With the Lunar New Year holiday upon us, millions of people have planned a quick get-away, be it to rest and recharge or spend quality time with loved ones abroad.
But, the combination of holiday stress and prevalence of winter bugs can put our immune systems under extra stress, making you more susceptible to illness.
If you are about to head off on a holiday, these seven simple strategies can help to strengthen your immune system and support stress-free travel.
- Stay hydrated
Due to the air conditioning, the environment on an airplane is very dry. Drink plenty of water before and during your journey to flush out toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. Avoid coffee, tea and alcohol as these will only add to the dehydration.
- Wash your hands
Wash your hands regularly using, when possible, an antibacterial soap. If you can’t get to a sink, antibacterial hand-wipes are good for cleaning hands and the surfaces around you – your armrest, tv monitor, table and more. Take some travel-size hand-sanitiser with you too.
- Breathe in tea tree oil
A natural anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent, tea tree oil is potent and versatile. Carry tea tree oil with you on the plane or train, pass the glass bottle under your nose, and inhale at the start of your journey. If you do pick up a bacterial or viral infection, add a few drops of the oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the fumes deeply to help the body.
- Let food be thy medicine
Load up on immune-boosting foods high in vitamin C and D, antioxidants and lean proteins. Our favourites include oranges, papaya, eggs, red bell peppers, broccoli, turkey and nuts. If you’re flying for only a few hours, forget the in-flight meal and eat a nutritious meal before you board. You can also carry your favourite healthy snacks with you.
- Move more
Our bodies are designed to move. During the flight, gentle stretches in your seat or in the cabin can help to keep your joints and muscles flexible. Once you arrive at your destination, regular exercise can help the lungs rid themselves of airborne viruses and bacteria that are linked to respiratory tract infections. It can also help to improve blood flow through the cardiovascular system, flushing toxins and germs from the body through the excretory system via sweat and urine.
- Sleep for strength
Did you know sleep helps to boost the activity of the immune cells? Amongst the numerous health benefits of sleep, researchers have proven that deep sleep specifically helps T cells – a type of immune cell which play an important role in fighting virus infected cells such as flu, HIV and herpes. Away from the usual day to day pressures, a holiday can offer more opportunity for some serious shut-eye.
- Stress less
As fun as that holiday sounds, packing suitcases, completing projects at work and attending kids’ CNY performances can cause stress. Studies show that stress takes a toll on our immune defences. If you feel anxious or tense, take five deep breaths, exhaling for one count longer than you inhale. This simple practice is helpful before, during, and after your journey. Breathing more deeply helps to feed your cells with more oxygen and calm your mind
We send you wishes of health and happiness over Chinese New Year, and hope you have a wonderful time celebrating, wherever you are.