As the cooler weather rolls in, our immune systems may become more susceptible to developing an illness. Here are some basic preventative techniques one can take to minimize the chances of catching a cold/the flu:
1) Wash hands before eating meals and after going to the washroom to kill surface germs.
2) Avoid touching mouth, nose, eyes, and all other facial features to prevent the transmission of germs through mucous membranes. Mucous membranes provide a gateway for microbes to enter and infect the body.
3) Cover mouth with your arm when coughing: this minimizes the likelihood of airborne transmission of the bacteria/virus.
4) Take Vitamin C regularly to help boost the immune system.
5) Drink plenty of fluids - fluids help flush the system out and take less energy to metabolize than solids. The body is able to conserve more energy to fight off the infection when given a fluid-based diet.
6) Minimize the stress in your life. Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone" and when it is being produced long-term it depletes the immune system.
7) Get enough sleep - aim for 8 hours per night. There is nothing more restoring than a good night's sleep! The body conserves energy during sleep and this energy can be used to fight off infections and help repair the body from everyday life influences.
‘Happy New Year’ is one of the most common exchanges made at any one instant in time during the year. Certainly, as the New Year signifies a new beginning, we exchange blessings with one another and hope for the very best in the year to come. After all, it will be a great year!
The New Year itself can present us with challenges: whether it be re-evaluating certain aspects of life, going back to a regular routine, affording sky-rocketing cost-of-living prices, or keeping New Year Resolutions. Implementing changes can be difficult as well as stressful; regular day-to-day life happens and it can be easy to get caught up in old patterns and routines. It may be easier and more sustainable to start small: adopt one change before adopting three. For instance, if you have multiple New Year Resolutions, it may be best to master one first before taking on the second or third. Taking small, baby steps will prevent most of us from feeling overwhelmed and discouraged with our progress.
The holiday season is a time when, once a year, most people feel they are able to temporarily escape the expectations and demands of reality – not just for a weekend, but often for a solid week or two. The longer we escape the expectations of reality, the more difficult it can be to dive back into our regular routine. This can lead to the onset of the post-holiday blues.
Not only are we going back to a regular routine, but it may be time to separate from loved ones. A feeling of loneliness and isolation may dawn upon us. Therefore, it is important to stay in touch with loved ones as well as work on further developing our close relationships. If possible, set aside some time for family activities once or twice per week. Meanwhile, even though the days are slowly getting longer (hurray!), the winter months are now upon us in full force and this means cold weather and long nights can really put a damper on our moods. Those who are negatively affected by the long winter months may suffer
from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Fortunately, it is amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do for our mood! Being outdoors in the sunlight can stimulate vitamin D production – however, it is difficult to produce adequate vitamin D levels in the winter months and therefore supplementation may be
warranted (see your naturopathic doctor for details). Evidence suggests that light therapy, vitamin D supplementation, and exercise are effective for those who are suffering from an episode of SAD.
There are ways to overcome the SAD post-holiday blues. Let Dr. Ashley help you find your solution!
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.