This has been a tough winter for many. Here are 4 simple tips to help prevent you and your family from getting sick or, if it is too late, to lessen the duration of the cold or flu and decrease the potency of the symptoms.
- Consume a healthy diet. As a health coach, I hear all the time, “I eat well.” That means different things to different people. If you frequently eat at restaurants or even buy prepared foods at the grocery store, you are not controlling the quality of what you are consuming. However, even eating roasted vegetables from the grocery store is better than not eating any vegetables at all. Frozen vegetables are another good choice. The point is, do eat a diet that is rich in anti-oxidants which are found in fruits and vegetables. Garlic and ginger have been shown to support the immune system, so include plenty of those as well.
- Get exercise but do not beat your body up. A brisk walk, light movement such as yoga or tai chi, gentle stretching are all great ways to get exercise without putting your body into a stress situation which actually lowers the immune system.
- Prioritize sleep. So many people joke about how little sleep they get but this is no joking matter! Treat yourself like you would a small child. Start your bedtime routine 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Take a bath. Turn down the lights. Read something fun. Stay away from t.v., the phone, and e-readers. These affect hormones in our brains that make it difficult to sleep.
- Wash your hands using simple soap and water. This is so simple and so overlooked. Be sure to use a natural moisturizer to prevent your hands from cracking. Our skin is our number one barrier to protect ourselves from the outside world. Take care of it.
- Bonus: Taking advantage of salt therapy can also help prevent or recover from illness:
- Dry salt therapy thins the mucus secretions which allows unwanted bacteria to be expelled.
- Halotherapy, aka, dry salt therapy cleans and detoxifies the lungs. When I first started learning about halotherapy, my mentor told me to think of it as a toothbrush for your lungs. By cleaning and detoxifying the lungs, the respiratory system works more efficiently which allows us to increase our oxygen uptake which, in turn, gives us more energy.
- Sitting in a salt room or salt cave lowers stress levels as does meditation and yoga, which can also be done in the salt room. Chronic stress wears down and weakens the immune system so relieve some of that stress by taking a break and relaxing.
Supporting your immune system is the key to being healthy. If you are struggling with any of these things, a Functional Medicine Health Coach can help you get on the path to optimal health.