Five Tips for Keeping Your Immune System Strong Through Winter
It’s cold season, and this year in particular brings a confluence of viruses we need to guard against. Boosting and maintaining immune system strength is key during the winter months. To understand more about what we should be doing to stay healthy this season, The Related Life reached out to Dr. Ian Leber, chief medical officer at Sollis Health. Dr. Leber is a board-certified physician who has dedicated more than 20 years of his career to emergency medicine. Prior to joining Sollis, he served as CEO of the largest emergency medicine practice in Florida and Chief Medical Officer of a multi-specialty practice with over 200 locations across New York.
Dr. Leber was thrilled to share these five wellness tips “from a doctor and dad who understands how crazy life can be.” Keep reading for his guidance!
Make Sleep a Priority
In our crazy lives, we somehow always think of sleep as something that can be sacrificed. The reality is that getting a period of uninterrupted sleep (at least 7 hours should be your goal) is akin to making sure you start your day with a fully charged smartphone. There are great ways to sleep “efficiently.” Set a goal that you have a consistent, realistic bedtime every night and stick to it. Your body will learn that sleep is coming, and you will fall asleep faster. Make your bedroom “sleep friendly." It should be quiet, dark, relaxing, and a comfortable temperature. Invest in heavy blackout curtains. They will not only keep out light, but also help reduce outside noise. Avoid caffeine, large meals, and alcohol before bed. Even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it doesn’t promote restful sleep. If you find that you can’t fall asleep, don’t lay there and ruminate. Get out of bed and find a cozy place to sit and allow your brain to wind down. Read, listen to soothing music or meditate for 20 minutes... then get back into bed when you feel tired. Avoid bright lights and screens such as cell phones and televisions or loud noises – all of those things signal your brain to stay awake!
Find Time for Exercise
You don’t have to be a “gym rat” or a “yogi” to see the benefits of exercise. Just 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times per week will provide health benefits. If you can do some type of muscle strengthening activities (weightlifting, yoga, resistance band work) twice a week, even better! If all of that seems too much, just focus on getting out of your chair at least once an hour and stand up!
The impact of diet cannot be underestimated! About 74% of American adults are overweight. Not only does eating healthy help you keep that waistline in check, it also has a major impact on overall health. Eating right lowers your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other preventable chronic conditions. Focus on avoiding or limiting processed carbohydrates, saturated fats, added sugars, and artificial sweeteners. Ensure an adequate intake of fiber, raw vegetables, and lean protein.
Our body is approximately 60% water. Keeping hydrated is an important way to ensure it continues to function well. The average woman should take in about 11 cups of water per day. Men need a little bit more, 15 cups. Some of this can be obtained from the food we eat, but drinking fresh water is always a better choice than caffeinated beverages (which actually lead to dehydration). The brain and joints are mostly up to 80% water by weight, so if you want to think clearly and have fewer aches and pains when you move, drink water! Drinking water also helps to reduce hunger. That means fewer snacks and a smaller waistline!
It is incredibly important to take time for your mental health. We’ve become such a 24/7 society that we often forget to take time for our own happiness and wellbeing. A good night’s sleep and regular exercise are important contributors to mental wellness, but they are not enough. Take some other simple steps to help improve your overall mental wellbeing. Take a moment at the start of your day to recognize all of the things for which you should be thankful. Taking a moment for positivity can have a tremendous impact on your mental outlook. Perform a simple, random act of kindness. Volunteerism helps to reduce loneliness and depression. This one’s a bit more difficult to master, but try to accept that there are things you cannot control and therefore shouldn’t spend time worrying about. Spending mental energy on things we can’t change is a tremendous stress and waste of time. Let it go…I did say this one wasn’t easy.
The Related Life is written and produced by the Related Life Editorial Team. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events, news and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife.