Your Immune Boosting Self-Care Routine.

The coronavirus outbreak has pretty much taken over the media.  All the updates about new cases and infection rates could cause high anxiety.  Based on the little we know so far, it's somewhat likely that many of us to come in contact with the virus.  Because many hosts are symptomless, we could be interacting with infected individuals without even knowing.

Thankfully, most of the people who will be infected with Covid-19 will experience mild symptoms.  The hope is that our immune system can effectively combat the virus.  The stronger our immune system, the greater the chance for a full recovery.

Let's talk about some ways that we boost our immunity as a part of a self-care regimen.

My previous place of employment was very stress-inducing.  I worked long hours, traveled constantly, and was always around people who were always sick.  Basically, it created the perfect environment to make me susceptible to colds/flu.  But I rarely got sick.  Why? Because I was adamant about reinforcing my immune system in every way possible.  This allowed me to work 60 hour weeks, travel on multiple planes daily, and shake hands with countless individuals without much concern.

Implementing these tips I'm about to share won't stop you from contracting the virus. But perhaps it can help put your immune system in a favorable position to do its job. 

Here are a few things you can do to give your immune system a slight edge.

The first and most important action you can take to support your immune health is to make sure you get enough sleep.  Sleep is such a powerful event for our bodies. So much happens when we engage in restful sleep.  Have you ever noticed how a lot of construction crews do most of their major work during the overnight hours?  Our bodies are kinda like that.  While we rest, our internal repair and rebuilding process is activated.  I'm sure you've experienced how groggy and "off" you feel while sleep deprived.  That's because you didn't give your body adequate time to do its internal work.  When you don't get enough sleep, your body doesn't produce enough antibodies necessary to fight infection.  So, if you're home more during this time of "social distancing,"  make sure to get some sleep.  The goal is to get to a place where you wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested when you wake up in the morning.

Stress Management 
All this news about the climbing number of new infections,  empty store shelves, and job insecurity can be very stressful.  We can't allow our stress levels to accumulate.  Anxiety/stress are exceptionally dangerous for our immune system because it dismantles our immune system making us more susceptible to infections.  Continuously high-stress levels actually lowers your white blood cell count.  That's the exact opposite of what we want. Not to mention how elevated stress levels trigger inflammation.

When I worked in a stressful environment, I made sure to incorporate routines to help me get centered.  Meditation is an ultra-effective technique to keep my mind from focusing on the what-ifs.  Once the mind becomes still, your stress levels decline dramatically.  I went from visualizing the worst-case scenario to being perfectly at peace with the unforeseen future.  It allowed me not to stress out over circumstances that hadn't occurred yet.  Meditation combined with prayer works wonders.

Along with meditation, I invite you to incorporate feel-good practices that distract your mind temporarily from the fear-inducing headlines.  Take all the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe, then focus on incorporating the things that make you happy.  Listen to your favorite playlist, watch shows/movies that make you smile, take warm, relaxing baths, explore your creative side.   Seek out all the experiences you love and incorporate them into various moments throughout the day.

Once you've got your sleep schedule in check and a feel-good routine in place, it's time to focus on feeding your body from within.  Back when I worked in a hectic environment, I was very consistent with eating in a way that supported my immune system.  That basically meant that I tried my best to lower inflammation.  For many years I maintained a gluten-free diet filled rich with green veggies.  I'd often visit a local health food store and purchase a large green salad (and green juice) prior to attending meetings.  After catching a 5:00 am flight, I did everything necessary to flood my body with nutrition.  My co-workers often joked about my healthy eating habits.  The truth is, I took on a more healthy diet whenever my travel schedule was hectic.  Otherwise, I'd feel lethargic and sluggish.  Eating healthy not only helped to keep the weight off, it also helped me stay energized and healthy under the most chaotic conditions.  I'm sure a lot of us have stocked on up processed snacks to ride out this coronavirus storm, but I also urge you to flood your body with inflammation lowering foods like leafy greens, lemon water, fresh juices, and foods that are as close to nature as possible.

I've talked about the importance of drinking enough water for healthy skin, weight loss, and other beauty benefits.  Today, I'm going to stress the link between staying hydrated and boosting your immune system.  Earlier, I watched a video of a coronavirus patient that's currently under quarantine until he fully combats the infection.  Because his symptoms weren't critical, he hasn't been administered any mediations even though he's under medical care.  Do you know what they're giving him to help recovery? A bunch of water and Gatorade to help him stay hydrated.  Dehydration is a possible side effect of the flu virus.  If you happen to get a fever because of a flu virus, your body will likely lose excess water.  Drinking enough water is necessary to help flush out toxins and bring balance to our internal systems.  If you find yourself not feeling well in the upcoming weeks, make sure to stay hydrated.

Lastly, it's important to support your body with immune-boosting nutrients that we don't get from diet alone.  When we're talking about immune-boosting supplements, we have to first start with the basics, vitamin C & Vitamin D.  I'm sure that all of us are aware of the antioxidant power of vitamin C.  But since things are a bit more serious out there, may I suggest that you consider transitioning to a liposomal C instead of the typical ascorbic acid.   Liposomal is a more readily absorbable form of vitamin C so it packs a more powerful punch.  An added bonus of liposomal C is that it makes your skin glow from within.

Vitamin C is on everybody's list of supplements that can help fight colds and viruses but let's not forget the power of vitamin D.  Nobody talks about this, but a deficiency in vitamin D increases autoimmunity and increases our risk of infection.  A lot of us are vitamin D deficient and need to stock up (especially since most of us are deficient and will be staying indoors). 

If you've fallen off your probiotic regimen, you might want to get back on track.  As we've discussed here in the past, your gut plays an incredibly large role in maintaining optimal health.  If your gut biome is off, you open the door for possible infections. Probiotics may also help promote the production of antibodies. As a reminder, antibodies help stop antigens ("intruders") from invading the body.  At the very least, we should always incorporate probiotics for healthy hair, skin, and body weight.

I've also added calm magnesium to my regimen to help promote a restful night's sleep.  Another cool side benefit is that it helps create an overall sense of calm and wellbeing.  Very needed during times like this.

I want to be clear that none of what I listed above as been proven to prevent spread fo the novel coronavirus. We must still practice great hygiene and other preventative measures.  It's also important to limit person to person interactions to flatten the curve.  If you are considered high risk for complications, you should seek immediate medical attention if you've been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms.

With that said, it's important to support your immune system in every which way possible.  Ideally, we'd like to experience minimal symptoms if an infection were to take place.   The last thing you want to do is stay up late, eat junk food, and drink alcohol.

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