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Combat Stress and Boost Your Immunity

It happens every year: those around you begin coughing, sneezing, and sniffling and you know it’s only a matter of time before you come down with something. To make matters worse, winter can be a stressful time for some. Studies show that the body’s response to stress can weaken the immune system and make sufferers more susceptible to getting a cold or infection like the flu. The good news is that stress is manageable. Use these tips to help you combat stress and boost your immunity this flu season.

Develop a Relaxation Technique

Finding time each day to incorporate relaxation into your schedule can help decrease stress. This can be as simple as sitting with your eyes closed and taking slow, deep breaths or imagining a relaxing place. Scientists have found that practicing mindfulness, or purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment, can help relieve stress. For help practicing mindfulness and relaxation, you can turn to places like the Mental Health Foundation, which offers free podcasts that can help you relax. Many are only 15 minutes long, with some as short as seven minutes.

Take Care of Yourself

This may seem like a no-brainer, but busy, stressful times are when your health is most likely to go on the back burner. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, get eight hours of sleep each night, and engage in regular physical activity to help manage stress. Even simple things like reading a good book or listening to music you love can help relieve stress when you have a hectic schedule.

Talk to Someone

Stress affects most Americans, so if you’re stressed out you’re certainly not alone. It’s important to talk about the things causing your stress with someone, instead of bottling it up. Talk to a good friend, relative, or spouse about what’s on your mind and ask how they deal with stress. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you may want to see a doctor or psychologist.

Find more tips for coping with stress at uhc.com, United Health Care’s online source for helping people live healthier lives.