You don’t have to get sick each winter. A few simple steps can blow those bugs away!
 How do you avoid a cold? Keep your hands away from your face and wash them often. Avoid people with colds, and ask your doctor if vitamin C may be helpful and safe for you.
 Although depression can easily be assumed to be a result of your chronic illness, you could be someone who has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If you find yourself blue between October and March, it may be because of the lack of sunlight, which can be a natural antidepressant. Ask your doctor.
 Feeling stressed about the holidays? Before reaching for that piece of pumpkin pie, grab a banana. Foods that are natural stress fighters include orange juice, yogurt, low caffeine intake, carbohydrates instead of sugar, and lots of water!
 Need a boost of energy? Here are some ideas that are recommended by health professionals. (a) Get out into the daylight at least thirty minutes a day, or at least pen up those blinds. (b) Exercise when possible, but never exercise when you have a temperature of 99.5 degrees F or above. (c) Eat vegetables! B-vitamins, found in whole grains, green vegetables, potatoes, and beans, keep your immune system primed and stave off winter bugs. They also help produce neurotransmitters in the brain, which moderate your moods. When your vitamin B supply is off-kilter, you’re more likely to feel depressed, stressed, anxious, and cranky. (d) Make personal time for yourself. Splurge on a new journal or some new pjs to get you through the winter months.
 There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Before cold season hits, talk with your doctor about what is “normal” and “not normal” for someone with your illness-make a “cold plan.” This way if you get a cold, you will know how soon to call your doctor and what over the counter medications you can safely take. Talk to your doctor now about whether a flu shot would be recommended.
 Chapped lips bothering you? The Mayo Clinic recommends applying a moisturizer to your lips daily or as needed. You can use a lip balm or skin moisturizer. Generally, the greasier the products, the better. If all else fails, a humidifier in your home may help.
 Recent research has proven what we’ve known all along! Those who are more committed to their religious or spiritual beliefs, practice them frequently, and rely on them in their everyday lives receive significant mental and physical health benefits as a result!
Don’t miss Lisa Copen’s new consumer magazine, HopeKeepers, for people
who live with chronic illness or pain and the sponsor of Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Articles, chat, groups. http://www.restministries.org