Most days, we appreciate our immune system when it fights off a casual sinus infection or the common cold, but amidst this Coronavirus pandemic, people are almost having full-fledged conversations with their immune system, cheering it on to work harder and ward off any signs of fever, aches, coughs, and respiratory scares.
In light of this gloomy pandemic, here are 5 simple ways to best tag-team with your immune system:
1. Don’t neglect the vitamins.
This one sounds super basic, but how often do we hang our heads in the doctor’s office when they ask if we take a daily vitamin? Taking vitamins isn’t just one more thing to check off your to-do list. Rather, the nutrients inside those caplets/gummies/etc. serve to fuel your body with essentials that your daily diet might not provide.
If I’m being honest, this quarantine situation has challenged my desire to eat healthy. It’s so much easier to snack on some pizza rolls or fruit gummies while chilling at home, so if you’re like me, your vitamins are now vital. They are providing the good stuff that your Netflix snacks, well, just aren’t.
2. Sleep, like 8-10 hours per night.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 3:5-6: "I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around" (ESV).
Jesus has made it clear that He does most of His fighting for us while we are asleep, and He set your body up to work the same way. When you’re asleep and you aren’t running and gunning so hard, your immune system, organs, cells, all the things, are repairing themselves and gearing back up for another day of intense running and gunning. If you don’t give your body at least 8 hours of sleep each night, your immune system isn’t recharged. And let’s be honest, chugging ten cups of coffee isn’t the proper way to recharge an immune system.
3. Amp up the Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is your immune system’s pre-workout drink. These two guys suit up together and fight off bad bacteria and any other foreign threat that could harm your health. Most fruits have loads of Vitamin C, so feel free to eat those oranges.
However, if you plan on drinking your Vitamin C via orange juice, be mindful of the brand that you purchase (if your grocery store isn’t ransacked and choices are available). Shoot for the organic/natural orange juice choices because most of the common orange juice brands sit in stock for long periods of time, so they lose the fresh power of the vitamins.
4. Balance your threats.
Your immune system isn’t perfect, but you can help it function at its maximum capacity when you limit other simple threats. By this, I mean that if you are outside in an area that is powdered in pollen, your immune system then tries to fight off the sore throat, runny nose, and cough associated with your sinuses packed full of pollen. If you aren’t drinking enough water, your immune system will focus on tending to the organs that can’t function as well when they are dehydrated. At this point, your immune system can’t simultaneously fight off other bacteria/germs with the same energy.
I’m not saying that you should sit inside your house all day, every day, because we all need to get some fresh air and exercise, but be mindful of your body. Personally, I’ve tried to go outside and at least do a quick run through my neighborhood, but when I can feel the humidity and heavy pollen, I don’t push my body as hard or stay outside as long and expose myself to dehydration and sinus troubles.
5. Protect your mental health.
God created our mind, soul, and body to operate as one. And when 1 of the 3 is off kilter, the rest are impacted. I have clinical Contamination Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which means I tend to be a super germaphobe, so I understand anyone whose anxiety, stress, depression, and worries are heightened right now. But when our focus is on the fear of this pandemic, our physical bodies carry that stress, and so does the immune system.
To give your immune system a stress break, try mapping out a de-stress calendar. For instance, if going for a walk outside, taking a bubble bath, painting pictures is what relieves your stress, map out 2-3 times each day that you can dedicate yourself to these activities. These will serve as healthy distractions to calm down your mind, which in turn, gives your immune system room to breathe.
You won’t perfectly take care of yourself every moment of this pandemic because you’re human, and God has given us the safe space and freedom to feel human emotions, like being scared and unsure during these times. Meanwhile, if you can make your immune health a priority, your mind and soul will thank you.
Stay healthy and safe!