Look no further; we’ve got you covered with the best tips to help keep you safe and sniffle-free this winter. Follow this guide to protect yourself and help boost your immune system.
Get quality sleep.
Our bodies do important work while we sleep. They repair cells and make proteins that fight infection. Getting enough sleep, and specifically, quality sleep is important to this process. We know it may be hard to get enough sleep when working 12-hour shifts as a nurse or as a parent of young children. Take the time to set yourself up for success with these tips.
- Set your thermostat to about 65 degrees for optimum sleeping temperature.
- Create a bedtime routine that does not include devices or television. Sometimes a warm shower or bath can help just prior to bed.
- Use a white noise machine or wear earplugs to soften distracting noise.
- Use blackout shades or curtains and/or wear an eye mask.
- Be consistent with bedtime routines for your children. If your children fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed, they are getting the right amount of sleep.
Pro tip: If you’re having trouble eliminating screens before bed, try wearing blue light-blocker glasses. They will help reduce the light that disturbs your circadian rhythm.
Eat immunity-boosting foods.
It’s easy to reach for prepared foods, microwave meals or vending machine finds. Resist the urge. Instead, fill your diet with the foods that help power your immune system.
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables with nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene.
- Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C but so are red bell peppers.
- Blueberries are delicious as well as nutritious and can help boost your immunity.
- Broccoli and spinach are both superfoods with vitamins and antioxidants.
- Garlic and turmeric have immune-boosting properties. Ginger helps decrease inflammation.
Make sure to hydrate.
Water helps our bodies to function. Staying well hydrated helps our bodies circulate blood more easily, which allows our white blood cells to better fight off viruses. It also keeps the mucous membranes in our noses moist so they can catch viral invaders.
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. By that point, you’re already slightly dehydrated.
- Choose a water bottle you love and bring it with you to work, errands, etc. Get into the habit of sipping throughout the day.
- If you’re bored with the taste of water, infuse it with lemon or cucumber to help encourage you to drink.
- Avoid other beverages so that you’ll drink more water. The caffeine in coffee and soda can dehydrate you, which has exactly the opposite effect of what your body needs.
- Green tea has only a small amount of caffeine, and tea has antioxidants. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for an alternative to coffee.
Reduce your stress.
When we’re stressed, our ability to fight off infection decreases. That’s why managing stress is so important.
- Take steps to avoid burnout. Slow down and give yourself breaks to protect your mental health.
- Try meditating, deep breathing, and other relaxation strategies.
- Incorporate exercise into your routine. Park farther away and walk to your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Plan a workout session that’s easy to fit into your schedule.
- Laugh more. Make time for the activities that you enjoy with the people who are important to you.
Follow healthy habits.
You can reduce your exposure to potential infections by taking the precautions that can make a difference.
- Continue proper handwashing habits. Wet your hands and then scrub them for at least 20 seconds with soap. That’s equivalent to humming Happy Birthday twice. Rinse with clean, running water. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available.
- Reduce allergens in your home to improve indoor air quality.
- Keep your classroom at a comfortable temperature for learning.
- Don’t use handkerchiefs. Use disposable tissues and discard them when done.
- Don’t smoke. Drink alcohol in moderation. Both tobacco and alcohol can affect your body’s ability to fight infections.
- Keep up to date on your vaccinations
Do you have a way to stay healthy that’s not included in this blog? Share it with us in the comments.
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