The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all that our health should be the nation’s top priority and our own. How to boost your immunity are things we only think about during the flu season or when someone else sneezes around us. With the global crisis, we see how our health can disrupt economies and put the lives of others at risk.
Once this uncertain time passes, life as we know it will be forever altered. Ways to boost your immunity need to be on our radar for the rest of our lives. The truth is having super immunity is not a quick fix.
We need to take a look at our overall lifestyles and understand that keeping ourselves healthy is necessary and patriotic.
A sound body houses a quiet mind. Exercise is the most powerful tool we have in improving our quality of life , especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One way to keep your sanity and boost your immunity is to exercise.
Physical activity improves cardiovascular and muscular health while helping you boost your immunity. It also lowers body mass index and relieves stress for all body types. When exercise is a regular component of a healthy lifestyle, it reduces adrenaline and cortisol levels. These hormones are directly related to stress responses.
Too much cortisol results in stubborn abdominal fat storage, and too much adrenaline can contribute to anxiety. When these hormones are well-regulated, periods of depression are decreased and cognitive function is greatly increased.
Exercise is nature’s way of providing pain relief and mood elevation. Anyone suffering from anxiety can experience some form of relief after five minutes of aerobic exercise, including indoor spinning, walking and dancing.
You can also do some spring cleaning to boost your immunity.
Now that gyms have closed, people all over the world are starting to break a sweat at home. You can stream a video or simply use a jump rope and some weights. Movement will help you boost your immunity.
Some news outlets are reporting that Amazon has sold completely out of dumbbells. However, you can always use your body weight and still achieve your fitness goals. At times of high stress, the body needs a release and ways to boost your immunity, which will allow your mind to relax and boost your immunity.
What is interesting is most people are now feeling the effects of not being able to reduce their stress naturally. Dr. David Neiman of Appalachian State University studies the effects of exercising on immunity. Now more than ever people should be exercising, Dr. Neiman stated during an interview with news outlets. The effects of physical activity on the immune system are so important.
Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise can actually release additional immunity cells. The body loves exercise so much that when blood starts pumping, it improves its virus-killing abilities. Exercise will boost your immunity.
What if you are one of those people who hate to exercise? The easiest thing to do is experiment with a multitude of physical activities. Not everyone can run a marathon or contort into warrior pose.
Exercise is personal and should be fun. Think of which activities you loved as a child. Chances are you can find adult versions online. Adult ballet and adult gymnastics are great options. In reality, any exercise you love and do consistently will boost your immunity.
You can also mix up your physical activities. For example, make Mondays your walking days and Thursdays can be dedicated to scenic bike rides. You need to get at least 30 minutes straight of exercise each day to boost your immunity.
Try to think of activities you can do indoors in the morning and a few outdoor ones to enjoy as a family in the evening. If you still have not found your new favorite exercise after a few days, make a playlist of your favorite songs and dance like no one is watching.
In a pinch, you can also march in place while watching the news. With so many benefits of exercise, you must truly consider it part of your lifestyle during and after quarantine to boost your immunity.
Get enough shut eye
Every person on the planet has had at least one night of lousy sleep, which does not help boost your immunity. The tossing and turning can truly have devastating effects the next day and beyond.
In times of severe stress and poor health, sleep may be considered a luxury. The concern with poor sleep quality is that is can evolve into insomnia. Now, many people stuck inside believe that they are suffering from this complicated condition. Sleep will help your boost your immunity.
True insomnia is characterized by trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. What many are experiencing right now is called acute insomnia, which results in low energy, suffering concentration and unstable moods. This sleep disruption will usually go away after a few days.
If a person is experiencing at least three months of unsatisfying sleep, they can consider themselves an insomniac.
The good news is that you cannot control the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you can take a few steps to take the dread out of nighttime.
While quarantine might turn lunch into nap time, be careful to stick to a strict sleep schedule. Naps should be limited to no more than 20 minutes. Any longer and you will take away from your night’s sleep.
Wake up at the same time and go to sleep when you normally do. One thing that makes sleep a little harder during quarantine is your bed is always beckoning you to relax. Higher sleep quality will boost your immunity.
You must practice good sleep hygiene and only climb into bed right before you fall asleep. Your body loves patterns and routines. Once it associates your bed with work or play, it will not automatically feel drowsy when you begin the process of falling asleep.
