Sanni Parkkinen

In the midst of these virus-sensitive times, let's take a look at your immune system. Washing hands (although I'm all for it) has nothing to do with boosting or improving the immune system. Staying home has nothing to do with it. Those are prevention mechanisms - sometimes needed but sometimes creating just excess panic and stress. So, how to stay healthy?

Stress is the worst destroyer of a healthy immune system. Physiologically stress is the activation of sympathetic nervous system. Prolonged and chronic this activation shuts down the immune system since the body thinks it has better things to do. Have to survive and be ready to run. Thus, the immune system thrives when the nervous system is balanced.

Instead of just prevention, take care of your nervous system. Nurture your immune system. Don't end up panicking and stressing yourself even more. Here's my tips for staying healthy:

  • Invest in recovery. Long enough, good-quality sleep is the key. Support the sleep also with active recovery techniques like gentle yoga, breathing, massage, sauna (+ ice water exposure) and taking magnesium in the evenings to calm down the nervous system. If you're unsure what is the difference between rest and recovery, read this article first.
  • Breathe through your nose. This cannot be emphasised enough. The nose filters air but more importantly, there's nitric oxide generated in our sinuses. Nose breathing helps us to use the nitric oxide that has been proven to destroy viruses, parasitic organisms and malignant cells in the airways and lungs. (If you want to learn simple breathing exercises and enhance nose breathing, check our Youtube channel.)
  • Nurture your microbiome. In healthy gut bacteria lies the strength of our immune system. Adding lots of green stuff, cutting sugar and other extra carbohydrates, getting good fats, taking fermented foods, avoiding excess coffee or other stimulants, using lots of spices and, last but not least, fasting.
  • Give your gut time to rest, at least 10-12 hours over the night. Not just our mind, heart and brain but also all our inner organs need rest and recovery! Fasting boosts autophagy, a Nobel prize awarded discovery, meaning that our cells have the ability to eat damaged or infected cells. The body cleanses and heals itself when given a chance! On the fasting period, take only water, tea or black coffee.
  • Take care of the intake of vitamins & antioxidants C, D3, zinc, selenium and magnesium. I start every morning with a pressed green juice with celery, lemon, ginger and green powder, have a colourful diet and when necessary, take some extra as supplements.
  • If your immune system is weak, this might not be the time to do high-intensity workouts or otherwise tough exercise. It stresses the body. Do gentle or moderate-intensity exercise and refrain from exercising too late in the evenings.

And most importantly, take is easy! Fear will not do you any good. Being cautiously aware does. Once a spiritual teacher said to me that fear is like inviting the things you're afraid of to come closer and eventually, you get caught up by them. True or not, it is no doubt stressful.

So let's take care of each other and ourselves! <3

About the Author

Sanni is a breathing coach & educator, nervous system expert, yoga teacher and movement lover, spreading the wisdom of well-being, true embodiment and yoga in Norway.

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