It was a beautiful sunny day and a walk down the beach sounded like a great idea. After all, working out on the beach was one of my favourite things to do for my body and spirit.
“If I can walk from here to that post, I’ll be happy,” I thought to myself. I was 5mins into the walk and this extreme fatigue came over me. My legs were weak and wobbly and I had to lay down on the sand.
I looked up to the sky, with tears streaming down my face. “Dear God, I just want myself back. I just want to be able to be strong again and walk for 45mins like I used to,” I thought.
Little did I know staying in an abusive relationship past its expiration date, and experiencing painful breakups thereafter, I was to have a breakdown in health.
While “being strong” and “staying positive” would only get me so far, I discovered that unresolved experiences, unprocessed emotional baggage, limiting beliefs, fear, and a disconnect from my heart would not only make me the most miserable person to be around but very ill.
I was to discover that every illness had an emotional component and that your emotional patterns increase your chances to physical illnesses, depression, and anxiety.
People might go on a detox, get rid of the parasites, clear out the mold from their home, and so on, (which I believe is necessary), but they don’t look at their relationships that are dying, the breakups they’re still pining over, the guilt, anger, sadness, or resentment they’re still hanging onto, or the people and friendships around them that could be causing them to wilt just like the leaves falling off a plant.
We all have intuitive abilities to know when there’s something wrong or right, however, there’s a part of our brain that ignores our intuition because who doesn’t want a relationship to work or last a lifetime??
Yes, nutrition, your environment, and your genetics with how food effects us all play an important role, however, evidently, we also cannot ignore our emotional health and how it contributes to our immune system.
I was very resilient (as us humans tend to be) and felt invisible, but being in a state of fight-or-flight mode for long periods of time, eventually my body did breakdown. We can go through so much in life before we have a breakdown. But we cannot run forever from our spirit or the truth of what we need to face that will set us free. We just don’t get away with that for too long.
During my healing I came across this quote by Caroline Myss that resonated with my own spirit and just blew me away.
“When an illness is a part of your spiritual journey, no medical intervention can heal you until your spirit has begun to make the changes that the illness was designed to inspire.”
I truly came to understand and witness that my emotional imbalance massively affected my immune system, but I also believe that my spirit was trying to grab my attention too. It was trying to tell me that I didn’t know my worth, I wasn’t living in accordance to my values, and that I didn’t love or accept myself no matter what.
So I immersed myself with education that had everything to do with energy medicine, health and stress, and how to heal the body after chronic stress.
On a basic level, when you experience a breakup, or a stressful/toxic relationship or you’re having to try and “fix” someone and dealing with constant disappointment, negativity, and deception, or you don’t feel safe and secure, your immune system gets reactive. Cortisol and epinephrine rise, which makes your immune system go down and whatever you’re genetically predesposed to comes to surface.
So when you’re constantly under stress, your adrenals produce cortisol, a stress hormone that, under normal circumstances, suppresses inflammation and gives you the ability to get out of danger.
However, when cortisol levels remain high for too long, your body actually produces inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. This causes you to feel symptoms such as headaches, joint pain and swelling, arthritis, fibromyalgia, digestive problems, weight gain, and eventually diabetes and heart disease. There are many studies that cite cellular inflammation is the root cause of almost all degenerative diseases.
I”ll use myself as an example to demonstrate this point. When I was under constant stress for long periods of time, my immune system was no longer functionng optimally and left me vulnerable to infectious diseases and so-called autoimmune disorders.
When I had stage 4 Epstein-Barr virus (which can cause autoimmune disease), Lyme also came to surface when my immune system was at an all time low and off balance due to chronic stress.
As a result of my health, I felt I had no choice but to get to the root cause of why my body was prone to ill health. I became aware of my deep rooted beliefs in my heart and the core wounds that had me fall out of love with myself. Such as, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not safe and secure,” “I’m not lovable.”
You don’t need to be fixed, you need self-love. The kind that is rooted in Divine love.
You don’t have to be perfect, only human.
Yes, there are times when I think a part of my brain decides to channel the spirit of a 90 year old strong healthy woman from Ikaria Greece as I hear the words in my mind: Just relax. Don’t worry about anything. Have that glass of wine.
( I like this old woman.)
So you see, stress isn’t all about your to-do list and how busy you are and how much work you need to do. I’ve learned that the types of stress that can create the most impact on our bodies comes from physiological stress.
Stress also occurs when we keep thinking about the past or fearing the future and wish things were different to what is occuring now.
However, when your immune system is strong, your body is able to keep viruses, bacteria etc. at bay.
If you’ve been through breakups or stressful relationships or currently going through either of them, here are some tips to help shield your health.
Any kind of breakup, or stressful relationship, or constantly feeling anxious, or wearing the superwoman cape is going to stress you out and influence your immune system.
Now, I believe that there are just some things in life that happen, and so we can’t drive ourselves insane tyring to figure out every teeny weeny thing on how we “attracted” this physical symptom and then blame ourselves.
Instead of blaming your situation and not feeling good enough, focus on the intention on wanting to feel better and that you’re in a process of birthing a new beautiful phase of your life. That if it wasn’t for this particular season in your life, you couldn’t have given birth to a more happier, healthier, and loving you.
So here are 15 natural tips to help support your immune system in stressful breakups and relationships or simply life (there’s more, but this is plenty to get you started).
1. Manage Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is release during times of stress so look for supplements to help balance the body’s level of cortisol such as, Licorice root or Siberian ginseng which helps protect the adrenal glands from overreacting to stress.
