Ways To Keep Stress Levels Down and Your Immune System Up
By Tiffany Paige of Green With Tiffany, Contributing Editor
It’s hard not to be stressed with so much craziness happening in the world!
No matter where you sit on the scale, 2020 was a stressful, overwhelming and anxiety-filled year. There are countless scenarios of how it affected everyone. Layer in the stress of the holidays… 2020 was a lot! Now that everyone else’s needs have been taken care of, it’s time to take care of yourself as we move into the new year.
High stress levels can have a devastating effect on your health and immune system in a multitude of ways. It is so important now more than ever to keep those levels in check and here are some ways to do just that…
You may not believe it, but if you take a few deep breaths, count to 4 while inhaling, hold for 4 seconds at the top and then exhale for 4 seconds, you can reset your body. This is one of many breathing exercises. I highly recommend adding meditation to your daily routine, but if it’s not for you or don’t have the time every day, this is a nice quick fix that can have lasting results.
The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for the “fight or flight” response during any potential danger or stressful situation. On the other hand, the parasympathetic nervous system inhibits the body from overworking and restores the body to a calm and composed state, also known as “rest and digest.” Breathing exercises can help get you there. There are a few breathing apps that can help as well, such as Breathwrk and Breethe.
We think we can get our vitamins from eating whole foods from a balanced diet, but most of us are vitamin deficient, despite our best intentions. Our soil, which usually holds those vital nutrients, is depleted; and the overuse of chemicals in and on our food play a role as well. Stress also depletes our vitamins, so during this challenging time we might need to up our intake. Not to mention we want to keep our immune system strong and uncompromised.
Vitamin C: Strengthens your immune system, lessens cognitive decline, improves cardiovascular function, reduces oxidative stress, and mineralizes bones. Numerous processes in your immune system require Vitamin C to function at their optimal levels. The powerful nutrient supports antibodies, white blood cells, and your body’s natural defense system against pathogens. Chronic stress and environmental elements produce free radicals that can wreak havoc on our bodies. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes these free radicals. Vitamin C varies by form. I happen to like liposomal vitamin C.By wrapping the vitamin in liposomes, it protects it through the digestive system and transports it into the bloodstream for optimum absorption in the cells.
Vitamin D3: D3 is the more easily absorbed and utilized form of vitamin D. A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. It strengthens and regulates immune function and combats viral infections. It is best to take vitamin D with magnesium to activate it and for optimal absorption.
Zinc: An essential mineral found throughout your body’s organs, tissues and fluids. Zinc is crucial for healthy immune function, and like vitamin D, it actually helps regulate your immune function. Zinc also protects your body against oxidative stress and helps with DNA repair.
These vitamins are a good place to start.
It is our time to rest and repair. So no matter what health concern you’re working on, sleep is going to help get you there. If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, here are some solutions.
Melatonin: In a supplement form, melatonin can be of help for short- to medium-term use if you’re having trouble sleeping. It’s a hormone produced naturally by your body’s pineal gland and an increasingly popular supplement. Melatonin is also an important energy hormone and a potent antioxidant. Melatonin helps protect your mitochondria, which generate energy inside your cells. It works synergistically with vitamin D to optimize mitochondrial function.
Reduce EMF exposure: Before starting a melatonin supplement, you could also consider your exposure to and the level of brightness of light in the blue and white wavelengths that can affect the production of melatonin. These are the same wavelengths of light emitted from tablets, laptops, computers and smart phones. You can also set your device to turn off the blue light at a certain time. Even so, no electronics in your bedroom; no WiFi, no smart phone. This is a BIG one! Many people keep them at their bedside or even under their pillow. If you have a hard time sleeping, staying asleep or feeling rested after a full night’s sleep, try removing your smart phone from your room. Your phone is constantly updating and emitting EMF (electro-magnetic frequency). EMF radiation is a silent form of stress on our body. This can definitely play a role in your sleep patterns, known as your circadian rhythm. If you need to be reachable for work or a parent, etc., try keeping it outside your room where you can still hear it if it rings. Use a nearby bathroom or in the hallway, just not by your bedside. Also think about investing in a harmonizer like those from Life Energy Solutions or Harmoni Pendant.
Tea: Warm chamomile tea has long been known for its ability to help induce sleep, as does lemon balm tea.
Essential Oils: A touch of lavender essential oil can help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality as well. You can diffuse lavender oil an hour or so before getting into bed. You can also rub 1-2 drops on your pillow, or apply directly to your feet, temples, and wrists.
Counting sheep: Instead of this old-timey method, count everything you’re grateful for as little a thing as it might be; the last chocolate chip cookie, roof over your head, comfortable bed, warm socks, your dog, etc...
Gratitude is neurally linked with happiness. Strengthen one and you automatically boost the other, so let’s leave 2020 and embrace 2021 with a calm, grounded state of mind, finding joy and gratitude in everything that we do, no matter how small.