The start of the holiday season is only a few weeks away, and while this is a wonderful time of year for families to spend quality time together, it can also be a stressful time for parents and students. Many schools have multiple tests or projects due just before the Thanksgiving break and then finals range anywhere from before the winter break to just after. It’s no coincidence that it’s also the time when kids and adults start sniffling, coughing, getting colds and flus. Why does this happen? STRESS.
Stress can be a good thing. It allows our bodies to release hormones that take the blood away from our thinking brains and put it in our arms and legs…so we can run if a bear is chasing us. The problem is that we put our bodies into this state of being chased by a bear on a regular basis, and there are no bears, at least for the majority of us. So rather than have your body think it’s being chased by a bear, thus causing the immune system to shut down, the thinking brain to turn off, the body to crave sugar, and a host of long term effects, why not start this holiday/test season differently, by minimizing stress?
1. Plan, Plan, and Plan
Plan for tests and projects by breaking these up into smaller, doable tasks.
Students can put all tests and projects on a calendar and work backwards by planning and scheduling all study time, color coding classes, and remembering to account for extracurriculars during this time as well. This can be done 3-4 weeks in advance of finals or a week in advance of a unit test. They can ask teachers if there will be study guides and when they will be handed out. Just because you don’t have a study guide doesn’t mean you can’t start studying. Students can review every section of the chapter(s), old assignments, tests and quizzes, and flashcards. A student can create her own study guide based on this information, as well as do practice problems or questions. If students aren’t doing as well as they would like, this is a great time to have them check in with their teacher(s) to see what they can do to improve or get extra help.
Projects can be broken down into smaller, doable chunks as well. Doable means your student can do it, so your child/teen has to be part of the process. If they are due at the end of break, make sure time is available during the break to complete these assignments/projects. Check in with your student(s) regarding travel schedules or make time before the traveling.
Parents, you can plan too. Create a calendar with all of your events and tasks, plan backwards into small, doable pieces, and model for your student(s) that planning helps in life too.
2. Build Up Your Immune System
Stress depletes your minerals and energy, causing sugar and caffeine cravings, which end up depleting your system further. Build your vitamin and mineral stores to optimal levels before stress hits. Then, if a little stress comes your way, your body will be more resilient.
The following are some vitamins/supplements that will help build your immune system. Please check with your physician for dosing and if adding any of these to your child’s diet would be appropriate.
Vitamin D enhances the immune system and stimulates the development of white blood cells, the cells that protect the body from foreign invaders.
I think of Vitamin B12 as the energy vitamin. It is needed for the production of red blood cells, which help get our nutrients around our bodies and also plays a role in the production of white blood cells.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which would prevent a cut apple from turning brown as quickly. Think of your body as a “cut apple” in that Vitamin C mitigates the “browning” or oxidative stress especially caused by stress itself. It also enhances the immune system by increasing white blood cells and interferons, which are released when pathogens like viruses are present.
Probiotics assist with gut health. The gut is home to over 60% of your immune system, so taking care of your gut is taking care of your immune system as well.
3. Build Up Your Wellness Tank
Try one from our blog page.
Take an Epsom salt bath before bed to relax and release toxins.
15 minutes is all it takes. Add a few drops of calming, therapeutic grade essential oils like lavender, rose, ylang ylang, bergamot, or chamomile.
Move your body.
Regular exercise builds healthy bodies, strengthens the immune system, and is a great stress release.
The body rests, heals and rebuilds during sleep, especially for growing kids and teens. Staying up too late depletes your system and brain power.
Eat real foods and ditch the sugar.
Processed foods are loaded with sugar, which compromises the immune system for approximately 6 hours after consumption.
Be positive and think positive thoughts.
If you are positive and prepared, you are more likely to succeed and be happier in the process.