2. Antioxidants with B Vitamins
Serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and progesterone are essentially eaten up during the stress of a break up. The antioxidants will help your body make serotonin to reduce the pain in the immune system. If you’re in peri-menopause those symptoms can get worse during a break up – boost that hormonal system that is related to serotonin. According to Harvard researchers, it’s estimated that by age 35, the typical woman is already deficient in progesterone. Get your levels checked. I’ve also heard women balance their hormones through a strict eating plan. Each to their own. (Do your own research and do what is best for you.)
3. Supplement your Body with Zinc, Vitamin C, and Magnesium
Zinc helps strengthen the immune system. Vitamin C ( Ester C) lowers inflammation, repairs damaged neurotransmitters, and soothes adrenal glands, and magnesium lowers anxiety and calms an overactive nervous system and reduces adrenal gland stress.
4. Support Adrenals with Snacks
If you know you have adrenal fatigue, intermitting fasting is not for you because if your blood sugar drops too low, your adrenals have to release cortisol again and so you’re not giving them a chance to recuperate. My favourite adrenal snack: Date, celery, apple. Check out Medical Medium for more info on this. He’s amazing & has helped me tremendously with my health.
5. Check Your Thyroid
TSH goes up with stress.
6. Emotional Release Work
We are conditioned to manage and suppress our emotions from an early age. When we face our emotions they can be scary and uncomfortable so we create suppression strategies so we don’t have to feel those painful feelings. It’s important to take an honest look at the ways we ignore our emotions. For example, watching tv, numbing the pain, being strong, overeating, positive affirmations, and moving to the next best thing. Emotions are actually energy in motion. When this energy doesn’t have the opportunity to be released, it ends up being suppressed and stored in the body taking up energetic space. We don’t want this. I highly encourage you to invest in yourself by seeking out a good therapist or a coach to help you. If you want to get started now, the first tool I recommend is release writing. This is different to journaling. Release writing is letting your mind flow in the direction of where it wants to go in that moment and allowing your emotions to surface without judgement. These words are not intended to be re-read so be in a safe place where you can tear the paper and throw it out. After release writing it’s so important to bring yourself back into the present moment and without analysing or judging yourself. The purpose is to move the energy out of your body with love & compassion.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is the best way to digest excess hormones & stress in your body. To support you, you can use Melissa the essential oil, also known as lemon balm. I rub the oil on my writs right before bed.
8. Fruits, Vegetables & Pause
Find your own way of balanced eating and focus on fresh local produce. Before you eat, eat without stress and get your digestion ready by staring at your meal and setting an intention or saying a prayer before you eat. This pause before you eat helps the blood flow in your belly and improves digestion.
9. Move Your Body Everyday
Whether that’s stretching, yoga, walking, pilates, hula hooping, whatever you can to help yourself with mild depression and move your emotions out from your body.
10. Pleasure and Laughter
Balance your negative & positive emotions with pleasure & humour – watch funny movies, see comedy shows, read funny books, anything to improve your dopamine. And do one thing everyday that brings you pleasure (that doesn’t include food). Some examples are listening to music, having tea with your fave person, taking that class, writing in your pretty journal, or lighting a candle and meditating. Living & enjoying the small things in life will help balance the stress in your life.
11. Prayer & Meditation
Both improve mood disorders
12. Get a Massage
Getting frequent massages can lower depression, decreases pain, lowers pms, and lowers chances toward having melancholy.
13. Infrared Sauna Therapy
My absolute favourite. Research shows the benefits of using an infrared sauna is likely to improve your immunity and a sense of wellbeing by triggering the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. Along with many other benefits!
14. Tap your Thymus Gland
The thymus gland is the engine of your immune system. It’s responsible for making T-cells, which are vital to a healthy functioning immune system and sits right over the heart, the upper part of the chest. I first learned about the thymus gland during an immune sytem workshop and found it so facinating. Exercise: with your fingertips tap for about 15-30 seconds while you breathe naturally and deeply (think of tarzan). If that area feels tender when you tap, don’t worry it’s usually a sign that there’s some stagnant energy there and therefore beneficial for you. Over time, as the thymus gets more balanced, it will become less sore.
15. Learn From Your Relationships
The power of a question: What did you learn about the relationship? What was healthy? What was unhealthy? What did you learn about yourself? Or what are you currently learning in your relationship? And about yourself? What are you currently learning about your life? Where in your relationships (including friendships) are you not feeling fulfilled? What isn’t working? What are you going to do about it?
I believe true healing is not measured by perfect physical health or no negative emotions but being more of the real you and living your life in alignment to your core values. And how much you’ve loved, and forgiven yourself, and others. And how much you’ve accepted yourself along your journey and the compassion you’ve given yourself during the mess. And falling in love with yourself in the process of what you’re shedding and who you are revealing.
I hope the list above encourages you to start somewhere, and know that baby steps are also powerful.
You’re on that purposeful path.
P.S. If you found this article to be helpful and you would like further support, you can book your complimentary 15mins clarity chat and see how we can work together & how I can best support you.
** Disclaimer: This article contains the opinions, studies, and ideas of its coach/author. It is intended to provide helpful and informative material on the subjects addressed in this article. The coach/author (Irene Elias) is not engaged in rendering medical, health, or any other kind of professional health services in this article. The reader should consult his or her medical, health professional before adopting any of the suggestions in this article or drawing inferences from it.