“Why do I always get so ill at Christmas?”

Are you alright?  You don’t look well.

No, I ache all over and I feel really run down.  I think I’m coming down with a bug.

That sounds terrible.  Where did you catch that from?

Oh I get one every year around this time.  I just about manage to make it through Christmas and then I wake up on Boxing Day feeling terrible.

Well, if it happens every year it could be –

Don’t say drink!

I wasn’t going to say drink.  I was going to say that it might be your reaction to the stress of Christmas.

Well if that’s right, how come I’m not laid up during all the Christmas shopping and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

Because our immune system is stimulated by pressure. And when the pressure we’re under drops –

Then our immune system drops as well?

Pretty much.

And that’s why I come down with a bug?

Yes, because your immune system thinks it’s okay to take a well-earned break as well after all that pressure.

Well that’s interesting but what can I do about it?

Give yourself a fighting chance by making sure you sleep properly – not just getting enough sleep but keeping as near to normal hours as possible.  So no lengthy lie-ins, no matter how tempting they might be.

Fat chance of those lie-ins happening.  Anything else I should do?

Try not to overeat or to skip meals, and make sure you drink enough and are properly hydrated.

Hang on – is this why I often feel “fluey” when I go away in the summer?

That could well be it.  In which case it’s a sign that you need to take a look at things more generally.

How do you mean?

Look at your work/life balance and finding time for relaxation and for yourself.

That sounds like a thought for the New Year’s Resolutions


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