How Stress Can Shut Down Your Immune System

Updated: Apr 23, 2020



Many covered in sticky notes
I'm stressed just thinking about all of those stickie notes | Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

The lead-up to my thirtieth birthday was intense. My online business was still in a state of flux, which of course left me in a state of pure hustle. Building a community, securing new clients, all while trying to figure out the direction it would take—no one warned me it would be like this!


Fortunately, there was light at the end of the tunnel.


I was receiving positive feedback, successfully implementing new strategies and my fiancé decided to surprise me with a trip to the Bahamas! I was ready to burst with excitement! You’d better believe that I was going to bust my ass to make up for that vacation, though. From the moment I learned I was being swept away to paradise, I went into a mode that my fiancé lovingly calls “Business Katie.”


“Eat”

“Sleep”

Work

Repeat


Seven months of it.


Anxiety built. Stress mounted. I didn’t care and it really didn’t matter because I was getting shit done. I was too busy knocking out some solid work in order to create a strong foundation to stand on once I returned from my trip. I wanted to succeed at all costs and no amount of birthday celebration was going to get in the way.


By the time we set foot in paradise, I was still wound so tightly that the first four days were less of a break and more of a transition. When Day Five rolled around, I gave myself permission to take it easy.


Day Six quickly became Day One of a six-week flu.


Suddenly wracked by my body’s desperate need to heal, I was lucky to fight it off long enough to get home. The timing wasn’t a coincidence. As is the case with many of the stress-related occurrences in my life, I was diving headlong into the effects that come after a modern-day fight-or-flight response.

So what happened?