Are You feeling rundown or lack energy?
Need to boost your self-care?
Are you dealing with chronic illness and want to do all you can to help your body heal?
As a health coach, I work with all types of health issues, particularly long-term illness or chronic conditions. Below I hope to explain a little about the importance of the immune system and what it does, followed up by my top 5 things that can cause the immune system to be out of whack as well as 5 things you can do to bring it back into balance.
Three things your immune system is doing for you without you even knowing
- It is fighting disease-causing germs (pathogens) like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and constantly removing them from your body
- It is recognising and neutralizing harmful substances from the environment.
- It is fighting disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells.
What is the job of the immune system?
The immune system is there to protect us from harmful substances in the outside world entering our bodies and making us ill. Pretty cool huh!
If our immune system is working correctly (Yay) it fights off these unwanted invaders. However, if, for some reason, our immune system is not working correctly, we get sick (boo).
Understanding my immune system
It may be that you have an underactive or overactive immune system.
If your immune system is overactive you may develop autoimmune diseases like; Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid disease, and more.
You may even develop allergies to foods, medications, stings, or be susceptible to hives, hay fever, dermatitis, and eczema.
If your immune system is underactive or you have immune deficiency this means your immune system does not function correctly and can make you vulnerable to infections and potentially be life-threatening.
This can sometimes be caused by other viruses such as HIV/AIDS or certain types of cancers such as Kaposi Sarcoma.
5 things to do to strengthen our immune system
In an ideal world stress isn’t the bad guy. It can help us out of dangerous situations, or give us the drive we need to complete that unfinished project.
However, when stress becomes a daily occurrence and continues for long periods of time this then starts to have an impact on our nervous system.
Instead of being in the natural calm state (sympathetic system) we are switching into that fight or flight mode (parasympathetic nervous system) more often. This causes the blood pressure to rise, the heart rate to go up, our digestion gets stuck, we may even get body or muscle twitches, and ultimately our Immune System takes a big nose dive.
HOW TO COUNTER IT
Use the power of the Breath: Find a comfortable seat, sitting with a straight spine, and begin to take long slow breaths, breathing in (Maybe to the count of 4 or 5) and then breathing out (to the count of 5 or 6). Encouraging the out-breath to be longer than the in-breath will immediately start to put you back into a more relaxed state.
Use alternate nostril breathing: Close one nostril with the thumb and breath in through the other to the count of 4, then close the opposite nostril with your middle finger and breath out for the count of 4.
You can develop this technique by taking longer breaths in and out and also holding at the top of the breath for a few counts before letting the air out.
(Repeat both these simple techniques for 5-10 minutes every day, either in the morning as you wake or at the end of a long day.)
This plays a massive part in how our immune system works.
It’s vital for us to get enough sleep as this is when our bodies go to work and do important maintenance and repairs, both on our bodies and organs and also our minds.
This means we can wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.
HOW TO IMPROVE IT
+ Optimum sleep is somewhere between seven and nine hours, this will vary from person to person. But make sure you always get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. (there’s no such thing as catching up on lost sleep)
+ Go to sleep at the same time each night. It’s important we tap into our body’s natural circadian rhythm or better known as our body clock.
+ Sleep with a window open. When we sleep it is thought that dioxide levels go up in the room, keeping the window open helps with airflow and therefore a more restful night’s sleep.
+ Get into a good sleep routine. Sign up for my newsletter for my top 7 tips to a better night’s sleep
EAT THE RAINBOW
With modern-day diets, more processed food, and fast-food chains, we run the risk of missing out on vital nutrients through our diet. You’ve heard the saying we are what we eat, well this couldn’t be more true with a massive amount of today’s illnesses and diseases coming from poor diets and lack of vital vitamins and minerals.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
+ Eat the rainbow
We all know we should eat lots of fruits and veggies. A good way to make sure you’re getting all the key components is to have as many different colors on your plate as possible.
+ Try using essential oils. Either topically, in a vaporizer, or internally. Good essential oils to stimulate the immune system are: Oregano, cinnamon, frankincense, Tea tree, lavender.
**Please only use oils internally if you have advice from a trusted oils practitioner. I only recommend high-grade oils such as Doterra.
+ You should always be able to get your nutrients and minerals from your food, but if you don’t or you know your body needs more of something, you can always supplement your diet. Good immune-boosting supplements are: vitamin C, vitamin D3, Zinc, Selenium, beta-glucans, Maitake mushroom powder, elderberry.
No matter what type of exercise floats your boat, whether it’s running, swimming, yoga, lifting weights, or playing your favorite sport, Just make sure you are doing something and aim for at least 3 times per week. Ideally, 2 of those times should get you to break out into a sweat.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
+ Create an exercise plan. One of the biggest reasons we fail here is the lack of structure. Create an exercise schedule and put it in your diary… and make sure you stick to it 😉
+ Use all the free resources that are now available on the web, and create a dedicated workout space in your own home.
+ Book in for a free discovery call here and see how a private yoga teacher or health coach could help you reach your goals.
LET GO OFF THE STIFF UPPER LIP
Emotions… How can my emotions affect my immune system hear you say?
Well, there’s more evidence coming out all the time to show the direct link between the two.
Feelings of anger, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and depression all contribute to the health of your immune system.
CRY IF YOU WANT TO
+ Holding on to your emotions is so 1960, the days of keeping a stiff upper lip are well and truly gone.
I invite you to have a good old cry. Think of it as crying therapy. When we cry we are actually relieving our body of toxins and hormones that contribute towards elevated stress.
+ Give those feelings of anger or frustration a place to go. Scream into a pillow, take up boxing, begin to write a journal, or take time to speak to a friend, family member, or healthcare professional about your frustrations.
To take a closer look at your personal health book a FREE discovery call with me to see how I can help you on your wellness journey.