Have you noticed you’ve been getting sick more often? Being sick for longer? Ready to not be sick for a good period of time? Ok let’s take a look at the likely factors involved, aside from just adding on more supplements.
- Lack of sleep. This is the foundation for all things health related. If we aren’t getting enough quality sleep, everything else will feel and be harder. If you have young kids, hang in there, set yourself up for success everywhere else you can, and get into bed as soon as possible to get the most out of your night’s sleep. Those other things may be (or if you don’t have kids, try these too) – low light exposure at night (orange blue light blocking glasses and dimming lights), calming wind down routine prior to bedtime, a consistent bedtime, eating dinner earlier in the evening, avoiding lots of physical activity 2 hours prior to bedtime, try a warm bath to get your external body temperature up (to help cool your internal body temp), workout earlier in the day, get sunshine in your eyes during the day, and keep your room temp cool!
- Stress. Are you constantly thinking? Worried? Not sleeping well? Working all day? A parent? Running out of time (aka rushed)? Back pain? Skin issues? Low energy? Constipated? If you answered YES to any of those questions, then you are indeed dealing with higher levels of stress. You may be used to those levels and therefore feel “fine” or “not stressed”. When we are having higher levels of stress (aka chronically high cortisol levels), our body won’t function as well, use up nutrients faster, and will get tired faster. So, what we can do is to 1. Take more time to breathe and slow down to be in a parasympathetic state more often, 2. Figure out where our biggest stressors are, and see how we can manage those better, 3. Set boundaries, make time for YOU to down regulate (sleep, walk, meditate, etc.). If you have trouble either recognizing these or finding solutions, book a clarity call with Joel so he can see where there may be hidden stressors (he’s the king of asking great questions and finding the root cause). Also – pay attention to environmental stressors – friend, family, coworkers, perfumes, fragrances, makeup, cleaning products, candles, chemicals/dyes in foods, seed oils, sugar, alcohol, and so on.
- Gut issues. This is often directly correlated with stress, so start with that first, THEN we can look at diet. Our brain is directly connected to our gut via the vagus nervous system, AND via chemical and other mechanical pathways. When we are stressed – overthinking, emotional, reactive, worried, etc., our gut takes the brunt of it. Those will all slow down digestion (or speed it up too fast depending on the person/situation), block certain beneficial bacteria and chemicals from being produced, and prevent our gut’s ability to fight off pathogens that enter our system. So, again, first and foremost, we want to focus first on what we can do to manage our stress better, then look at the quality of our food, food sensitivities, and nutrient deficiencies. So keep looking to add in more nutrient-dense foods like quality meats, fish, veggies, fruits and quality oils, and minimize the common things that cause inflammation such as alcohol, sugar, refined oils, gluten, and dairy (for some), then see where you’re at! There are lots of other things to consider when it comes to gut health, yet we always want to start with the foundational things, then move deeper.
After you’ve really nailed these down for several months and still continue to get sick, consider nutrient deficiencies via labwork, take a look at what medications you’re taking and consider alternatives (antibiotics and NSAIDS are known gut crushers), and see if you’re hypervigilant with being “clean” with sanitizers or antibacterials. Get your hands in the dirt (literally) more, and get that beneficial bacteria back on your skin and in your gut.