(1) Get Adequate Sleep
When our body is well rested, it is able to function at its best. There are a lot of bodily processes that happen while we are sleeping- different hormones are active while you sleep, and your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in. We spend a lot of our time in our sympathetic, or fight or flight nervous system, during the day. This system naturally shunts blood away from our abdomen and to our arms and legs (gearing us up to run away, or fight). When sleeping, you are utilizing your parasympathetic nervous system most often, increasing blood flow to your organs and allowing for tissue repair. If you are wondering about how you stack up with your sleep, you can track it on a number of Apps- I have utilized Sleep Cycle in the past. If you have difficulty calming your mind, try utilizing Headspace, the meditation app, before going to sleep. They have a specific package meant to promote better sleep.
(2) Keep up with your Nutrition
Anytime is an okay time to splurge, but during the holidays it is easy to go overboard. Eating things outside of your norm is typical and expected during this time, but be sure you stick to a nutrition plan and don’t just let it slip by the wayside. An easy way to do this is a food journal or utilizing myfitness pal to track what you’re eating.
Why it’s important: Sugar and fatty foods contribute to inflammation in the body, which can lead to downstream effects that suppress immune system health.
Holiday treats are amazing and meant to be enjoyed, but make sure you are keeping an eye on how much you are eating. Sugar is known to suppress the immune system in some cases- especially in diabetics. For more information on this, check out this article.
If you’re interested in tasty, healthy treats with natural sweeteners check out our previous blog posts! We have tons of easy to prep treats and even meals if you are hosting your family for the holidays.
(3) Move your Body
Why it’s important: Getting proper exercise has been shown to temporarily increase macrophages, the cells that go around and attack bacteria. Movement also provides increased oxygenation to the tissues throughout the body. You don’t need to do an intense work out every day- if you don’t have a lot of time or space, try doing yoga to get breath and movement working together.
(4) Stock up on supplements!
During this time, it is especially essential to have Vitamin D. During the winter, this gets depleted as the days shorten and many Americans have a shortage of vitamin D to begin with. There are a ton of studies linking vitamin D deficiency to the flu, and now, even to COVID.
If you are going to be gathering with people, and you are concerned about getting COVID, my top supplement recommendations to keep you well are Vitamin D, Zinc, and Vitamin C. If you get or have had COVID, there has been some research showing that zinc supplementation helps with restoration of taste and smell in COVID patients. The other supplement I would recommend for post COVID patients based on clinical experience would be glutathione.
(5) Proper Hydration
This is overlooked far too often. I have a whole article on it already written on this site, but the baseline amount of water you should be drinking is half of your weight in ounces of water. Example: 150 lb person should get 75 ozs of water.
If you don’t like water because it’s too bland, try adding lemon, cucumber, mint, or lime for a sprig of flavor.