Technically flu season is from December to February, but after having a few too many client with “the sniffles” this week I think it’s safe to say that this pre-holiday time is the prelude to flu season! Everyone is beginning to stress about the end of the year, planning holidays, traveling during the busiest time of the year. If you don’t have time to be fighting off the flu-bug here are some tips to keep you healthy, or if you’ve already been hit, feel better faster:
Wash Your Hands
Does it even need to be said? Maybe not, but getting it out of the way first 🙂
Get Enough Zzzzzzzz
Okay, another semi-obvious one but so many people underestimate the effect that slept-debt can have on our immune system¹. Sleep is your body’s time to rest and recharge, if it only gets enough sleep to charge half your figurative battery you can bet your odds of getting sick are much higher. Aim for 7-8 hours each night.
Calm the **** Down
Are you laying awake at night worrying about things? Do you go from 0-100 when someone cuts you off in traffic? If you’re constantly getting stressed out day to day, you are also putting yourself at risk². My best stress tip is to ask yourself if you will remember this event next month or next year? If not, it’s probably not worth losing sleep and getting sick over. Also, physical activity helps your stress level so get in a workout and kill two birds with one stone!
Eat Lots of Veggies
Eating a balanced diet helps your body run the most optimally. My clients (and myself included) tend to get in a rut with vegetables. Take a look at the veggies you usually eat and notice if they are all in one color group (asparagus, broccoli, spinach) and try to expand your rainbow. Grab red onions, yellow bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, or eggplant to switch it up and get other nutrients from adding in some other vegetables. You may end up finding a new favorite!
Wipe Down Equipment at the Gym
Just because you wipe down equipment at the gym after you use it doesn’t mean everyone else is doing the same. Wipe things off before you use them and you’ll get a few extra steps going to grab the wipe and stay clear of someone else’s germs. Or at the very least make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after leaving the gym!
Count Your Drinks
Nobody likes to hear about the unfortunate effects of alcohol, but having way too many drinks³ may make you extra likely to get sick because 1) Your body is processing alcohol, a toxin, so that gets priority over other processes in your body like keeping you healthy 2) Your sleep quality is worsened and we’ve already been over what that does 🙂
Listen to Your Body
If you feel a cold/ something funky coming on, don’t crush yourself at the gym. Take it a little easy, drink loads of water, eat a colorful salad and get a great night’s sleep instead.
The Magic Cure of Vitamin C?
As soon as you mention feeling sick someone is likely to throw orange juice in your face. Is that worth your time? A meta analysis (research that looks at results from many previous studies on a particular subject) in 2013 concluded that vitamin C may have a modest effect of the length of your cold, but no impact on whether or not you get a cold. I think the psychological effect of drinking orange juice may be largely part of this, but if you have orange juice in your fridge and it makes you feel a little better (mentally) and could potentially shorten your cold; knock yourself out!