Staying Healthy Before the Wedding
The weeks leading up to your wedding day can be one big blur of stress with a million tasks on your to-do list. Unfortunately, that means you're probably not taking the best care of yourself. And even though you're both going to vow to love each other "in sickness and in health," who wants a horrible cold or flu on their wedding day? Here, five simple ways to prevent getting sick.
Get Some Shut-eye
During the weeks leading up to your wedding, you might be tempted to stay up all night putting together favors or working on the seating arrangement. Don't! Research shows that sleep helps boost your immune system -- not to mention that you look and feel better after getting the recommended eight hours. If you're having trouble sleeping or can't fit those eight hours into your schedule, try to find ways to de-stress before bed.
Skipping meals might seem like a good idea for the bride who wants to lose a few pounds before her big day, but the simple truth is that your body needs that nourishment in order to maintain its energy and keep up with your jam-packed schedule. Eating a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help ward off illness (and also help you slim down the healthy way). Keep snacks like fresh or dried fruit, pretzels, rice cakes, or whole wheat crackers in your purse so you can eat right, even when you're on the run.
Practice Good Hygiene
Many infections are spread from person to person, and germs are picked up easily through doorknobs, keyboards, and escalator rails, just to name a few. Washing your hands five times a day with warm soap and water has been proven to cut the risk of illness by 45 percent. Be sure to wash for 20 seconds (hum the words to "Happy Birthday" in your head to make sure you're doing it long enough), and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even recommends using a paper towel to open the door while exiting a public restroom. Finally, carry antibacterial hand gel in your purse for those times you're not near a sink.
Take Your Vitamins
Even if you eat a healthy diet, give your body a boost by adding a few supplements to your daily routine during this stressful time. Vitamins A and C have been proven to prevent the flu and cold, while research has shown that people who took one garlic supplement per day were less likely to get a cold -- and if they did, their symptoms were less severe and they recovered faster.
Stamp Out Stress
The bottom line is, stress on its own can make you sick. Studies have shown that stress promotes the release of a hormone that can prevent the immune system from working properly. So no matter how busy you are, make the time to give your body and mind a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Take a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage, or simply go for a brisk 10-minute walk. Trust us -- the wedding planning will still be there when you get back!
Source: Susan J. Rehm, MD, Medical Director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (www.nfid.org)