Why you keep catching colds (and the #1 way to help prevent them)

Woman sneezing
Autumn – the time of mists, mellow fruitfulness … and sneezing

So, once again, it’s the beautiful season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… And, once again, it’s the season of sniffles and lurgies …. Aaatchoo!!

The nights are drawing in, the leaves are turning …. and you’ve got ANOTHER cold! Cough, cough, sniff, sniff, bleurgh :(

You try to eat well, and try your best to look after yourself, so why oh why do you keep getting colds?!

Stress.  Pure and simple – that’s the #1 reason why so many of us keep catching colds.

Stress can compromise your immune system rendering it less able to fight off the bugs and lurgies which abound at this time of year (yes, thank you to that colleague who drags themselves into work with a really bad cold and proceeds to spread it around the workplace. Yes, thanks a bunch!).

So if you’re suffering from acute stress (e.g. preparing for a tight deadline for work) or ongoing chronic stress (e.g. grief, relationship troubles, or constant ongoing work pressures) and you’re exposed to the cold virus, then you have a higher likelihood of catching it and of it taking longer to shift.

What’s going on…

Hormones, including cortisol, are released when you’re under stress. These hormones prepare your body for a “fight or flight” response – as if you’re under attack.

Your heart rate increases, your lungs take in more oxygen, your blood flow increases, readying you to run away or go into combat. In this situation your immune system isn’t vital to your survival so it becomes temporarily suppressed.

The trouble is, if we’re constantly under stress, our immune system is constantly suppressed, compromising its effectiveness in allowing your body to deal with disease-causing pathogens.

And so many of us do live in a constant state of stress.

Work stresses, travel stresses, family pressures, just to name a few, and then we “relax” by watching the TV and see violence and injustice on the news, we watch dramas full of relationship problems, arguments and aggression and advertising is paraded in front of us which aims to sell by undermining our confidence and happiness.

All of these are pushing our stress buttons again!

It’s no wonder that we catch colds so easily! Our poor bodies are under attack from stress – add to the mix lurgies flying around, and the result = sniffles and bugs.

So we need to ensure we take positive steps to look after ourselves and to boost our immune systems. A good diet, plenty of sleep and exercise are essential.

But in addition, you can give you body a boost with … yoga, of course!

The yoga remedy

Autumn tree
Autumn is for enjoying nature’s beauty – not for sneezing and feeling grotty!

Yoga helps to boost the body’s immune system in many ways.

Yoga promotes good circulation which enables the substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and to do their job efficiently as well as bringing fresh, oxygenated blood to our organs to encourage optimal function.  It also stimulates the lymphatic system which expels toxins from our body

The long, deep breathing of our yoga practice stimulates the body’s “rest and digest” response (the parasympathetic nervous system) which ensures blood flows to the digestive, reproductive, glandular, and immune systems rather than being directed to the muscles. After all these organs and systems are much more important to our long-term survival, health and well-being than our muscles!

When we rest, our body has time to heal the damage and release the nervous tension caused by the stresses of everyday life.

What’s the #1, absolutely essential thing you can do to help boost your immune system?

Lie down and relax - This is my favourite yoga pose!
Lie down and relax – this is my favourite yoga pose!

**RELAX!!!*

This is why I always finish every yoga class with a  guided relaxation.

Your body can’t keep healthy, renew and heal itself if it’s constantly under stress.

So give yourself space to relax.  A few minutes a day. Go on, you can do it.

Yogic relaxation techniques are SO beneficial for your body and mind.

Relaxation lowers your body’s stress response; it gives it time to rest and heal; it balances your nervous system; it relaxes your muscles so you can begin to let go of chronic tension; it allows you to connect to a still, silent space within.

So, sit, or lie down comfortably NOW and listen to this 6 minute Release and Let Go relaxation.

Yes, you DO have time!

You owe it to yourself, and your loved ones (but most of all too yourself) to look after yourself.

So learn to relax and let go to release stress and fatigue, to detoxify your body and to balance the hormones you need for a strong immune system.

Nurture yourself, bring your body into balance, and nourish your mind, spirit and soul with yoga.


Over to you

What do you do to boost your immune system at this time of year? Come on over to my Facebook page and let us know.

Let me help you to help yourself

Weekly yoga classes:  press pause in your busy week with tension-relieving, anxiety-easing mindful movement, breathing and relaxation with weekly Dru Yoga classes in Southampton, and Bishopstoke (near Eastleigh).

Monthly Friday night Restorative Yoga Class: Essential Rest in Eastleigh. A unique monthly class incorporating deeply relaxing restorative yoga to calm body and mind + the soothing, balancing effects of essential oils.

Yoga workshops & events: Reconnect body, mind and soul with inspiring, calming and empowering yoga workshops & events. Expect to move, breathe, relax, open and look within. Create space, allow new perspectives.

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{Sneeze photo credit: tinafranklindg / Foter / CC BY | Tree photo credit: Stella Tomlinson – it’s one of mine!}

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