Oh, no, not again. Not another cold. You just had one a little while ago. And…yes, that’s right, you had the flu right before that last cold.
Sometimes your bouts of illness all blend together; it seems like you barely get over one before the next one begins.
Your nightstand is beginning to look like a pharmacy, with countless vials of medicine and boxes of tissues crowding its top.
Although you feel awful, you push yourself hard to get through your day.
Your family needs you. You can’t afford to miss more work.
“What’s going on with me?” you wonder, “I never used to get sick so often.”
If you’ve been going full speed for awhile, feeling like you’re never caught up, and stressing about all the items left undone on your endless to-do list, there’s a good reason why you’re getting sick more often.
Your immune system could be compromised by stress.
Chronic stress can lower your immunity, leaving your immune system under-active and unable to fully protect you against infection and disease.
Catching colds easily is just one sign that can indicate low immunity. Others are:
When your immune system is degraded, you’ll experience recurrent or chronic infections. And once your immunity is weakened a vicious circle is set up: a weakened immune system leads to infection, infection causes damage to your immune system, which further weakens your resistance to infection.
As well, chronic stress depletes your body of nutrients because it affects how you absorb and store certain key minerals and vitamins, leading to fatigue, low mood and muscle pain.
Trust me, you don’t want to let yourself go into complete burnout.
Fortunately, there are steps you can start taking right away to nurture yourself and rebuild your immune system:
1)Wash your hands
The fastest and easiest way for bugs to flourish is for them to transfer from your hands to your mouth and nose. Don’t let germs get near your immune system! Wash your hands regularly. Avoid touching public surfaces like stair bannisters, escalator handrails, or – if you use public transit – the grab-poles in buses or light rail cars. And it’s not rude to decline to shake hands with or hug friends or colleagues who are sick!
2) Eat healthy foods
Though nowadays it seems like there are as many opinions about what healthy food is as there are stars in the sky, here are a few helpful rules of thumb:
Exercise – even a regular walk – improves immune system health while releasing endorphins – your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals. Exercise also helps reduce the stress that’s affecting your immune system.
“People who exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day experience a 40% to 50% reduction in the number of days they get sick,” says Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus.
He explains: Within minutes of starting your exercise routine, your body’s circulating levels of white blood cells, natural killer cells, and other sickness-fighting agents increase. And the more active you are, the more active your immune system tends to be.
4) Make time for self-care
For many of us women, taking time for ourselves can feel ridiculously self-indulgent. How is it even possible when you barely have time to get everything done for everyone else?
But the truism “You can’t pour from an empty cup” really comes into play. You can only wear yourself out and compromise your immune system for so long before your body will refuse to cooperate, and you’ll have no choice but to care for yourself first.
In fact, without nurturing yourself, you could experience the frightening effects of full blown burnout.
So, rather than let your self-care cup get empty, take time each day to play. Enjoy your hobbies. Book that spa appointment you’ve been putting off.
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Here’s the thing: it’s hard to turn around a go-go-go lifestyle, even when perpetual sickness drags you down. Yet it’s essential to do, otherwise you’re headed to burnout. So many of us women were taught to put everyone else – and everything else – first… and that’s gotta change for you to be your healthiest self.
Getting sick more often is a wake-up call to nurture yourself. To make time for essential self-care; to acknowledge your worth by changing up your priorities to rebuild your immune system and experience better health.
If you feel like you’re having difficulty taking time for yourself, or you can’t stop your slide into burnout, sign up for a complimentary Break Free From Burnout Consultation with me. In this 45-minute consultation you’ll:
Remember, I’m here for you.