These are currently stressful times, even more so with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Humans are extremely resilient. Our bodies have an innate intelligence called the immune system that defends us against infections. A healthy immune system recognizes what is foreign, killing viruses, bacteria, fungi and eliminating toxins. Stress, fatigue, and fear lower the immune system. Here are 10 things you can do to boost your immune system and resilience.
1) Sleep—sleep is the time the body repairs. Sleeping 7-8 hours helps boost the immune system.
2) Hydrate and Humidify—keeping a moist environment internally help the nervous system and cells to function optimally. Staying hydrated helps the lymphatic system flush out toxins. Keeping your home humidified during cold weather helps the respiratory mucus membranes defend and fight off viruses.
3) Anti-inflammatory diet—eat fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality protein, preferably organic. It provides nutrients and vitamins that help cells to function optimally, and the immune system to make more protein-based antibodies to fight off viruses.
4) Exercise—20 min of walking or any exercise you enjoy at a moderate level for 20-30min helps the immune system to circulate more efficiently, to kill viruses and bacteria. Exercise helps the lymphatic system to flush out toxins. You can even start with 10 minutes, if you haven’t been exercising.
5) Laughter—you’ve heard the old adage: “laughter is the best medicine.” It is both relaxing and releases neurochemicals (neuropeptides) that boost the immune system.
6) Stay Connected through Technology: we have been asked to socially isolate for a period of time, however, isolation isn’t beneficial to the immune system. This is a great time to use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or any other useful technology to stay connected with loved ones and friends, and still keeps us mindful of social distancing for now.
7) Fresh Air—most of us in VT and upstate NY are fortunate enough to have good quality air: crack a window to recirculate air in your home. Walk in nature, get some fresh air, it helps to helps circulate more oxygen which strengthens the immune system. Try Forest bathing which has been shown to be relaxing, and will boost the immune system (just be aware of tick exposure).
8) Relax—the stress hormone cortisol lowers immune system functioning, especially long-term stress. Stay informed about the Coronavirus, but limit your time on media, as fear is being amplified by the what is unknown. Read fun, inspiring books, listen to Ted Talks, YouTube, podcasts, or watch uplifting movies. Anything that helps you to chill.
9) Meditate—whatever form of meditation, prayer, contemplation you find beneficial will help lower the stress levels of cortisol, and activate parts of the brain (frontal cortex) that enhance awareness, compassion and executive decision making—helping you make healthier choices, and boost your immune system. While Hand Washing for 20 seconds, say a prayer in gratitude, in your own way, for your health and well-being, your family, community, healthcare community, and the world.
10) Gratitude—take a moment for all you have to be grateful for. Making a list of 5 or 10 things you are grateful for will amplify your wellbeing, reduce stress, and anxiety, to support your immune system.
These are powerful lifestyle practices in stressful times for Health Conscious living.
Blessings to you and your loved ones!
For more additional information:
How to Boost Your Immune System: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
Forest Bathing: https://time.com/5259602/japanese-forest-bathing/