We all want to know what we can do to give our bodies the best opportunity to stay strong and healthy during this global health crisis. A strong immune system can help fend off viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
Some of the best ways to boost your immunity are the basic guidelines we all know: Eat well, exercise, practice good personal hygiene and reduce stress.
Consider adopting the strategies included to help your mind, body and spirit remain calm, strong and resilient as we face this unsettling time together.
Physical • Eat whole, clean, unprocessed foods that are heavy on fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. You can boost your immunity with a focus on antioxidant-rich foods such as red berries, dark green veggies, beans, grapes, nuts, sweet potatoes, orange veggies, blueberries, whole grains, green tea, garlic and omega 3 fish such as wild Alaska salmon, sardines, herring and wild trout. • Keep hydrated by drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water, sparkling water and tea. • Avoid sugars and highly processed foods. If it has more than five ingredients, and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, put it back on the shelf. • Get quality sleep. Even though your schedule might have changed, seven to nine hours of sleep is even more important, as it gives your body time to rejuvenate and heal. • Practice personal hygiene, including proper hand washing, cleaning up your environment and keeping your hands away from your face. • Keep moving. Even as we self-isolate, we can walk outside, practice yoga and take virtual classes. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of movement each week.
Emotional • Excessive worry about the future does not serve you or your loved ones. Depression and anxiety can run rampant in such uncertain times. Seek professional assistance if the emotional impact becomes too heavy a burden. • Stay updated from reliable sources, but don’t binge watch predictions or get caught up in the drama. If we bond together to protect ourselves and each other, we might just come out of the other side of this stronger and more prepared for the next crisis. • Focus on the champions. A crisis can bring out the best in individuals, families and communities. • Physical distancing does not mean you have to halt communication. In fact, staying emotionally connected is even more important for our • well-being right now. Connect with those who are self-isolating and those at high risk to help them manage their fears or loneliness. People are finding creative and safe ways to connect from a distance. • Manage your stress. It’s easier said than done in times like these, but there are ways to stay calm and focused on positivity. • Deep breath clean, fresh air. Get outside and soak in some sunshine. Only 15-20 minutes of sunshine can boost your vitamin D level. • Keep a schedule. If you are staying at home, it is easy to sleep late, stay up later, live in your PJs and not practice your normal self-care routine. Keeping your routine can bring normalcy to your day. • Find reasons to laugh every day. Yes, our situation is serious. But laughter reduces stress and can be healing for the mind, body and spirit. • Practice mindfulness and gratitude. When the future is so uncertain, it is even more important to practice living in the moment. Find things to be grateful for each day. Blessings are all around us, even in the worst of times.
Spiritual • Try not to give in to fear, and use this time in a positive and productive way. Choosing love and compassion always is a better solution to any problem. Some things are out of our control, but we always have control of our lifestyle choices and how we choose to think. • Use this time to create something, plant a garden, learn a new skill, finish a project or read for pleasure or self-improvement. • Practice mindful meditation on a walk. Quiet time spent in nature can calm the mind and heal the spirit. • We all are grieving something — the loss of a job, our freedom of movement, financial security or just our normal routine. Recognizing, accepting and talking about our loss is healing when done with a trusted friend or professional. • We all need sacred, quiet time to reflect on who we are and what we want to create in our life. The fast pace of our lives does not always allow this. Let’s reframe this time as a gift, not only for our self- development but for learning how we can use our talents to be of service to others. • If you have never practiced meditation or some form of connection to a higher power, now is a good time to start. Having a faith-based daily practice is a key to health and longevity.
At times like these, when the future is uncertain and life seems out of control, remember that you do have control of your lifestyle choices and how you respond in a crisis physically, emotionally and spiritually. You are not alone. Together, we can come through this stronger and more compassionate human beings. ~Dr. Linda Peterson holds a PhD in Higher Education, a MA in Mental Health Counseling, and is a Board-certified Counselor. As a certified Life Purpose and Health and Wellness Coach, Linda helps her clients make positive and lasting changes to their overall well-being.