Building the Inner Shield Heading into the Holidays

It’s that time of year! We are heading into cooler weather, lots of holiday events, delicious treats full of sugar, and busier schedules, all of which increase our exposure and risk of getting sick. Lucky for you, there are tools and habits you can adopt that will keep you healthy and keep the sickness at bay all season long. Let’s look at some of the best ways to keep yourself and your family healthy and boost your immune system heading into the holiday.

  1. Focus on healthy sleep habits. Getting enough rest is critical for supporting your body’s immune system and keeping your body in balance. Aim for at least 7-8hours of good quality sleep a night and create a calming bedtime routine to support your nervous system.

  2. Stay Hydrated. Ensuring you drink enough water is important for so many reasons especially for helping to flush the system of bacteria and toxins that can cause or contribute to infection and sickness. Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. (So if you weight 100lbs, you should drink 50oz of water/day)

  3. Get outside and move your body. Exercise boosts circulation and encourages the production of white blood cells, both of which contribute to optimal immune function. Being outside gives your body fresh air, sunshine, and helps calm the nervous system. Aim for 30 minutes of movement daily – this can include walking, hiking, gardening, yoga, cycle, strength training, pilates, dancing…whatever feels good for YOU.

  4. Eat a diet full of seasonal whole foods. Minimize processed foods. Minimize sugar filled foods. Eat foods that are whole and in-season, like picking up squash from the local farmers market or eating more seasonal vegetables like kale, beets, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Not only are these foods full of nutrients – they are full of vitamins like Vitamin C that help boost the immune system and fight inflammation in the body. Aim for at least 6 servings of vegetables every single day.

  5. Keep your stress levels low. When we are stressed, our body actually has a reduced ability to fight off antigens, making us more susceptible to infections. Keeping a few good coping skills on hand can be really helpful heading into the holidays. Some great stress management techniques include deep belly breathing, other breathwork, meditation, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided visualizations. For starters, aim for 10 minutes twice daily of deep belly breathing.