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5 Easy Tips To Boost Your Immune System During Challenging Times

| April 22, 2020

As a Health Coach and Physical Therapist, I have been asked by many of my patients and clients about what I am doing to stay healthy during this uncertain time of Covid-19. I thought I would share my response here. My family is continuing to do many of the things we do to maintain health and boost our immune systems during the flu season. Medical experts all agree this virus is very different from the flu. Physicians at Virginia Spine Institute and all around agree it is so important during this time to be boosting your immune system. Actions to boost your immune system can be done in addition to all the other prevention measures put out by the CDC. Check the CDC website for all recommended up to date prevention tips.

When I put on my Health Coach hat, I can speak to nutrition and lifestyle aspects of boosting your immune system to help you navigate this pandemic as best you can. Some of you may have been called into action at work during this time and others may be helping by staying put at home. Both of these scenarios have their own hurdles in the efforts to stay healthy. Health Coaches specialize in helping with people like you get through these individual hurdles to reach your desired outcome .

I wanted to share with you hot off the presses, lifestyle tips from my PCP that support healthy lifestyle choices Health Coaches discuss with our clients all the time, but they are even more so important to be learning now. These tips will help you and your family boost your immunity during a time when it is paramount that we are keeping our bodies in optimal condition.

  1. Sleep: Try to achieve eight hours of sleep in a dark room. This is obvious but even I have been sucked into trying to read every article put out there on what is going on and before I know it, it is 1:00am! It is important to shut off all devices, TV/news, gaming devices at least 30 minutes before you are going to sleep so your brain can start to come down from the stimulation and actually fall asleep. It is also important to maintain a consistent sleep schedule for quality sleep. Our bodies detox and heal most between 10pm and 2am. Try to give your body an edge by allowing it to do what it is supposed to do for you by using as much of this window as you can.
  2. Nutrition: We all know we should eat healthy but I have seen so many crazy photos on social media of people’s idea of “stocking up.” This is not a snow storm people! This is a marathon and we need to prep our bodies for the race. There may not be any toilet paper out there but there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables still available. This is huge!  We need to take advantage to not waste all that is out there as long as it’s available. If the grocery store is freaking you out, then there are lots of online produce boxes available for delivery and you can choose what goes into your box. Locally in Virginia we have CSAs that will soon have lots of produce coming and that is a good way to guarantee that you can continue the flow through this time.  Frozen fruit and veggies sometimes have more nutritional value than fresh and have a better price point if you are sticking to a tight budget. Try to aim for as many greens as you can with EACH meal. Also try to each as much variety as you can get down. I also use Butcher Box for Meat delivery and Vital Choice for fish delivery. Here is the most recent article on how to navigate going to the store right now. Washing produce with vegetable spray, soap and water or just water so far seems to be deemed safe. Many of us are being forced to cook all meals at home. I think this is great but most probably won’t agree and this is a big change for a lot of you. Find some healthy bloggers that you like, try some new meals and get as many veggies in your people as you can.
  3. Stay hydrated! Be sure to drink lots of water every day.
  4. Reduce stress: Are you working in your closet, trying to homeschool your kids, living in a tight space with many sheltering, or working overtime to get all your employees mobile and online or maybe even out of work? This is a stressful time for everyone and keeping that down is HUGE! Check out free meditation apps, free exercise apps, free live streaming of yoga even if it has to be in your closet, get outside, sit in the sun for a few minutes to get some vitamin D! Lots of options, just commit to doing 5-15 min a day. It will make a difference.
  5. Maintain social connection: If you have a house full already, you can still connect online to church, friends, coworkers, check on those that are sheltering alone young and old. This is a mentally challenging time for everyone.

All these lifestyle measures can help to boost your immune system in a collective way in general and can give your body the best chance of fighting if it needs to. You can also speak to your doctor about appropriate ways to utilize Vitamin C, D, and Zinc, potentially, or other supplements. These support us in fighting off many known viruses but they are still investigating the effects of these for the current Covid-19 situation as nothing is known yet. Only time will tell. Stay healthy everyone!

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