Once you have settled on a sleep schedule, you must create a sleep ritual that does not involve your phone. The blue light it emits hinders your sleep quality because the brain cannot tell the difference between the sun and your phone.
Place your phone outside your bedroom at a designated time. If you worry that you won’t hear it in case of an emergency, simply place it in a metal bowl to amplify any ringing or notifications. Your mind does need at least 20 minutes to unwind from the day. Give yourself that head start for every tomorrow and boost your immunity.
Some people have a harder time relaxing than others. This could be for a variety of reasons that include culture, upbringing and habit.
You have the power every 24 hours to ensure a good night’s sleep by creating a solid pre-sleep ritual. Here is where you can get creative. Adult coloring books have exploded in popularity. The act of coloring acts as a sedative for many.
- Find a coloring book that you enjoy and pick up some crayons from any discount store.
- Pick a place in your house where you can create your nightly masterpieces.
- Set a timer so you don’t get too energized by your creations.
- If you are the creative type, opt for some stretching or tidying up to unwind. Any activity that puts your mind at ease and prepares your body for sleep is a stellar option.
One sleep accessory that is getting rave reviews is a weighted blanket. These can be bought for a relatively low price given the benefits they provide. A weighted blanket mimics the feeling of being swaddled as a baby.
You can also designate a specific fragrance that will trigger the brain to know it is sleep time. Many people choose lavender or rose to evoke soothing memories or emotions. Avoid peppermint or eucalyptus because they are known for their energizing properties.
Coffee, tea and chocolate help many wake up and conquer the day. Caffeine is one of the most widely used natural substances in the world. An estimated 54 percent drink coffee and 43 percent enjoy tea. You can have a latte once in a while and still boost your immunity.
The average caffeine consumption is 300 mg per day. While there is truly an art form to grinding carefully selected beans, coffee can wreak havoc on your sleep. Coffee inhibits your brain from being receptive to adenosine, the chemical that is responsible for your body feeling sleepy. This block, coupled with the fact that your body immediately reacts to the caffeine, can disrupt your body’s internal alarm clock that signals alertness and sleepiness.
The effects of coffee peak in your body within 30 minutes and stick around for up to five hours. Just because coffee helps you get through the day does not mean the effects go away when the sun sets. In fact, your body may still be so wired from the caffeine that you do not actually sleep deeply enough for your body’s liking.
Even if you stop drinking coffee a full six hours before bed, you may actually reduce the quality of your sleep by a full hour. This creates a vicious cycle of needing coffee to wake up because the previous day’s cups are still being processed by the body. A body that has been properly hydrated and secures adequate nutrition does not need stimulants to properly function.
There is a myth that the average person needs around eight glasses of water a day. This is not possible for most people, who cannot afford numerous trips to the bathroom when they are working or taking care of children. However, there are numerous steps that can be taken to get enough water.
The first thing to do is start small. Drink a glass of water upon waking. The body has spent the night clearing the body of toxins and a glass or two will speed the process. If you do not want to drink too much, foods that have high water content such as watermelon can put water and electrolytes into the body with fewer calories.
Fruits and vegetables have a high water content while also packing vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries and grapefruit are 90 percent water. Vegetables that have a lot of water include cabbage, squash, spinach and turnips.
Another option to stay hydrated is infusing water with fruits and vegetables. These add-in combinations can be classic, such as basil and cucumber, or exotic, such as lemon and mint. Have a glass of water while cooking to cut down on munching to boost your immunity.
If you go out to pick up food, ask for water while you wait. You can always download an app to help you track your water intake. These include Daily Water Free and Daily Water. You can set reminders and alarms to keep you on track.
If you need some juice or soda to make it through the day, add water and plenty of ice. It will be much less sweet, but still the treat you love.
Better yet, try sparkling water. This type of water is found in every type of grocery store. You can even buy the store’s generic brand to try it out if you have not experienced the rapture of having flavored bubbles on your tongue.
Keep a gallon jug by your desk or living room table to remind you to drink. Bottled water is not great for the environment.
Invest in a filter that costs around $15 and can be used for months, saving you quite a bit of money. Filters can also be used directly in the water bottle or in a carafe.
