When the season’s change and temperatures shift, you may be more likely to encounter certain viruses, including the flu and the common cold. And if you have seasonal allergies, pollen and mold from plants can aggravate your immune system. The good news is there are steps you can take to stay well, so you can welcome the new season instead of sniffling through it.
Take time for yourself.
The start of a new season can bring about schedule changes that might leave you overwhelmed – and more susceptible to sickness. Shuffling kids to spring sports practice or attending lots of seasonal events can leave you with less time to relax, exercise or eat right. The added stress can also slash your body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells, putting you at greater risk of catching something.
That’s why it’s worth finding ways to unwind every day, like meditating or reading quietly before bed. Even a few minutes can make you feel more relaxed.
Add more movement to your day.
Being active helps flush illness-causing bacteria out of the airways and strengthens infection-fighting white blood cells. Plus, it can help keep stress in check. It can be difficult to fit regular exercise into an already busy day, so look for ways to be active in shorter bursts, such as a power walk after lunch.
Also, if you work out outdoors, consider hitting the gym or taking indoor classes during seasonal shifts. Higher pollen levels and mold from leaves on the ground can trigger an allergic response and cause congestion.
Fill up on protective foods.
Eating more of these power picks can help you feel your best.
- Brightly colored fruits and vegetables. They serve up vitamins C, A, and folate, which all help fortify your immune system. Try to buy local produce when possible since foods picked and consumed when they are fresh tend to pack more nutrients.
- Fatty fish and eggs. Both are rich in vitamin D, which activates the immune system when germs invade.
- Nuts and seeds. Snack on them for a healthy dose of vitamin E, an antioxidant that also works to keep infections at bay.
- Plain yogurt. The good bacteria in foods like yogurt can boost your gut health.
Make a serious effort to sleep better.
Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Even falling short for a few days lowers your defenses against germs and makes you more susceptible to getting sick. If you have trouble sticking to a bedtime, set an alarm on your phone to remind you it’s time to start winding down for the evening.
Try to keep a constant sleep routine, even if the seasonal shift changes your schedule. When things get hectic, streamline other tasks so you can still get to bed on time. Prep healthy meals on the weekend or hire a cleaning service, so you don’t have to tackle cooking or chores on weeknights.
Let us know how you are staying healthy all year-long. Drop your ideas in the comments below. You just might be featured in an upcoming newsletter!