I am writing this Blog as we are living a summer with COVID 19 with continued border closings, social distancing, diligent hand washing and wearing our masks. It is a scary time right now. During times of change and uncertainty it can help to feel like there are still things that you can do for yourself to give you some sense control in your life.
Obviously we have all the recommendations from Public Health regarding what we should be doing to minimize our exposure and should adhere to all of them. BUT Is there anything else that you can do to help you and your family? Yes there is, keep reading……
One of the steps you can take is to implement some lifestyle modifications to try to support your immune system. I am not saying that will stop you from getting the virus if you are exposed but certainly having a strong immune system will put your body in a better position to cope with the virus as it fights it off.
Here are some fundamental strategies you can use that will help your immune system:
- Get enough sleep. Our bodies go into restorative mode when we sleep. If you are sleep deprived you get an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, and that can have a negative impact on our immunity.
- Reduce stress. This can be a hard one to do right now with all the worry about the pandemic and the impact on ourselves, family members, and our community. Your stress level does have an impact on your immune system so developing strategies to manage your stress will not only help you just feel better but will also support stronger immunity.
- Minimize how much time you check in with the media regarding updates on Covid 19. Having the news on all day listening to what is happening around the world is just going to add to your stress. Stay informed but give yourself a break from the news. I was a bit obsessed with the news myself but I realized I needed to limit how often I was checking the news, social media feeds etc.
- Connect with friends and family more frequently using technology and if appropriate and safe have social distancing visits. Connection is a fundamental hard-wired behaviour for humans when they are stressed. We need our clan to survive, it is primal. Luckily today we have so much technology we do not need to sit at home alone, stewing and feeling overwhelmed. In my own family we have organized several Zoom (video conference app) gatherings with friends and family. For example one is Games Night one evening/week with our adult children and their partners. We have discovered some fun games we can play – charades and even some online card games while on Zoom so we can talk with each other while we play. Organize a virtual coffee gathering. Of course you can also reach out to individuals with texts, phone, FaceTime. We are celebrating a friend’s birthday this way. Get imaginative and have fun with it.
- Move your body – I saw the funniest thing this morning. When I looked out our back window I could see our neighbour in his backyard doing lunge walks holding weights over his head. It just looked particularly funny because we have a high back fence so all I could see were the weights going up and down as he walked the fence line. Good for him though he is getting some fresh air, exercise and keeping himself and others safe. So Move your body either in your home, in your backyard, potentially a park just practise social distancing. If you are not sure where to start with this you can request my Free 4 Week Exercise at home Program.
- Great to develop a practice of meditation and deep breathing. This is very therapeutic and there are so many ways to go about this. Just look online for ideas or download an app that will guide you through a meditation. As well, you can access my Meditation Guide here,
3. Strengthen Immunity through Nutrition. Our immune system is our front line of defense against pathogens, meaning “things” that enter our body that are not meant to be there. So with Covid 19 this is obviously a virus that is not meant to be living within us. Our immune system is our army of warriors attempting to kill of the virus so our health can be restored. This is a natural process so anything we can do to help support our warriors in this battle is a good thing. Nutrition can have a huge impact on our warriors both good and bad. Limiting foods that have been shown to tax our immune system is a great starting point so this would include limiting, sugar, processed foods with trans fats and alcohol. Incorporating high nutrient foods into your daily intake will support your warriors. This includes eating several servings of vegetables/day and try to eat a variety of colours, so greens, reds, orange, yellows etc. Fruits are fantastic for their health benefits, especially berries, but they are a sugar so don’t overdo them, a couple of servings/day is fine. Healthy fats are also a integral part of our immunity so don’t be afraid of fat but make sure you are using the healthier ones to support immunity. These include oils from olives, coconuts, avocados, and your nuts and seeds are full of great nutrients and healthy fats, ideally raw and Not roasted. This is a big topic to cover in detail in this article but if you know you need to make some changes and not sure what it would take to “eat clean” then you can request my Free Online 28 Day Eat Clean Program here where you can learn more about eating clean and you can access to all sorts of delicious simple recipes to make this transition easier and more fun!!
4. Intermittent Fasting boosts immunity and reduces risk factors. Intermittent Fasting has been shown to strengthen our immune system because of a process called autophagy. When we have periods of time when we do not eat with fasting your body will get rid of damaged cells and it will stimulate the production of new healthy cells. This is why there has also been extensive research done on using IF as part of cancer treatments to boost post treatment immunity. This is an excellent strategy to strengthen your immune system. Not to mention that Intermittent Fasting is a great way to reduce body fat and help regulate blood sugar issues due to insulin resistance. It is been well documented that obesity and diabetes increase the risk of people having poorer health outcomes when do get Covid. So this is the time to seriously consider losing weight and getting your blood sugar issues under control. This is the reason that Intermittent Fasting is one of the cornerstones in all my weight loss programs. You can request my Free Guide to Intermittent Fasting by using this link, Intermittent Fasting Guide
Hopefully this has given you some inspiration to see that there are things you can do to help to improve your health, your immunity and quality of life as you navigate through this pandemic. Just start with one change and build from there. You don’t have to do it all at once, gradually consistent change is better than nothing. Stay safe and Stay well.