One thing I'm very conscious of, especially during the festive season, is my health and I do everything I can to avoid getting ill. After all, who wants a cold or the flu on Christmas Day?
It doesn't take much to contract germs and at this time of year, when the shops are heaving with Christmas shoppers, bacteria are easily spread. Confined spaces, such as coffee shops, where the heating is turned up and there's no supply of fresh air, are breeding grounds for germs. But by raising your own awareness whilst out shopping can really help you avoid getting ill this winter.
We all know that eating lots of fruit and veg can help boost our immunity, so make sure you maintain a good diet and include immune boosting foods such as citrus fruits, turmeric, ginger, blueberries and plenty of leafy greens. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system
It’s equally important to maintain a good level of hydration. We naturally tend to drink less in the winter, cold water doesn’t seem as appealing as a hot cuppa, but in and out of heated shops and up and down flights of stairs can make shopping thirsty work, making it very easy to become dehydrated, so stash a bottle of water in your bag and drink regularly.
Inevitably, having drunk lots of water, you'll need the toilet! Yes it might be a pain having to “go” whilst you're out, no one likes a public loo, but needs must. It's so important that you don't hold in your wee! Being dehydrated and holding a full bladder is a recipe for a water infection.
But watch those door handles when you go! Keeping a fresh supply of tissues with you can help protect those hands in 'door opening' circumstances. Hand sanitiser sprays and wipes can provide extra protection. But do watch out for chemical and alcohol sanitisers, they can be very harsh on the skin, overuse can affect your microbiome and goodness knows what's in them. Try to use a natural product if possible. Something containing tea tree is ideal. I love my Neals Yard Remedies Organic Hand Defence Spray and Essential Oil Blend. https://uk.nyrorganic.com/shop/juliegrint/product/0115/organic-defence-hand-spray-50ml/?a=12&cat=0&search=defence
Once you've washed your hands ensure you dry them thoroughly! Some bacteria can remain on your hands even after washing and are more easily spread by wet hands - it's the warm, moist environments where bacteria survive best - so take your time and dry properly. Although I'm not sure if electric hand dryers are the best method. I'll leave that up to you to decide. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/09/health/hand-dryer-petri-dish.html
Don't forget to install your personal safety feature and close your mouth as often as possible! Keeping those lips together and breathing through your nose is most beneficial for our health. Your nose is designed to filter the air as it enters your body - what do you think those hairs are for! They act as a humidifier, warming and moistening the air and remove debris, making your nose your first-line of defence against unfriendly microbes. I practise Buteyko Breathing which encourages nasal breathing to improve oxygenation of the body which can help alleviate, reduce anxiety and assist with breathing difficulties. Check the website out for more info: https://www.buteyko.co.uk
Now you need to rest those legs. You’ve walked for miles, your arms feel like they’re about to break under the pressure of those shopping bags and you can’t resist the comfort of the bustling coffee shop. That’s ok, but instead of ordering coffee why not try try a cup of tea instead. Green Tea is full of antioxidants, it's hydrating and has no calories (provided you're omitting the milk and sugar), not like that marshmallow topped - spiced - chestnut - praline - caramel - whipped cream latte!!! Or why not opt for something herbal? And if you’re looking to save a few quid just ask for a cup of hot water - it will likely be free! And depending on which shop you’re in they may even have some fresh lemon slices they can throw in for you.
And finally - keep calm. Getting stressed about Christmas is only going to lower your immunity meaning you're more likely to get ill. Take your time, get plenty of fresh air, eat well, keep hydrated and take good care of your self.
Now I can't promise that you won't get ill this winter but simple hygiene and preventative action is your best form of defence. And if you should fall prey to a pesky cold what a great excuse to fill up on mulled wine. Yes, apparently it's highly effective in fighting off colds and flu. Well, it is Christmas! 😉🎅🏽