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Keep the Malaise at Bay

Malaise refers to a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease, often without a specific or identifiable cause. It can manifest as a combination of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, including fatigue, lethargy, weakness, or a sense of overall unwellness. While malaise can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, it can also result from factors such as stress, lack of sleep, or a sedentary lifestyle. Without proper treatment, malaise can lead to a weak and unsteady immune system that makes our bodies open and more susceptible to germs. If you feel like everywhere you turn, someone is sick, you may not be wrong. Illnesses and a variety of other maladies seemingly wreak havoc on the general population heavily in the winter and early spring months. Let's face it, being sick is crummy enough but being sick and caring for a child (sick or not) is a feat that goes above and beyond. While we can't avoid winter completely, there are some things we can do to proactively avoid or alleviate malaise and keep the unnecessary germs out of our stratosphere:

  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: Adopt a balanced diet rich in nutrients. I recently met with a nutritionist, Samantha Walters, RDN, LDN from Nourish who gave me some great ideas on quick and easy ways to substitute things in my diet for foods that will give me more energy and keep me fuller longer.

  • Get Adequate Sleep: Ensure you get enough quality sleep each night. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a comfortable sleep environment to support restful sleep. Physical exhaustion can impact our immune systems (check out this article).

  • Manage Stress: Practice stress-management techniques, such as mindfulness, meditation, deep-breathing exercises, or yoga. These activities can help alleviate stress and reduce feelings of malaise.

  • Stay Active: Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining both physical and mental health. Staying active can decrease stress and in turn, help protect your immune system (Psychology of the Common Cold). So, find some ways to get active, even if it's just a short workout or a walk around the block.

  • Take Breaks: Avoid long periods of continuous work or sedentary activities. Take short breaks to stretch, move around, and refresh your mind. This can prevent physical and mental fatigue.

  • Hydrate: Dehydration can contribute to feelings of malaise. Ensure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated.

  • Address Underlying Health Issues: If malaise is persistent or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

  • Prioritize Mental Health: Pay attention to your mental health and seek support if needed. If feelings of malaise are related to stress, anxiety, or depression, professional counseling or therapy may be beneficial.

  • Maintain a Life of Balance: Strive for a healthy balance between work, personal life, and relaxation. Avoid overcommitting to ensure you have time for self-care and leisure activities. Staying proactive about managing your time to allow space in your life to take care of yourself is crucial to staying healthy, mentally and physically. If you have trouble figuring out what things to say 'no' to and how to not over-commit, think about whether you want to do said activity AND whether you have space in your life for it. (Check out this great article on Saying No!)

If you leave space in your life to truly care for yourself, you may avoid the dreadful malaise! Or you may do all the things right and still get sick! It's a bummer and can sometimes feel like a setback but it's still important to take care of yourself so you can heal quickly.

baby with stethoscope pretending to play doctor with stuffed bear
Avoid malaise by prioritizing your own health and wellness.

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