gym, in the grocery store, even at the library.
Your baseline stress level and ability to cope with everyday stressors depends on a multitude of factors – genetics, the mix of stress hormones you were exposed to in the womb, the environment you grew up in, and your parents stress habits and coping styles. As you may have noticed, there is very little control, albeit none, that you can have over these influencing factors. Yet, there is still hope.
Fortunately, our brains are very malleable and open to new ways of thinking and doing; however, it may not seem like it at first. Old neural networks are hard to break and reroute, but its possible. More simply put, changing your habits is difficult, especially if you have had a relationship with them for the past 26 years.
Researchers say it takes around 14-21 days to start and sustain a new habit. But I’m sorry, to me, the non-doctor that I am, this is a major underestimate. I’ve been working for the past 3 years on integrating stress management techniques into my everyday life. Yes, 3 years. So Perhaps I need to go back and read the fine print on that time range. Perhaps it is only for rather small noxious habits such as nail-biting or sitting with a slouched back. Regardless, learning how to and actually engaging in stress management techniques on a regular basis, so much that they become unconscious, takes inordinately longer than 14-21 days.
I apologize if this seems rather depressing. My intent is not to depress, but to enlighten. Making positive, impactful change in your life (i.e. learning and implementing new coping / stress management skills) is time-consuming, arduous, challenging, painful, and sometimes irritating, BUT the end-result is worth it.
Imagine – you spend less time fretting about whether your boss likes you and more time doing meaningful work. Imagine – you spend your evenings and weekends completely immersed in the task that you are doing, not replaying the workday’s events. Imagine – not getting angry over the cat pooping in the kitchen as opposed to their top-of-the-line snazzy litter box. Just imagine.
Now it’s important to remember that eliminating everyday stressors is impossible. They are a natural and normal part of our experience. Furthermore, it is important to discern the difference between external and internal stressors. External stressors are those that we have no control over – the death of a loved one, the loss of a pet, demotion or promotion at work, etc. Internal stressors are the stressors that we have control over – getting enough sleep, eating well, or partaking in drugs and alcohol. Making this distinction helps us to better understand what we have control over and what we do not. It helps us to understand what we can change and what we cannot. Lastly, how we view and react to those external stressors can be altered in such a way that we become better able to let things go and deal with them effectively and efficiently. This is critical for our current and future psychological and physiological health.
So how do you go about managing your stress? Watching the video posted below is a great start. I have to thank a friend of mine, Kevin, for sending this my way. Following the video, I would encourage you to start educating yourself about the consequences of chronic, unaddressed stress. I’ve listed a few book recommendations below the video
If you’re a reader, I would encourage you to explore the following books on stress management techniques:
- Spark, my favourite book on stress, discusses the benefits of using exercise to better manage stress
- Anything by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of mindfulness. He can be a bit verbose, so read what you can. I’m sure you’ll find a few nuggets. If you’re interested in other books on mindfulness, please send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lastly, if you’re open and interested, The Power of Now is a very eye-opening, yet complex read on living in the present moment. This book was life-changing for me, but his style and method isn’t for everyone.
If you have found a stress management book, technique, practice that is working for you, stick with it (and share it with us).