Regardless of the time of year, it happens to the best of us. We hustle from appointments to errands, from work to our workouts. The rhythm of everyday life creates a momentum that prioritizes the must-dos and bypasses all of the distractions. This unstoppable mentality keeps us grinding from A.M. to P.M. until, without warning our immunity is compromised and then…it happens.
That nagging cough, pesky runny nose and aching muscles rear their ugly head at our front door. We try to fight the fever, along with the coughing and sneezing fits, but inevitably end up in bed and under the covers.
Is there any way to prevent these unwelcome distractions from our already busy lives? While getting sick isn’t entirely avoidable, here are five ways to reduce the odds that you’ll have to sacrifice your livelihood in favor of tissues and steaming showers.
Spend Time With Friends.
There’s nothing worse than having to cancel plans because you’re not feeling well. No one wants to stay in bed, under the covers and under the weather, while everyone else is having a good time. One of the best ways to prevent this? Spend time with your friends to prevent getting sick! Research indicates that friends can influence healthy behaviors. True friendship values healthy eating and exercise while giving us a sense of purpose, inspiring us to take care of each other as well as ourselves. Keep in mind that while positive relationships can improve health, toxic friendships can have a negative impact, leading to depression and elevated blood pressure.
Improve Your Diet.
Your fitness program is unique to you, shouldn’t your diet be personalized as well? It’s smart to choose nutrient-dense foods such as citrus foods and red bell peppers that are high in vitamin C. Probiotics and protein go hand in hand, with protein actually aiding the body in protein utilization. Other immune-supporting foods include prunes, apples, beans and red grapes.
Fight the Germs.
Don’t let the viruses and bugs get the best of you. Stop them in their tracks before they take a toll on your immune system. This starts at the front door. Cut down on outdoor grim and germs by removing your shoes before coming inside. Vacuum once a week to keep allergens at bay. It’s also best to close the lid every time you flush the toilet, reducing the amount of bacteria that is otherwise forced into the air and can collect on toothbrushes, towels and anything else out in the open. Lastly, never under estimate the importance of hand washing.
If you’re constantly pushing deadlines and taking care of others rather than yourself, there’s a good chance your immune system will begin to shut down. Constant stressors can trigger a physical and psychological response that can weaken the immune system over time. Relying on coffee to get through the day? That could actually be contributing to the problem by racing your heart rate and blood pressure. And before you head to the gym to burn off the stress, keep in mind that excessive workouts can do more harm than good. The solution? Stay home now and then. Hydrate with tea and water. Go for a walk outdoors. Even better, go for a walk with a friend.
Make Sleep a Priority.
Sleep is an often underrated component of a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. Without adequate sleep, our bodies struggle to function optimally. Not only are we more likely to crave sweets and processed foods when we lack sleep, but our ability to focus diminishes while those cravings increase. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Consider using ear buds and a sleep mask to improve the quality of your sleep.