I rarely get the flu. This morning however, Facebook reminded me that 7 years ago I had to miss receiving my Master’s diploma thanks to a flu. A flu so bad that I passed out in my hallway and fell against my bedroom door handle, leaving a gash on my forehead. I went to the doctor to see what they could do, only to fall asleep while waiting. Depleted of all possible energy, I couldn’t eat or drink and all I did was sleep for days. The worst part was my parents also had it so as much as I knew they wouldn’t make it to my graduation, I held out hope for myself until right before I had to leave, then I conceded defeat.
If you know me now, this probably seems completely out of character because I rarely get sick. The reason for that is that I’ve been under Chiropractic care for 9 years now and I take care of my immune system in order to ward off the year’s colds and flu. I know what to do to ensure that I don’t miss anymore important events in life. This was the last time I was really sick. That is, until October 1, 2016. Earlier this month, I
came down with an intense cold that lingered for a week, then just as that was finishing up, I got hit with a nasty flu for another week! Two weeks of ugh.
I know what you’re thinking. “Um don’t you tell people how not to get sick?” We do. But we’re also human and we make mistakes. My mistake was allowing my immune system to weaken. How did I do that? I let stress get the better of me. Mental and emotional stress can have a direct effect on the physical body. As soon as I allowed myself to succumb to the stress I was experiencing, my immune system weakened and altered my state from defensive to defenseless. To make matters worse, instead of doing what I could to nip it in the bud, I gave in to my lack of willpower and it lingered for longer than it should have.
So what did I do wrong and how can you avoid getting the flu?
Stress: One of the biggest issues in modern day society. Stress, both mental and physical, inundates each and every one of us daily. The starting point of this whole period of being sick was my stress level. I let it get too high when I know ways to deal with it and didn’t use them. More frequent adjustments at this time can increase your body’s ability to adapt to higher stress levels. Try some meditation or just take time for yourself to rejuvenate and get back to a place of peace.
Sleep: As soon as I felt the cold coming, I should have rested a lot more than I did. Instead I went about my usual routine, rushing from one place to the next convinced everything would be fine. Given my stress levels however, I was already at a disadvantage. Next time you encounter a similar situation and you think you’re coming down with something, allow your body the time it needs to heal.
Food: Despite having studied proper nutrition, I still have moments of weakness. We went away for our anniversary before I got sick and I indulged, probably a little too much. I’m not saying you should never allow yourself this luxury, but know your limitations. I typically don’t consume certain foods because we don’t get along, like sugar and dairy. Sometimes I allow myself to have a little too much and these have a direct impact on the strength of my immune system. Sugar is especially dangerous at a time like this. Make sure you consume foods that help ward off illness and stay away from anything inflammatory.
Vitamins: I am fairly good about taking my vitamins, but I’ve missed a few essential ones for too long. Vitamin C is important daily, specifically 1000mg a day for adults. As Canadians, we also lack Vitamin D especially in the fall and winter months. I should have been taking both of these much more frequently than I was. Take some time to learn about essential vitamins that you should be taking on a regular basis. Feel free to ask either Dr. Craig, Susan or myself.
I share this with you to show that we are all human and despite having the best information, we still make mistakes. I hope you can use my recent experience to better arm yourself and to strengthen your own immune systems.