Do you get sick around the same time each year? The stress of the holidays (if not carefully managed) can wreak havoc on your immune system. When you feel stressed out, your immune system's ability to fight off harmful bacteria and infections is reduced. The stress hormone cortisol can suppress the effectiveness of your immune system, and many people become more prone to a not-so-healthy coping mechanism like eating inflammatory foods, smoking, and getting less sleep as a result.
Why it Matters:
Chronic holiday stress can take a toll on your immune system. Cortisol can create an inflammatory response that causes a cascade of aches and pains. In addition, your body decreases its lymphocyte production. These white blood cells are essential to helping fight off infections, and with less of them you could be more susceptible to viruses and colds. Looking for a few ways that you can proactively combat stress this season? Follow the health tips listed below to lower your stress and improve your immune system function.
- When you’re feeling stressed out, reach for a healthy snack instead of a sugary dessert.
- Take a few minutes before bed reduce your stress by reading or meditating.
- Stay active throughout the day by tracking your steps using your favorite fitness app.
If you're concerned about staying on track with your healthy habits this holiday season, use your smartphone to help. Set daily reminders using our health tips above and come to our upcoming workshop. During the workshop, we will discuss additional strategies on how you can avoid getting sick during the holidays!
Stress and the inflammatory response: a review of neurogenic inflammation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2002