So where did I go wrong? What do I normally do that I did not do this time? Here are the 5 self-imposed rules I usually follow to stay healthy during cold and flu season:
- Neti, Neti, Neti! More than a decade ago I found myself sniffling through a yoga class. The teacher asked me if I use a neti pot. I had recently been introduced to the neti pot nasal cleansing system, but it looked so uncomfortable to me that my response was, “ugh, no!” And I went sniffling along my merry way. Not long after that, I was visiting a really good friend and noticed that she had a neti pot in her bathroom. I asked her about it and she told me that she uses it on a regular basis. She was getting sinus infections quite often before she started using it, but after using regularly she saw a significant decrease in them!
So, I decided to try it out! I’ll admit, at first it was really weird. But, I read an article in a yoga magazine about how to do it correctly and soon got the hang of it. I have been a neti enthusiast ever since! Not only does it cut down on sinus infections (upper respiratory infections), but it also helps to alleviate my allergy symptoms. And this is very important since I moved to Charleston, SC! I scored 100% on my allergy test here – ACK!!!
Earlier this year I stopped using my neti pot. I didn’t do this on purpose. I just got really busy and I kept forgetting to put salt in my shower – that’s where I keep my neti pot. And sure enough, I got sick! (The neti cleansing includes using a dash of salt in the pot of warm – not hot – water). Now I’m back to regular neti use and so far-so good.
- Less Work, More Yoga! At that same time I was burning the candle at both ends getting my new Well-Life Coaching for Teens and Tweens program ready. I was working 10 to12 hour days on top of taking care of my kids and house. That, coupled with the fact that I was canceling yoga classes because of the post-holiday lack of attendance, and not filling in with my own practice, caused a serious dip in my immune system strength.
There has been a lot of research, both epidemiological and physiological, showing how yoga and meditation strengthen the immune system.
And of course, even more research has shown that overwork and overtiring the body also compromises the immune system.
The moral of our story here is that overwork and lack of immune boosting yoga and meditation wear the body down and make it susceptible to illness.
- Wash Your Hands! I know that we all know this. But, here’s what I did and I’m pretty sure this was the icing on the virus cake. I went to of all things a health and wellness fair. I was networking and meeting lots of new people in the health and wellness field here in Charleston. As part of this, as is our American custom, I was shaking lots of hands. I would normally go to the restroom and wash my hands before getting back in the car to go home. But, we were running late… so I skipped it. NOT A GOOD IDEA!
Within 48 hours I was feeling that slight stinging sensation in my sinuses that precedes an upper respiratory infection. Within 72 hours I was completely sick! I had to cancel a workshop I was putting on and went to bed for 2 days.
- Get a Flu Shot! I know, this is very controversial. All I can say is that through my own personal experience and looking at the research findings I believe that it is better to err on the side of caution and get the shot. Again, I was really busy working and just did not take the time to get the shot this year. It is geared at colds and flus, so it may have saved me from this cold.
Now, if you are an anti-flu shot person, that’s okay. I understand your point of view. I think the other tips will help prevent cold and flu just as much as the shot. That said, if you are one of those people who thinks that the shot gave you a cold or the flu, that is just not the case. The viruses in the shots are “inactivated.” In other words, they cannot make you sick. There are reasons you can get sick after receiving the shot: You were exposed right before or right after your shot or you unfortunately contracted a virus that was not included in the vaccine mix for the present year.
So do as I say! Not as I do! – hee hee
I hope that you all stay healthy and peaceful this cold and flu season!
As always, I am grateful for your comments and shares!
In Love and Gratitude,