Over the past 18 months, we’ve all come to better understand the importance of boosting our immune system. As we head into cold and flu season – along with the stresses that can come along with the holidays — it’s vital that we take the time now to front-load our bodies with as much goodness as possible so that we can remain healthy during the winter.
Helping out your immune system is pretty easy, and you’re likely doing some of these techniques already. Check out the suggestions below to see just how easy it is to set your future self up for good health.
Derived from plants, essential oils are a great way to reduce stress and kick the air cooties to the curb. Whether you’re using them through a diffuser, taking them internally, or wearing them on jewelry, there are many benefits to these oils that truly are essential. A quick note, though, before going down the EO rabbit hole: Do your research. Some oils aren’t great to be used on the skin (due to irritants or sun sensitivity). Some aren’t great to be taken internally (meaning placed in your mouth directly or sipped in your water, etc.). Also, check out the ethics of the company you’re purchasing from. I used to be a rep for a well-known EO company. When I learned that they don’t harvest their plants ethically, I not only stopped selling their products, I also stopped recommending them and buying their goods.
Drink More Water
Hydration is the key to overall wellness. Most of us are dehydrated and don’t even know it. Did you know that the body registers the sensation of hunger before thirst, and when you feel thirsty, you’re already in a dehydrated state? True story. Oftentimes, when we feel a twang of hunger, it’s actually the body’s way of saying gimme something to drink. The next time you feel like you want a snack, try drinking 8 ounces of water. Then wait about 30 minutes and see how you feel. If your tummy is rumbling, grab some food (and make good choices that will continue to boost your immune system!).
Let’s be real. We all need quality downtime. Not screwing around on your phone while you’re watching TV. Like actual restorative rest. Try going to sleep a little earlier. That’s an easy task made even easier now that we semi-recently set our clocks back an hour. Meditation is another source of quality rest, as is Yoga Nidra. When you really need to catch up on your zzzzz’s, take a short nap. But try to identify why you need the nap in the first place, and then do what you can to remedy that issue.
Move Your Body Daily
Whenever possible, get in some movement each and every day. No need to go to the gym or run a marathon. Stretching in your bedroom, walking in your neighborhood, and dancing in your living room are easy ways to do good for your body. Try for at least 30 minutes a day. Can’t do it in one block of time? No prob. Break it up into bite-sized bits to fit your schedule. Just get moving each day in some way, and your body will thank you.
I think we all know that eating fast food is a shit way to take care of your body. But so is eating out every night, even in “good” restaurants. Cooking for yourself doesn’t have to be complicated or extravagant. Some easy principles are to eat way more veggies, less meat and dairy, wayyyy less sugar and booze, and serve yourself smaller portions. Before you know it, your body will be singing the happy song.
Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and helps out the immune, digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems.
There are several ways you can get Vitamin D into your body:
*Soak up the sun(without sunscreen) for 10-15 minutes a day, putting your arms, legs, torso, and back in the golden rays.
*Eat fatty fish like salmon.
*Chow down on mushrooms (fun fact: did you know that you can put mushrooms in the sun and they’ll absorb the Vitamin D as well? How cool is that?!)
*Take a supplement. Before you begin taking a large dosage, it’s best to get your blood levels checked to see how much Vitamin D you already have in your system. When I first had mine checked, I was severely low. I take big doses now (because it’s appropriate and I’m under a doctor’s care), and it’s changed my life. When buying a D3/K2 combo, find one that has at least 1,000 IU’s of D Vitamin in it. My doc recommends at least 5,000 IU’s a day during flu season, but, again, get your levels checked first. And be sure to get the D3/K2 combo, because Vitamin K helps the body absorb the Vitamin D.
If this list overwhelms you to the point of inaction, try doing just one this week and see how it goes. Baby steps are sometimes the best way to make impactful changes. Here’s to your good health!