Stay Healthy–And Stress-Free–During the Holidays

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RestSome sixty percent of Americans go to work sick, according to a 2013 study by workplace consulting firm Kimberly-Clark Professional. This increases your chances of getting sick. Another new study by researchers from the University of Arizona in Tucson recently found that germs can spread through an entire office within two to four hours.

And especially as the holidays are approaching more people are stressed, leaving them susceptible to illness.

But there are things to do to keep healthy this time of year–and all year round.

Bedtime Tension Releaser: “Take time to de-stress every day, especially as you get busy near the holidays. Before sleep, set aside 10 minutes of time, once in bed, take a deep breath in and out a few times,” suggests Vivinne (Kala) Williams, who has been teaching holistic wellness practices for 19 years and recently opened Namaste Concierge, a company that provides wellness services like massage therapists, to homes and offices.

“Then tighten all the muscles in the body, hold 5 seconds, really feel the tension. Then exhale out through the mouth with a soft “ahhh” sound. Then inhale stretch fingers wide apart, toes too, hold again and relax as you exhale. Repeat 1/2 times more, if necessary.”

Make a Commitment: “During the holidays commit to an event, race or challenge that requires you to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” says Linda Okwor, fitness and nutrition expert and owner of Baby Boot Camp Los Angeles South Bay, a fitness and nutrition program for moms where moms can bring their kids.

Tell Others: Let your friends and family in on your healthy program. “People are more apt to achieve their goals when they share it with others,” says Okwor.

De-Stress Your Morning:  “Before your day starts set aside even five minutes to meditate or pray. It will make a huge difference in your level of calm the rest of the day,” advises Williams. “Simply sit in chair or floor-back straight. Take 5 deep breaths, emphasis on exhale, relax your body on exhale. Then for 5 min, simply try to keep your attention on the breath, feel the air as it enters and leaves the nostrils. When the mind wanders off bring it back gently to the breath. Or if you prefer prayer- choose a simple phrase that calms you and repeat it mentally for five minutes. Something like ‘I am blessed this day, all is well.’ End with a stretch of arms overhead.”

Strengthen Your Immune System: “Use herbs, vitamins and homeopathics. Oscillococcinum is my fav homeopathic to stave off the flu,” notes Dr. Kathy Gruver, author Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques and Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker. “Don’t forget your echninacea, goldenseal, zinc and vitamin C to boost immune function.”

Keep Stress In Check: “Decrease stress, Every time we have a stress response we decrease our immune system a bit more. Try to tame your stress,” explains Gruver. “One of the best ways to do that is by changing your language. When you say something ‘I hope I’m not getting sick, oh geez I think I’m getting sick,’ you are actually depleting your immune system and essentially programming yourself for illness. Change your words to ‘I am healthy and well. My immune system is strong.’ We can change our physiology with our words.”