Mindful Wellness: Building a Robust Immune System
Nobody likes getting sick, but we don't think much about it until we finally feel it coming or are faced with a global pandemic. Then we find ourselves suddenly stocking up on vitamin C and drinking herbal tea, and trying all the home remedy tricks we learned from our grandmothers. This adds to the stress you're already feeling which does the exact opposite of what you want to achieve because stress weakens your immune system! However, the best way to fight off illnesses is to prevent them in the first place, by doing simple things each day that boost the immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough quality sleep each night is so essential for a healthy immune system. Try to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sound sleep each night, which may take some practice to build up to. Studies have shown that lack of sleep significantly weakens the immune system. If you have trouble falling asleep, set up a good nightly routine that includes meditation to relax and prepare for sleep. Put your screens away at least an hour before bed or get some blue light protecting glasses.
Eat Your Antioxidants
Our bodies need the right fuel to fight off infections. Antioxidants clear out free radicals from the body, which can otherwise cause inflammation and weaken the immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E are rich in antioxidants and can help regulate the immune response. Make sure you're eating your vegetables and fruits to get these essential micronutrients, and if you can't get enough through your diet, consider taking a high-quality multivitamin.
Stress not only affects your mental well-being, but it also takes an enormous toll on your physical health. While acute stress is sometimes useful for those short bursts of adrenaline, most of us are dealing with chronic stress. This wreaks havoc on your body and can lead to adrenal fatigue, chronic low-grade inflammation, and a weakened immune system. If you're feeling stressed out, try getting to the root of the problem. Take some time to meditate, relax and unwind after a stressful day so that your body can recover. Studies have shown that a consistent meditation practice strengthens your immune system, reduces inflammation, and greatly impacts your overall wellbeing.
Exercise, But Not Too Intensely
Exercise is so vital for overall health, but it specifically benefits the immune system by helping to circulate your immune cells throughout the body. It also lowers inflammation and reduces stress levels, which is key for a robust immune system. However, some studies have found that overly intense exercise, especially without enough recovery time, can have adverse effects on your immune health. So, exercise, but give your body enough time to recover as well. I love to practice gentle Qi Gong as a moving meditation along with my cardio work to benefit my heart.
Practice Good Hygiene
While it is essential to have a strong immune system that can fight off infections, the best way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face if you haven't. If you're out and aren't able to wash your hands, use sanitizer or a hand wipe.
This is an interesting time we're living in, and boosting the immune system is at the top of everyone's priority list. Along with these daily tasks, eating as many plants as possible will give you the strong immune system you're longing for. Load up on veggies, drink half your weight in ounces of fresh water, and lessen the load of environmental toxins. Make time for things that make you happy, nourish your relationships, and make sure you feel connected. There are so many things that come together to create a robust immune system! Let me know if you have any questions.