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Supporting your immune system – by Natalia Otero Sancho

Although a little bit of stress may be good for you, stress often snowballs in uncontrollable ways and
may harm your body’s capabilities to defend itself. How do we keep it in check?

● Reducing Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine
Try swapping to matcha tea instead to get that boost of energy without the jitters! Good brands are
Clearspring, Teapigs, Do-Matcha and you can find them on Amazon or on
www.NaturalDispensary.com.

● Get some exercise
Stress increases the levels of the ‘fight or flight’ hormones adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
Physical exercise can help metabolise the excessive stress hormones and restore your mind and body
to a calmer, more relaxed state. Even in a lockdown you have few excuses for not going out for a run
or on the bike. As an everyday habit, have you even thought of keeping a kettlebell next to your desk?
Trust me, you may be sceptical but it works wonders especially for your core strength and it’s quick
and effective. You can find plenty of online resources, here a few examples:

– Myfitnesspal
– Kettlebell Workouts

For more structured work, if yoga is your thing Yoga Teach Carley Small is hosting online Yoga
Sessions every Tuesday and Thursday 8 – 9am GMT. Email [email protected] for the invite!
Not into Yoga? Check out Complete Pilates Chelsea who will be hosting online Pilates classes.

● Try some Relaxation techniques
The thought of meditation can be quite daunting if you’ve never tried it, but apps like Calm,
Headspace, Music Zen and Inner Balance can be a great introduction.

● Indulge in ‘self-care’
You know your body and mind better than most. Take some time to do the things you love, whether
that’s curling up with a good book or taking a long bath. Time to watch again that movie from the 60s.
Self-care can even be doing the dishes if you find it therapeutic!

Sleep
We all know what it feels like to wake up after a bad night’s sleep. You feel sluggish, lack
concentration and have little motivation to do anything. But did you know that sleep also has a big
influence on your immune system?
Here’s my top tips to help you get to sleep better:

● Go to sleep at the same time every night
In a lockdown you have few excuses not to do this. Your internal clock will be grateful.

● Create a ‘wind-down’ routine.
If you have to stay at home, it can be difficult to distinguish between ‘day-time’ and ‘night-time’ as
we no longer have the routine of returning from work to signal that we should wind down. Allow
plenty of time away from screens and create a routine to signal to your brain that it’s time for bed.

Things like creating a ‘to-do’ list for the following day, some gentle relaxation exercises or reading a
book can be very effective.

● Breathing techniques

● Make your bedroom sleep-friendly
Create a ‘tech-free’ zone in the bedroom to avoid unwanted distractions. Your bedroom should ideally
be dark, quiet, tidy and at a temperature of around 18 degrees for optimum sleepiness + some essential
oils like lavender, geranium, patchouli, sandalwood.
b. Nutrition

● Food
This is an entire topic in itself, but to keep it simple and accessible for you – research has shown that
brightly coloured vegetables and fruits can boost/modulate your immunity better than most
supplements. You should ideally aim for 10 colourful servings per day, and include fermented
vegetables or other probiotic-containing foods wherever possible.

● Supplements
When considering what supplements to take, one can become overwhelmed very quickly. Although
there is no research to determine what is effective as a specific response to COVID-19, I have
included in the Resources section below some recommendations to help support/modulate immune
function and also provide symptom relief during illness and may help to shorten the duration of
illness. Please make sure you discuss with your practitioner the use of supplements outside of standard
dosages.

By Natalia Otero Sancho

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