Given our global situation, the buzzword of 2020 surely has to be ‘home’. Everything has become home-centric thanks to you-know-what, so I’ve been turning my thoughts to how we can stay healthy and happy without setting foot outside. Not always easy when things seem back-to-front and upside-down, right? The world is in a state of panic, and if there was ever a time to get to the chopper, this would be it.
Have faith, friends
I find that a giant dose of pragmatic optimism is important - the mindset that no matter what happens, we can handle it, we can get through it, overcome the difficulties we’re facing and come out the other side stronger and smarter, ready to face the next challenge. Sure, things are bad. But they will be good again.
Weathering this storm is not something we can do alone, however. We are stronger together. So here’s 5 simple tips you can try to help boost your immune system and keep you feeling good, all from the comfort of your home.
Try one or try them all, and push those positive vibes. You got this.
Eat the Rainbow
Self-isolation has bestowed upon me a few extra kilos. Super, thanks! It’s easy to lose track of how many calories we’re getting never mind if we’re getting enough essential micro and macro nutrients. To make sure I stay on top of my vitamin and mineral intake I like to ‘eat the rainbow’ - I don’t mean skittles (way too tempting) - I’m talking about the rainbow of fruits and veg!
We know that eating a healthy balanced diet is the first step to maintaining a healthy balanced lifestyle, and that means eating a variety of foods to help us grow and repair and thrive. Try to get a variety of colors into every mealtime - broccoli, carrots, pineapple, aubergine etc. We’re way closer to getting a decent dose of immunity boosting vitamins and minerals essential to our health. Add to that, it’s just more fun to eat colorful foods, and great if you have kids, too. Stock up on leafy greens especially, that stuff is like magic!
Stay Mindfully Connected
A few weeks ago, while South Korea was experiencing the worst we’ve seen of the pandemic, I had friends and clients reaching out to me for advice, comfort or simply a kind word. So many were feeling overwhelmed, anxious and out of control. My first answer; get off social media!!
Scrolling for days with all the negative news and hyperbolic headlines…Bad news indeed. Prolonged activation of the body’s stress response can wreak havoc on our immune system.
But studies have also seen a connection between chronic disease and loneliness, with social isolation linked to increased stress. We need to stay connected, and for many, SNS is the only way to do so.
SO…stay connected, but do so mindfully. Before you go online, make sure you have a specific plan of action. Who will you reach out to? How long will you connect for? Set an alarm to prevent mindless scrolling, and utilize your device’s ‘digital wellbeing’ function. There are lots of apps out there too, so have a look on the app store and find one that fits you.
Numerous studies have shown that being active on a regular basis is a sure fire way to feel great and stay healthy. When we exercise the body releases feel-good hormones, known as endorphins, which make us feel happier while simultaneously reducing the stress-related hormones that directly affect the body’s ability to fight off nasty bugs. Exercise it is also said to accelerate the circulation of white blood cells, needed to fight off disease.
Set aside a time every day, 10 to 30 minutes would be perfect, and stick on a YouTube home workout video. Exercising in the morning is my favorite, as it sets you up for a great day and makes you feel accomplished before you’ve even had breakfast (and will help you get a better nights sleep)!
The best thing about a home workout; at home you can exercise in your pajamas…or naked!! (but please, don’t send us those photos).
Wind Down and Catch some Zzzs
I don’t know about you, but I never feel I like I get enough sleep. Whether it’s 5 hours when I’m on a deadline or 9 hours when my son’s at his Grandparents for the weekend, I could always do with 10 more minutes.
Sleep is essential to maintaining a strong immune system, as well as being the time when the body repairs, grows and the brain consolidates memories. So developing a solid wind down routine is essential, and one of the most important parts of my day.
Usually, we turn off devices around 60 minutes before bed, drink a warm caffeine-free cuppa (I love Madame Flavour Lemongrass Lime & Ginger Tisane), brush teeth and wash faces, MOISTURIZE like there’s no tomorrow, then snuggle down and read a book before snoozing off.
And if you do feel tired during the day, take a little disco nap!
TOP TIP: Many of us like a wee nightcap before bed, and while this might make you fall asleep faster, it will actually inhibit the quality of sleep you get. Stay off the booze for a quality snooze.
Soak up the Sun!
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system, and sunlight directly onto the skin is the best way to synthesize a good dose of it. But getting outside to the ‘fun-in-the-sun’ spots during a pandemic is simply just too dangerous, so soaking up all those delicious rays of sunlight might seem like a long distant luxury of the past.
It won’t help to simply sit next to a window or in your car. Provided its safe to do so, go and open your front or back door, take a seat and enjoy some sunshine. If you have wide-opening windows crack a few and bask like a cat, or if you’re blessed with a garden jump out there and enjoy.
If this isn’t possible, you can boost your vitamin D levels through foods; the best dietary source being cod liver oil. Vitamin D supplements are also available, but you should always speak with your healthcare provider before starting a new supplement. Even if your aunt Janet’s best friend Jeannie says ‘such-and-such’ supplement is really great, speak with a professional. Jeannie can’t be trusted.
Whatever this global pandemic means for you and your wellbeing journey, one thing is certain; we need to do all we can with what we have at our disposal. Staying healthy in body and mind sets us up to more effectively deal with difficult situations, which means we can show up for ourselves and for those who need us.
Stay healthy and stay calm, friends, and we’ll get through this together!