If you have a ritual around coffee, you can also create one for herbal tea. You can explore loose tea or use tea bags. Boil water in a kettle or pan and allow steeping for a few minutes to unleash the full flavor. Many people only like tea when they are congested or cannot sleep, but herbal tea is a great way to hydrate and relax. Herbal teas can also help with a variety of ills. Ginger tea aids in digestion, dandelion tea can help with weight loss and lavender tea can be immensely relaxing, especially when part of a nighttime ritual. Nature is the way to heal most of the body’s ills. Once your body has experienced proper hydration, a dependency on coffee or tea won’t be needed.
Create a happy place
Finding a center of calm that you can always tap into may seem too good to be true. Modern life has us all rushing to the next big thing in hopes that it will provide us with instant gratification. COVID-19 has forced us all to slow down and focus on the present moment. Even in the midst of an international crisis, there is peace to be found.
Now that we are all practicing social distancing, the need to be with others is stronger than ever. This pause in normal life does have some benefits.
A person that craves constant validation from others is now understanding that all of life is a projection of our internal world. Once internal power is harnessed, we can release the fear of what is going on in the outside world and find quiet. This does not mean going into denial about our current situation.
No level of inner peace can excuse a person from washing their hands or invalidating the feelings of others because they are worried. Meditation gives those who have a practice the space needed to see the bigger picture more clearly, including the fact that this chaotic period will pass eventually.
Knowing that there is an end allows others to accept the new normal of the way that life has to be led for a few more weeks. Meditation provides the only true way to lessen anxiety and focus on resilience.
Most of the time, a panicked thought starts a few moments before it becomes noticeable. If a person can recognize that their thoughts are leaning toward the darker side, they can think critically about the ongoing situation and resume being in the present moment.
Many times, we feel something in our bodies and attach a personal story to it. This could be something as soothing as a day at the beach or as upsetting as an unpleasant personal memory. Mediation gives us the inches of space needed in our heads to see the majority of situations are not personal, including global pandemics.
By not allowing negative thoughts to gain momentum, self-soothing behaviors that include face and hair touching are not needed. You could even turn hand washing into a moment of mindfulness by being fully present during each step.
Harvard professor Dr. Jay Michaelson believes that mediation may save our sanity during this uncertain time. The kind of meditation that we’re focused on, mindfulness meditation, I like to think of it as a kind of a two-step process, explained Dr. Michaelson during a press conference the week before the pandemic. The first is to calm down and center the mind enough to do the second step, which is to just see what’s going on and to just co-exist with what’s going on.
Spending a few minutes in absolute quiet is a practice. The first few times might result in frustration because it feels like nothing is happening and your thoughts might be racing. The goal is not to pause your thoughts.
Your mind is designed to always be thinking of the next step in your survival and figuring out patterns. This way of thinking is why the human race has survived as long as it has. You cannot fight human nature and the need to survive.
What you can do is simply observe your thoughts as they pass by. All thoughts pass. You simply have to let them.
There are many ways to let your mind unwind while still being awake. Mediation is a great way to fully live in the present moment.
There are plenty of apps, such as Headspace, to show you how to find the quiet in the tiny spaces between thoughts. These spaces will expand once attention is paid to them. You can also select a song that does not have words that you can listen to at any time you need to tap into good energy.
You can also journal as a practice or use the habit to empty your mind as much as possible before going within.
- Start by making a list of what you are grateful for each day. This could be toilet paper, time with family or working remotely.
- Try to come up with something new every day to prevent the list from getting repetitive.
- Recall a pleasant conversation or wave to loved ones, neighbors or someone you see when going for a short walk.
- Write about how your new normal is going.
- Think about which expectations of your old life are done for the time being.
- Consider how you are contributing to the well-being of society. Not being panicked is actually helpful in today’s new normal.
- Just by taking the time to be in your thoughts, you will help someone who is not coping as well. While you may need to recharge your personal reserves of inner peace, keep in mind that the greatest way to help most people now is to reassure them things will be okay and to live in the moment no matter how uncertain everything is.
- Be the person that other people need to discover the peace they can also have.
How you live your live during and after quarantine is up to you. While it will be so wonderful to return to our regular way of living by socializing in public places and going back into the office, our new normal should include a focus on our health.
Making a few switches and setting up healthier habits now will increase the health of the nation. We should all take the time we have to reflect on our lives and future to realize we have so much power in the present that can be harnessed for the greater good.
- Make exercise a priority and ask loved ones to join in.
- Stop thinking of sleep deprivation as a badge of honor.
- Drink as much water as possible.
- Make sure that you take some time out during the day or night to go within and recharge.
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