Cough, cough, *sneeze*

Cough, cough, *sneeze*

Cough, cough, *sneeze*

Flu will...flu will...rock you!

Flu will...flu will...rock you...rock you!

Do you get sick every winter?

Scared to miss time at work because of illness?

Want extra protection when surrounded with germs at the workplace or home?

We usually never think about our immune system until it is too late! The key to the healthiest fall and winter season is preventing your internal armor from giving out.

Cold and flu season falls right smack in the middle of the holidays and is characterized by cold temperatures, less physical activity, less sunlight, less sleep, more sugar, more alcohol, more stress, and each one of these factors is another chink in your immune armor.

During this article you will be introduced to the 7 S's for Natural Immune Boosting!

#1 Stress

The average professional experiences 17-31 stress responses per day. This number sky rockets during the holidays and toward the end of the fiscal year because of more spending, gifts for others, extended time with family members, lots of travel and increased work pressure. The stress response also referred to as fight-or-flight initially elevates the immune system to protect us against animal bites and weapon wounds, but becomes suppressed with chronic exposure. Notice how many professionals get sick when they go on vacation or take a work break...this is because the high stress level leading up to the trip lowered the body's security system against germs, bacteria, and viruses.

Stress Solution: Alternate Nostril Breathing

Breathing exercises are very effective at lowering stress levels when used regularly. Not only is oxygen kryptonite for the stress hormone cortisol, but breathing through the nose stimulates nerve endings (connected to nose hairs) that slow stress by activating the Rest-and-Digest branch of the nervous system. Performing alternate nostril breathing stimulates both hemispheres of the brain and distracts the professional from the negative/stressful thoughts that instigate stress while they concentrate on breathing through one nostril at a time. Here is how you perform alternate nostril breathing:

1. COVER your RIGHT nostril and EXHALE out your LEFT nostril

2. INHALE back up your LEFT nostril

3. Switch the nasal covering and EXHALE out your RIGHT nostril

4. INHALE back up your RIGHT nostril

5. Switch the nasal covering and EXHALE out your LEFT nostril

6. Continue for 2+ minutes

#2 Stinking Thinking

The average professional has 68,000 thoughts per day and the majority of them are negative, fear-based and self-limiting. Thoughts lead to stress because the stress response is activated by how we perceive the events, interactions, and circumstances of our life in the past, present, and future. The amazing field of psychoneuroimmunology proves that your thoughts and emotions have a physical impact on your nervous and immune system. These results from a 1997 study from the HeartMath Institute show how the immunoglobin A concentration levels which are higher around the body's orifices (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, anus) is suppressed for up to six hours after only five minutes of anger (substitute any negative emotion here)!

Stinking Thinking Solution: Powerful Questions

Professionals do not need to be victims to the negative thoughts from a runaway mind or need to accept them as fact. When experiencing stress-inducing thoughts, pause and look at them not from them. If you notice a thought that does not support you in the creation of the life you want personally or professionally, ask yourself a powerful question about that thought like:

Do I know this to be 100% fact?
What is the best/worst thing in the world that can happen?
How can I respect myself or the other in this situation?
Will this matter in 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, or 1 year?
Can I put myself in the other person's shoes?

#3 Sleep

It's a paradox, our days get shorter and there is less sunlight in the fall and winter, but we somehow still manage to get less sleep! The average professional only gets 6.5 hours of sleep per night and those that get under 7 hours of sleep are 3x as likely to get sick or ill. Lack of sleep is stressful to the body and minimizes our physical repair while increasing the build up of inflammation. Not only is the number of hours of sleeping important, but so is your bedtime. The optimal time to be sleeping is between 10:00pm to 10:30pm and an easy way to boost your immune system is to regularly hit this target. Also on any night you are feeling like you are coming down with something take naps and hop into bed 30+ minutes earlier!

Sleep Solution: Legs Up The Wall

To help you calm your mind and body before bed try the yoga pose legs up the wall for 5+ minutes before bed. This simple exercise can be very effective in supporting you to begin moving your bedtime back at 15-minute increments until you are regularly asleep in the optimal time range.

