When everyone around you at work or at school is sick, it is so important to be proactive rather than reactive in keeping your immune system safe. This is especially important if you are affected by a condition that makes it more complicated for the body to heal from the cold and flu.
While there are a plethora of factors that go into what your immune system can handle (previous exposure to illness, gut health, and age, just to name a few), I would like to share my best advice of how I have avoided getting sick during this time of year for the past few years.
I feel proud of my cold and flu record for the last few years, I work with young students who, let’s be honest, are like landmines for germs during this time of year, so staying healthy is no easy feat.
Like I said before you must be proactive rather than reactive when avoiding getting sick like those around you. You are compromising your body if you’re not getting enough sleep, nutrition and exercise.
The single time that I have been sick in the past two years is after a week where I worked over 60 hours, got little sleep and was eating whatever was convenient. I didn’t listen to my body’s limits and for that I paid the price of getting a horrible cold two days before going on a vacation.
What I should have done:
First I know better than just to ignore nutrition, when I feel insanely busy with no hope of actually going home and cooking a healthy meal, my best trick is to visit the grocery store salad bar.
Sure it’s not economical to eat at a salad bar every night, but paying for the convenience of fruits and veggies will be worth it, when you don’t have to call into work or miss a big presentation. I love Whole Foods and Hy-Vee salad bar in particular. They both have a great selections of fruits and veggies and some pastas to satisfy your carb cravings.
The bottom line is getting sick is way more inconvenient than finding healthy food is.
I’m a huge proponent of juicing to get added nutrients into your diet, especially your vitamin C! If you don’t haven’t yet invested in a juicer, or you’re like me the week I got sick, and don’t have the time or energy to get your juicer out, buy pre made juices.
My favorite picks from Whole Foods are their Alternative Fuel cold pressed juice (with 540% of your daily value of Vitamin C), and the Eye Opener cold pressed juice (with 210% of D.V. of Vitamin C). These are my go-to’s if I start to feel a cold coming on or just need a healthy kick to get me going.
Finally although it’s tempting, especially for perfectionists, to say you can go, go, go 24/7, our bodies are inefficient when they have no rest.
I think that sleep is by far the most important thing you can give your body to avoid getting sick.
As someone who has been in school for a while… I can truly say staying up all night or an extra couple hours to try and study is never worth it. I have learned that an extra hour of sleep will help me more on the test.
Drinking all that caffeine and trying to stay up cramming is worthless. One, this will ruin the quality of any sleep that you do end up getting after cramming. Two, our brains are on overdrive trying to study for such an extended period and need to shut down before they can do us any good again.
Another piece of the staying healthy puzzle is stress.
Everyone knows that stress just wears on the body. Try a ten minute guided meditation, go for a quick walk, call your mom, just don’t let stress get the best of you! We know that in order to accomplish any health or wellness goal, like a weight-loss, stress will inhibit your success by increasing cortisol levels. So let’s deal with it head on before it gets in the way of health.
Advice Straight from the Doctor:
Any doctor will tell you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. I do believe that you have to be diligent in this during cold and flu season. I keep my hand sanitizer right on my lunchbox for this purpose. As DJ Khaled would tell you this is MAJOR KEY.
Second major key alert straight from my husband’s doctor is DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE. This seems simple, but if you actually start thinking about this you will realize it’s more difficult than it sounds.
I hope everyone around you stays healthy this season, but if that’s not the case, be proactive!
Be proactive this cold and flu season,