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Lola Ross: On Managing Stress And Immunity

We talk to Lola Ross – a registered nutritional therapist based in London and the co-founder of the moods and hormone cycle app Moody Month – on what we can do to manage our health during challenging and stressful times.

“Managing stress as best you can is a useful step in helping to optimise health during this extraordinary time. Calming techniques like breath-work, or relaxing experiences such as nature walks or listening to music, have been shown to reduce plasma cortisol levels.
 
When stress is perceived by the brain, communication via the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis naturally stimulates cortisol from the adrenal cortex as a response to short-term emergency, firing up our immune defences. This is how the body protects itself, however prolonged stress can contribute to chronic inflammation, which can reduce immunity and make us more susceptible to illness so soothing stress is important.”
 
To help you weather the stress storm and help to strengthen immunity, see the below six techniques from Lola that you can try whilst at home.

1. Practice a calmer mind-set

Use techniques like mediation, Qi Gong or positive thinking. For meditative dance I’d recommend trying the 5 Rhythms app and for stillness try CALM or Happy Not Perfect. For more in-depth meditation courses visit Burgs at The Art Of Meditation.

2. Eat whole foods

Eat whole foods to nourish and support all of your body systems where you can. Fresh vegetables and fruits are always good to include as they contain the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which help to support your immunity. To prolong the life of your veggies wash, chop, batch-bag and freeze them. Canned vegetables or pre-frozen options are also good. I’d also advise reducing stimulating foods such as sugar, alcohol and caffeine, which over-stimulate cortisol.

2. Get a good night's sleep

Get lots of quality sleep and stay hydrated so that the brain and body can function at its best each day.

4. Do positive things that keep you happy

When I suffered from a prolonged stressful period some years ago I made myself do one thing a day that made me feel good and relaxed and over time I had lots of positive, calming moments to refer back to whenever I felt stressed.

5. Focus on feel-good activities

During this new time of more physical separation, feel-good activities don’t have to stop. You can organise evenings or yoga sessions with friends digitally. Support mood-regulating hormones with a daily-dose of sunlight by reading a book by an open window or sit outside, if you can.

6. Check in with yourself

Don’t forget to check in with yourself by tracking your moods and hormone cycles. This can help you to stay engaged with your body and keep a note on any changes to your mood and well-being during this time. Moody Month has created supportive group discussions, useful tips and free yoga sessions which you may find helpful during this time.

For the moment, Lola is taking all clinical consultations via Skype only. To find out more please go to her website here.

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