I really do not like winter. It’s actually borderline hatred. I obviously love holidays, time with family, hot chocolate, sweaters…ya know, all things winter related. But I dislike the cold so much. This is my first winter in Cleveland, so my character is really being tested : )
This is the view from my bedroom window right now.
My number one reason for disliking winter is cold and flu season. No one likes being sick, and when one family member gets sick it turns into the domino effect of everyone getting sick. I would totally build a bubble around my family to keep us healthy if I could.
There is no 100% fool proof way to avoid sickness, as even the vaccine isn’t perfect, but I am a firm believer in prevention. If you take care of your body, your body will take care of itself.
*Let me add that I am all for going to the doctor when needed, but there is not much they can do for the typical cold/flu.
Here are my tips for keeping your immune system at full power during cold and flu season
1.Eat a healthy, nutrient packed diet-Hippocrates said “let food be thy medicine”. If we eat healthy, we will be healthy. It’s so easy to fall into the unhealthy food trap at this time of year. Something about the shorter days makes me want to be lazy and order a pizza. But it’s important to be focused on consuming healthy foods now more than ever. A diet rich in veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins is your first line of defense against germs.
2.Exercise often– This doesn’t have to be a crazy amount of exercise, and even something as simple as daily walks can boost your immune system. Exercise provides positive changes to antibodies and white blood cells, allowing the body to naturally fight off bacteria and disease.
3. Wash your hands with soap and water- You touch your eyes, nose, and mouth more than you realize. Frequent hand washing prevents the germs from entering your body and reduces potential of spreading germs to others. Here are some great tips on when and how to properly wash your hands. Be sure to discuss these techniques with your children.
4. Get enough rest– I realize this is easier said than done. My kiddo still does not sleep through the night consistently, but I do make sleep a priority. If you’re not sleeping enough you may need to evaluate what you’re doing that is stopping you. Sleep is when your body heals itself and recharges. See if you can make simple changes such as less tv binge watching or no late night web surfing to allow for more shut eye.
5. Reduce stress-We cannot eliminate stress, but we can become more effective at managing it. Exercising and getting enough rest are excellent tools to help manage stress, as is meditating (future post to come on how I meditate). Laughing more is also a key tool in overall stress reduction. Do more of whatever makes you happy.
6. Soak up the sun– Vitamin D is a natural immune system hero. It’s too cold to spend any significant time outside at this time of year in Cleveland, but if it’s warm enough where you are then get outside! I am taking vitamin D supplements to ensure that I am getting enough in my diet. *I did consult with my doctor before doing so and recommend that you do the same before starting any supplements.
And my final bonus tip: if you’re sick PLEASE stay home!
Drop a comment with any extra tips you may have for staying healthy this time of year.