11/03/2011 09:07 EDT | Updated 01/07/2016 11:59 EST

5 Tips for Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

Winter is just around the corner and with it the advent of the dreaded cold and flu season.

This year, follow these five tips and increase your chances of staying sniffle-free:

1. Manage your stress.

Stress weakens the immune system making us susceptible to infection.

Don't let stress get the better of you; try meditation or yoga, both proven to reduce stress and anxiety.

Meditation can be as simple as taking a few minutes out of your morning to sit in quiet contemplation, or to take a walk in the park after your lunch. Slowing down and tuning in to yourself will help you to stay grounded, keeping your worries at bay.

Yoga reduces stress by calming our nervous systems. A regular practice also gives us the tools to productively handle challenging situations in our everyday lives. We practice with awareness and in turn we live with awareness, one breath at a time.

2. Do Yoga.

Yoga keeps us fit and strong which encourages a healthy immune system.

In yoga we practice many different asanas (poses) which all have several benefits. Chest-opening yoga poses are proven to strengthen the immune system and ward off illness. As a yoga instructor, I make sure to include several chest-opening asana in my classes, particularly at this time of year.

Restorative yoga, which uses props to support the body in various poses, is a wonderfully relaxing way to stay healthy. In restorative yoga we stay in the poses for a considerable amount of time (five to 15 minutes) to encourage deep relaxation. Once we enter into this state of deep relaxation, our body's natural healing processes are accessed and we are able to recover more quickly from a cold or boost our immunity, avoiding illness altogether.

3. Eat Healthy.

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is also crucial to maintaining a strong immune system. Try to eat a colourful assortment of fruits and veggies as well as whole grains and lean protein at every meal. Frequent your local farmers' market and enjoy in season produce while you support food workers in your neighbourhood!

Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated and to flush out toxins. Try to avoid white breads and pastas, which have been bleached and stripped of nutritional value. Stay away from additives, chemicals and processed foods. Junk food has no nutritional value and puts stress on your body as you attempt to process and eliminate theses unnecessary toxins.

4. Get plenty of Rest.

We need good quality sleep to recharge and re-energize. Aim for eight hours of uninterrupted rest per night.

Avoid keeping TVs and computers in the bedroom and create a peaceful environment to encourage deep sleep. Try to keep the room dark, and consider using an eye mask if your home is particularly bright. Turn off phones and other potentially interrupting devices.

Avoid stressful activities like watching the news right before bed. Instead take 20 minutes or half an hour before bedtime to calm down and unwind. Enjoy a warm cup of calming chamomile tea or sit in quiet meditation. Think of something in your life, which makes you feel grateful. Focus on the positive and breathe in gratitude as you prepare for a healing night's sleep.

5. Boost your Body.

Keep your immune system strong with supplements and tinctures available at your local health food stores.

During cold and flu season try echinacea as a preventative measure. Echinacea comes in several forms, most commonly drops and teas, and is a popular remedy against colds.

Oil of oregano also helps maintain a healthy immune system. It can be used as a preventative by taking several drops daily or as a curative by increasing the dosage for the duration of a cold of flu.

Zinc lozenges help sooth a sore throat, vitamin B12 helps boost energy and Vitamin C is well known to fight off colds.

Stay fit and healthy this winter by getting plenty of rest, reducing your stress, eating well and strengthening your immune system with supplements and yoga.

Charlotte Singmin

Lotus Girl Yoga

Find Peace. Give Love. Do Yoga.