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The holiday season is in full swing and we covered a few tips in the first part of this article. But here are a few more things that you can do to keep yourself healthy during the holidays!
Regular exercise increases the feel-good chemicals in the body, known as endorphins. It also increases serotonin levels in the brain. These chemicals, when low, cause depression and anxiety and make it much more challenging to efficiently handle stress. Moving your body regularly also helps to keep your immune system functioning at peak levels. It accomplishes this by moving the fluid in your lymphatic system. This system is part of the body’s natural garbage removal system, and that garbage is filtered out to other garbage processing centers via the lymphatic system.
Moving the lymphatic system
There are only a couple of ways to get your lymphatic system moving. Exercise, deep breathing, and lymphatic massage. If you don’t get the lymphatic fluid moving, and you’ve been exposed to viruses and germs, those little critters have plenty of time to grow and you will end up getting sick! Getting at least 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise each day can help to keep the lymphatic system clean, can effectively reduce stress, increases serotonin levels to keep depression at bay…and it helps to keep the pounds away if you’ve eaten a few too many rich goodies!
The key to getting regular exercise is to find things that you really enjoy doing. Whether that is playing actively with the kids, going for family walks to enjoy the lights in the neighborhood, or dancing around the house to festive holiday music…find something that will get you moving and be plenty of fun!
Detoxify your home
If you were to begin reading the list of ingredients on a typical household cleaner, you would probably be amazed at some of the chemicals that are found inside. Everyday products can cause huge problems for those with sensitivities, but even those who are not sensitive can be profoundly affected by long-term exposure to the chemicals in cleaners. During this holiday season, do yourself, your family, and guests a favor….throw out those toxic cleaners, air fresheners, and candles, and opt for options that are much less harmful.
There is a list of commonly found chemicals that are known carcinogens. Many of these chemicals are neurotoxins and can affect the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, liver, circulatory system, skin, eyes, and more. They are poisonous to humans and particularly harsh on children and those who have compromised health. If you’re already dealing with high levels of stress during the holidays, these chemicals can further compromise your immune system and put you at greater risk for colds and flu. Check out the handout on healthier household cleaning ideas!
Good dental hygiene
We all know that we should brush our teeth and floss regularly, but did you know that oftentimes we harbor bacteria in our mouth that can lead to colds, flu, and even more destructive illnesses like heart disease? Of course, it is important to regularly brush and floss, but one trick I have personally used with success is the practice of oil pulling.
This technique is somewhat controversial as many believe that it pulls toxins from the body to help prevent illness. Oil pulling is done by putting 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of cold-pressed sesame or coconut oil in your mouth and swishing it around for 15 minutes. I don’t quite have the same mindset about oil pulling that others have. Because of the moistness of our mouth, it is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
Food particles in the teeth
Couple that with food particles that get stuck in between our teeth and gums and begin to rot, and these toxins can be drawn into our bloodstream. Under our tongue is particularly sensitive to drawing in bacteria, as well as beneficial nutrients….just think about the many supplements that require you to dissolve a tablet under your tongue for faster access into the body. All nut and seed oils, by nature, contain properties that are very anti-bacterial and antiviral. They kill germs! So swishing oil around in your mouth (and I actually recommend doing this for 5-15 minutes) can kill those germs, which ultimately can help to keep you healthier!
Another added benefit to this is that it is the most natural tooth whitener around…and much safer than the chemical whiteners in the stores! I do this daily and it really has made a difference for me. I typically will swish some cold-pressed sesame oil for 5-10 minutes while I’m in the shower and that seems to work well for me!
Spend good quality time with people you care about
Having some meaningful traditions that allow you to spend time with the people that are most important to you in your life is a great way to reduce stress and make your holiday much more bright. And it’s truly one of the most important parts of the holiday season. It’s that quality time and sharing meaningful moments
that you will remember always. And it’s what can truly make the holiday season unforgettable. If you don’t have a few favorite holiday traditions, why not start one to make your holiday special. I’ve included a list of a few holiday tradition ideas for you to try this holiday season!
You may have read about this in our natural energy boosters handout, but it is a very important part of staying healthy, cutting cravings, and boosting your energy. A large percentage of Americans are chronically dehydrated. People on average are not drinking enough water regularly. Consuming caffeinated beverages when thirst strikes actually can make the problem worse as caffeine acts as a diuretic and can further your level of dehydration. Start your day with a large glass of water and keep some with you to sip on throughout the day.
Some common symptoms of dehydration are:
a. Increased thirst
b. Dry mouth
e. Heart palpitations
f. Fatigue, lethargy, sleepiness
What to do if you feel a cold or flu coming on during the holidays?
You’ve done your best to stay healthy this holiday season, and yet you still feel that scratchy throat starting or you suddenly begin sneezing or coughing more. What can you do to combat the beginnings of a cold or the flu?
Take coconut oil
Coconut oil is highly anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Take 1 tsp a day to help combat the bug.
Try some oil of oregano
Another highly anti-bacterial and anti-viral tool. Take 2-5 drops and allow it to sit under your tongue for 15-20 seconds, then swallow. It will help to kill those nasty germs.
Try some cayenne tea
I am a singer and actress and people always look at me funny when I recommend this, but it really works! Brew a cup of herbal tea (apple cinnamon or decaffeinate chai are the best because of the cinnamon and cloves that they have….which are highly anti-bacterial and anti-viral). Add some organic raw or local honey, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper. Honey is anti-bacterial and anti-viral, the lemon gives you a boost of vitamin C and is detoxifying to the body….and cayenne is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties!
The cayenne will be hot on your tongue…but your mouth will become accustomed to the heat after a while. You should begin to feel the effects of this in 30-60 minutes. This mixture has helped many singers to overcome laryngitis quickly!!
Use a neti pot
So, what is a neti pot? The neti pot was actually developed in ancient India as part of the Ayurvedic medical practices of the time. The neti pot looks somewhat like a mystical genie’s lamp. But it is used to irrigate the nasal passages and sinus cavities. This works to flush away allergens that are in the nasal passages and sinuses. It also thins mucus and helps to get rid of it by flushing it away from the nasal passages. Neti pots have been used as an important healing tool by ear, nose, and throat surgeons, who have patients use them to clear away any crusting mucus in the nasal passages after surgery.
To use a neti pot
Fill it with 8 ounces of warm (not hot) water. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of non-iodized salt (if you use the iodized salt, it will burn your nasal passages). Lean over the sink and tilt your head to the side at about a 45-degree angle. Place the spout of the neti pot into the upper nostril and gently allow the saline solution to flow into the nose. It will pour out of the lower nostril. If a bit drips into the throat, that’s okay…just spit it out!
After irrigating one side, gently blow your nose to get rid of any extra fluid. Make sure that you do both nostrils so that you fully irrigate your nasal passages. I did have someone ask me if it hurt to use the neti pot. The answer is a resounding NO! When you clear your nasal passages this way, it probably will feel strange at first. The only time I ever had any discomfort was when I tried to use iodized salt. It burned but was just mildly uncomfortable. Also, make sure that you don’t use water that is too hot or cold.
I sincerely hope that all of the tips, tricks, and information provided here help you to have the healthiest, happiest and most memorable holiday season ever!