You’re wearing a mask and you’ve had your flu shot. You’re doing your part to keep others safe. We thank you! Now let’s focus on keeping you healthy this season, too.
Below are impactful, simple ways to prime your immune system for a season of wellness.
Wash hands frequently. Wash hands thoroughly.
This is a crucial line of defense against germs and infection. Be sure you wash up the right way, whether you’ve been out in public or are hanging out inside with friends and family members.
If you drink, consume alcohol in moderation.
This is particularly relevant during the holidays. Holiday obligations, schedules, and festivities can put a strain on your immune system and suddenly self-care slips on your priority list (it happens to all of us). If you do drink, make sure you’re familiar with and considering CDC guidelines on moderate alcohol consumption.
Maintain a healthy diet.
That means focusing on balanced meals with immune-boosting nutrients. Make a goal to eat 5–7 servings of fruits and veggies most days, so you get plenty of vitamins and minerals needed to boost your immune system. And, consider a healthy protein source, whether plant-based like beans, nuts, seeds, and lentils, or animal-based like chicken, yogurt, eggs, and fish.
Get your rest.
This means adequate sleep (aim for 7–9 hours) and regular periods of mindfulness (disconnect, unplug, and slow down in general). We recommend combining the two — disconnect from all screens at least an hour prior to bedtime. Relax with a warm bath or meditation app to get your body in sleep-mode.
Stick with your exercise routine.
Regular exercise contributes to overall good health, and by extension, helps to maintain a healthy immune system. While a balance of cardiovascular activity and strength training is ideal, a baseline of exercise is a healthy goal through the holidays. And you don’t have to go crazy: a brisk walk often does the trick. Opt for rest mixed with brief periods of activity if you’re already sick.
Avoid indoor gatherings, especially this year.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic and we’re in the depths of cold and flu season. Stay away from indoor get-togethers with folks outside your household. And if you must be inside, wear a mask and keep more than six feet apart.
Not only does smoking compromise your immune system in the short term, it also puts you at increased risk for disease and cancer over the long term. The American Cancer Society offers a great ‘Guide to Quitting’ to help get you started. Check-in with your primary care physician and get set up with the support you’ll need to keep going.
Mind your stress level.
This is a tough one! Still, we recommend finding moments to chill out through the holidays. Carbon Health’s Sarah Borish, Ph.D., shares her tips on combating stress this season in her latest article.