Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Determined To Stay Well This Year!

The Flu Bug
I haven't heard a whole lot this year about pandemics or runaway flus.  That's a great thing because I am trying to keep up my good fortune and I don't want it to run out.   I haven't been seriously down-in-the-bed sick for well over 3 cold and flu seasons.  And  I'm around some of the worst carriers around--teen-age kids-- who come to school sometimes on their deathbeds just to be with friends, keep their grades up (this one, not so much), or sadly, just because there isn't anywhere better to go.  Furthermore, I'm probably the most careless person around for putting hands on face during the day and/or not washing my hands as regularly as I could. I DO wash after going to the restroom, but then I may negate the whole process by opening the door without the aid of a paper towel.  So, what has been the difference between me and others, who seem to get 1 or 2 contagious illnesses every year?   I checked out an article in Prevention Magazine and I checked myself against the 10 check points they gave for staying well during this time of year. 

1.  Don't Stay Away From Others - Recent studies show that the ones who are most apt to get sick are the ones who isolate themselves from the outside world, whether it is because they are afraid of getting sick or are just not able to socialize.  The most healthy individuals are those who have at least 6 social interactions daily!  So, yes, I pass that test.  I'm talking to many different people each day because of my job at Independence High School! 

2.  Get Enough Sleep - Adults need between 7 - 9 hours of sleep per day.  OK, this is my absolute essential ritual.  I crave sleep.  I love sleep.  I am selfish with sleep.  People know that if they want to get along with me, they need to let me have my sleep.  If I miss my sleep during the night, I will come home and take myself a lovely, afternoon nap.  Actually, it's one of my favorite things to do.  Incidentally, less than optimum sleep will lower your immune system.  You can either get enough sleep now, or get the needed sleep as you are recuperating from an unwanted, uncomfortable illness...you choose. 

3.  Be More Of An Optimist - Apparently, and I do know this, those who are going around like Eeyore rather than Tigger are going to have more illnesses.  Basically your brain power is a powerful partner to your immune function.  How do I rate? I must admit, some days are better than others with this one.  I'm actually going through some really hard things right now that can make me very sad if I dwell on it at any length and sometimes the only thing I can do is cry about it.  (I miss you, Eddie and Joseph)  Thankfully, I'm a generally happy person and when I psyche myself up, I'm able to handle things.  I think the best way to get into that happy state of mind is to always remember that whatever you are going through, there is always someone else who has it way more difficult than yourself and to reach out to others (See #1).

4.  Express Myself  but do it positively - Whew!  I need some work on that one.  When something bothers me, I can express it, but it sometimes comes out more like a freight train roaring by instead of feeling like a spring breeze wafting through the trees.  That's why a lot of times I just don't express myself at all and that's dangerous because I'm bottling it in.  OK, I need some more help on self-expression.  I want to able to express myself asseertively yet not come off as hard core or angry.  I think that it takes a certain skill, if not an inborn talent to do that.  

5.  Stress - Is it possible to not be under stress these days?  It seems like they're saying, though, that the ongoing stress is the bad one. If you can leave behind your day at work and come home and relax, then there's nothing wrong with that.  But stress that is present day-in and day-out is really hard on the immune system. Grieving is a form of stress that takes its toll..  I recently went through about four months of grieving when my son moved out of our house. Empty nest syndrome is no picnic. But I'm OK now.  I still get to see him once a week and I have been able to move on a bit. 

6.  Using My Own Stuff - Do you use your own keyboard?  Your own pen?  Things that pass from hand to hand are really dirty!  Me?  Yep, I use my own pen, but people come along and swipe it and then either put it back or never return it.  I used to get a little irked when people swiped my pens.  Maybe I should just be grateful they took it, and their germs, with them. 

7.  Exercise - People who don't exercise get sick more than those who don't.  OK, I'm about 50-50 on that one.  I like to put my feet up after work and don't like to get out much after that.  It's especially hard in the winter, when it's so darn cold.  But my dang dog is going to save me yet.  I come home and she is waiting for me in the backyard, looking so dejected and forlorn.  I know that she wants to go on a walk so badly that she can barely stand it.  If I even look like I'm headed toward the door again, she will quietly start crying, hoping I'll pick up on her subtle hint.  That's why I say 50-50. Half the time, I'm a real softie and will go get the leash and we'll head out for an adventure.  The other half, I say, sorry girl, not this time, Mama's toooo tired!

8.  Pollution and Ciggies don't help - first or secondhand smoke is bad for you.  So stay away from it if possible.  Your immune system will thank you for it.  Ummmm....no problem.  We have a no-tolerance policy for smoking or drugs in our High School.  We don't smoke at home either.  What we do have is bad air quality.  In the winter, the Utah Valley gets clogged with smog, trapped in until a storm clears it out.  Not the greatest to be out in, for sure.

9.  Don't Know How To Use Antibiotics -The thing that is so scarey about using antibiotics w/o just cause is that it puts a strain on the whole community of antibiotic users and potential users, rendering many of them ineffective because the germs they were meant to kill now are resistant to them.  Only use antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection and use the whole course.  I haven't used antibiotics for years.  
 10.  You've gotta laugh!  This is going to really help boost those pheromones and immune assisting chemicals in your brain.  Fortunately, I have a husband who is a big goof and he makes me laugh more often than not.  I'm not saying that he never falls flat.  And I let him know.  I think it's his mission to try out his running comedy routines on me and if I give it a thumbs up, based on my laughter, he knows he's onto something.  I wonder if fake laughing counts?  I do a lot of that as well over at the high school, where kids think they are the funniest things since Bob Hope and I play along with it sometimes,albeit sometimes they are good too. 

Really?  Is that it?  Wow!  I think I do OK on most of those points.  Not excellent, but OK.  So what is it that has brought me such luck with the colds and the flus?  Could it be genetic?  I don't think so...Is it the fact that I take some really, really great vitamins and have done so for, get this, 20 years?  Yep, I take Melaleuca Vitality For Life Vitamins and supplements and I'm thinking that they are pretty amazing as far as vitamins go. 

But for whatever reason I have been spared, I'd like to go for another healthy year.  

What are some things that you think make the difference when it comes to the cold and flu season?  How do you do on the 10 points of prevention?  

This article was written by me with no cash or other incentives.  

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3 comments :

Lisa said...

I'm about half way there, need to work more on sleep for sure - great info!

eek031880@hotmail.com said...

Great tips! Thank you for sharing.

Cindy Orley said...

Great article! There are some things I'm doing right and others not, like getting enough sleep!