This year in particular has been tough for everyone’s immune systems. From the COVID-19 pandemic to seasonal allergies, to the upcoming flu season, it’s been a tricky task to stay as healthy as possible. Quarantine, social-distancing, and societal changes have made many people’s lifestyles and habits change, but it’s still key to remember there are ways you can be taking care of yourself heading into the colder months. If you find yourself in the majority of people that struggle staying healthy towards the end of the year, look no further. Here are some small ways to help you combat winter illness.
Schedule time with your doctor
Being proactive about your health, rather than reactive, is a monumental mindset to either adopt or adjust to as the months go on. This means being ahead of the game and meeting with your doctor before the season to set up a plan of attack for the winter. Since your doctor is the most knowledgeable source of information and advice regarding your health history, what’s going around in your area, and what you can do specifically to fight off any sicknesses, this advice customized particularly to you can make an extreme impact on your overall wellness.
Remember that working with a medical professional should be a two-way dialogue as you prepare a plan of attack for your immune system. Come to the conversation with ideas in mind, questions you want to be answered, and even specific goals you want to achieve. They are there to help you so take advantage!
Stock up on your medicines
Just like taking the initiative to see your doctor before you get sick, the same goes for filling up your medicine cabinet. Medication is a huge piece to the puzzle when it comes to recovering from illness, and being prepared ahead of time makes it significantly easier to recover. If you can’t make it to the pharmacy when you’re sick or you’re too contagious to leave the house, being over-prepared can save you a lot of stress. These scenarios can happen all too often. If you find yourself in this situation, test out a digital medicine delivery service to get your OTC remedies and health essentials delivered to your front porch. Additionally, with the rise in popularity lately to the access of telemedicine doctors, their guidance can help you too as you order the medicines you need to your home. Capitalize on these options!
Something else to keep in mind when stocking up on your medicines is reflecting on the history of your immune system and what symptoms you experience most, and build your cabinet around that. Remember you should have a little bit of everything, but if you suffer the most from say, a runny nose, or headaches, be sure to bulk up more in that category.
Double up on self-care
Simply put, our bodies love routines. They help our immune system, organs, and even brain maintain a process of restoration and refreshment. This means that being mindful and remembering that your self-care routine can actually help your body prepare for potential pathogens that can get you sick.
This means creating a pattern of eating, sleeping, and exercising so you don’t confuse your body and you can encourage your body defenses to be ready to protect you. Some easy examples you can implement into your day-to-day lifestyle is planning your daily meals to be eaten at the same time, planning your sleep schedule ahead of time so you get adequate shut-eye, and even relieving some mental stress by doing exercise. Mental health is an often-forgotten aspect of overall wellness that does in fact contribute to your immune system and homeostasis of your body.
Fuel your body with proper food
Dietary changes can be the most noticeable and impactful changes you can make if you want to strengthen your immune system. Since food is the simplest way to obtain the nutrients and supplements you need for your body to thrive, adding healthy meals (and being thoughtful about it) can help you not only feel better physically but also helps prevent you from getting sick.
Here are some of our favorite winter-time immune boosters and why they’re valuable:
- Citruses: Fruits like oranges and lemons are full of Vitamin-C, a vitamin our bodies simply don’t receive as much of during the colder months of winter. This nutrient helps protect you from the common cold and gives you that extra daily boost you need.
- Probiotics: Yogurt and sauerkraut are just a few examples of foods that have probiotics in them, aka nutrients that help out your gut health. Since many viruses and bacteria can end up in this part of the body, fortifying your gut with healthy nutrients will keep these away.
- Vitamin A and D: When it comes to disease resistance these two nutrients are some of the most important. Sweet potatoes and carrots are some Vitamin A rich foods while mushrooms and salmon are great for Vitamin D.
Check out this list for even more ideas on what to add to your meal rotation.
Exercise when you can
It’s no secret that exercising during the pandemic has become a difficult habit to maintain. With gyms shut down for months and motivation for many at an all-time low, adding exercise back into the forefront of your mind is a key aspect of keeping your immune system nice and strong. However, with the introduction of at-home workouts, it’s becoming a little easier to get your heart rate going and the blood pumping.
The reason exercise is so important for your immune system is because of the movement of your specialized immune cells. Aerobic exercises in particular increase blood movement along with cells that kill pathogens that normally sit in your nodes and organs. Moving your muscles and getting your heart beating makes cell-flow much more abundant and helps these specialized cells reach parts of the body they normally wouldn’t. Some ways to introduce this kind of exercise into your daily routine is investing in some home workout equipment or even trying a new outdoor activity. Chipping away at improving your workouts over time will help you combat any potential illnesses.
As the months come quick and soon, it’s key to remember some of these elements as you prepare your body for flu, allergy, and cold season. No one likes being sick, and even if you’re able to help yourself out in the smallest of ways, it’s definitely worth putting in the effort!