#4 Stomach

90% of your immune system comes from the health and function of your digestive system. Regularly eating meals and snacks that contain the major allergens of dairy, nuts/seeds, gluten, grains, and soy can cause inflammation of the digestive system. One of the most common causes of digestive problems is chronic stress which can lead to a condition called leaky gut syndrome where food particles get outside your digestive tract and into general circulation. Your body will identify those food particles as an enemy and attack it with an immune reaction. If you are under chronic stress, have poor digestion and eating food allergens on a daily basis your immune system is distracted by attacking your food rather than looking out for the real foreign threats!

Stomach Solution: Elimination Diet, Gut-Friendly Foods & Rotating Foods

The first step in soothing your stomach to increase your body's ability to strengthen the immune system is to eliminate common food allergens of dairy, soy, gluten, grains, and nut/seeds for 7 days. Then every 4 days add one of these foods back in at a time and notice for any change in symptoms. Your body will tell you which foods it doesn't agree with and should eliminate permanently.

The second step is to add or substitute in stomach-healing probiotic foods like bone broth, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and fermented foods/drinks pictured above.

The third step is to begin rotating your foods and not eating the same thing every day. Rotating your foods will give your body a wider variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrition to strengthen your immune system. To effectively rotate your foods, do not eat the same food for three full days to give your body a complete rest. When you do this you will become very aware of what foods you may be intolerant too. Eating foods every day that you are intolerant to causes your immune system to work harder and is stressful on the body.

#5 Sugar

Does any season have more sugar than the holidays and winter? Sugar does a double-whammy on your immune system because 1) it is very acidic and will speed up your breathing rate (hyperventilation) producing a stress response 2) one teaspoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to six hours. So that soda of yours...yeah, it has 10 teaspoons of sugar. Can you calculate how long it will suppress your immune system? Look below at how many sugar cubes (1 cube = 1 teaspoon) are in these common workplace condiments, drinks, and snacks to see how low your immune system can go!

Sugar Solution: Sweet Substitutes

There are a ton of healthier ways of increasing sweetness into one's food and beverages without stocking up on sugar. Raw and dried fruit are good ways to sweeten up a salad, smoothie, snack or dessert because they pack more fiber and vitamins. Also consider including foods like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, grape tomatoes, colored bell peppers, sugar snap peas, and raw honey as well.

#6 Shower

Who would have thought that boosting your immune system naturally is just a shower away! A blast of cold water therapy has an ability to lower inflammation, stress, dry skin, digestive distress, stimulant dependency, foggy mind, fatigue, but will increase immunity. Spend at least 3 to 6 minutes of each shower with cold water to invigorate your immune system and sense of being alive!

#7 Supplement

The seventh 'S' for immune boosting is for the supplement Super Strength Oreganol P73. First and foremost, make sure you are incorporating the lifestyle habits I have shared above before moving toward a supplement and always check with your medical team. Consider using this wild oregano oil if you need an emergency strategy on the road, when you are feeling like you are coming down with something or are at the beginning of a cold. All you have to do is place 1-2 drops under your's not tasty, but dodging an illness is completely worth it!

7 S's for Natural Immune Boosting

It is my goal that you now possess deeper knowledge and practical strategies to make this fall and winter the healthiest and happiest yet! I strongly suggest choosing to apply only one 'S' at a time until it becomes habit then conquering another one. I invite you to also consider picking the 'S' that seems most promising and the most simple for you to follow-through on. This will heighten your ability for success while building momentum and motivation for the next 'S' of your journey towards immune invincibility!

Author's Bio: 

Lance Breger is an Executive Wellness Coach and the Founder of Infinity Wellness Partners, a comprehensive corporate wellness company that prepares executives and organizations for the most productive and healthy work-life. Lance has led online/on-site training programs for thousands of professionals through his company’s four pillars of wellness: fitness, nutrition, mind/body and ergonomics.

Lance is also a Master Instructor for the American Council on Exercise and the recipient of the IDEA Health & Fitness Association Program Director of the Year award. Contact Lance for coaching, consulting and speaking at: