Well,we’ve been deep in the throws of the ‘season of sick’ for over a month and from the looks of social media and headlines, we’re in a dire state!! Have you been sick yet?
Whether you have, or haven’t, I bet you want to stay well now, right? And isn’t it a pain when someone who is sick with the flu or some-such-other illness provides you a serving tray of their germs out in public? We’re not hear to discuss why and when people go out and about when they are sick, BUT, it is kind of hard to control other people’s behavior, right? So, let’s talk about the 4 areas that we DO have control over. I hope from this list that not much of it surprises you, but that you can take at least one thing away to boost your own health and immunity!
Stress: I know I said these were things you can control (laugh out loud.) but in all seriousness, it is our PERCEPTION of stress that creates so much acute and residual damage. Psychologists have studied and agreed forever that the state of mind affects our physical health. I would go deeper and say that the state of our internal health also impacts our perceived stress. Bottom line? If you’re feeling the impact of negative stress in your life, it’s likely opening the doors to infection, viral and bacterial.
So what do you do… here are a few ways to manage stress and create some peace:
– Practice mindfulness, be present, engage in deep breathing, on purpose. There are some great apps for this!
– Replace digital stimulation with reading or physical interaction… yes, replace social media with real conversation and scrolling for real reading- especially before bed!
– Enhance the use of your downtime…instead of showering, take a hot epsom salts bath, enjoy a magazine you’ve been wanting to look at, relax.
Sleep: Sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system. It’s a fact. And it’s not just how much sleep you’re getting, it’s the quality of that sleep!
Here are my recommendations:
– get at least 6 hours of sleep per night.
– get better quality sleep by practicing the stress reducing techniques above.
– use a magnesium spray before bed to improve both getting and staying asleep!
Nutrition: Here’s what: the Standard American Diet (SAD, right?) is void of daily values for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other amazing nutrients that we need to strengthen our immune system. Further, we want non-synthetic, natural versions of these things… if we’re giving the body something it doesn’t recognize, the immune system will be further taxed!
Here are some key immune boosters:
– Vitamins A through D! These vitamins help with innate immune function like our nose, throat and gut lining, which help stop bacteria from growing in the first place! A variety of vegetables, sustainably sourced meats, and some fruits are your staples for obtaining these vitamins, but a boost with a superfoods supplement may be necessary depending on what’s available to you where you live!
– Pro and pre biotics are stellar for helping the adaptive immune system do it’s job- adapt to dangerous germs and bacteria and get rid of them! Fermented foods, raw dairy, and some supplements are a good place to find these.
– Adaptogens- this is a food category (some plants and herbs) that have developed the ability to withstand very harsh environments…hence their names! They emulate those characteristics in your body!
Exercise: Last but not least, let me surprise you by pulling the Goldilocks card here. Too much exercise can negatively impact your immune system, while not exercising at all, can also increase your chances of getting sick! You need to find the right blend and balance of exercise to support your body, your goals, and the lifestyle you wish to lead! I suggest a consistent schedule of 4 days minimum for workouts, with a steady flow of NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis- the day to day life movement!) in between! As a runner, a general rule of thumb I follow is that if I am sick from the neck up, I run, but if it’s in my chest and belly, I rest! Click here for a great resource from Precision Nutrition, my certifying company, that outlines when to exercise and when not to!
I’ll leave you with this- people get sick. It happens. No one is above getting ill, even if they claim they haven’t been sick in 18 years because of their nutrition and supplement regimen.
Much of what we feel as sickness, is really the body trying to do its job- a runny nose, a cough, some fatigue. These things mean the body is working to rid itself of germs and potential illness. Support the body with excellent self care and you’ll bounce back faster every time!
Have questions? A unique situation? Shoot me an email or join the conversation in our free Facebook Community! Speaking of… next week, we’ll be hosting the first FREE challenge of 2018- it’s all about making the motivation last, being able to conquer your goals and overcome the obstacles that try to take us down! Join the challenge by signing up here.