We seem to be in an ongoing state of rethinking our lifestyle choices in order to uplevel our rituals and wellness choices. There might not be any quick fixes or hacks when it comes to our health, but there are infinite small edits we can make now that our future self will thank us for - while supporting our immunity. At least I can think of five elements to add, edit, or uplevel.
Pop the Sunshine Pills
Unless we’re spending a good amount of time in the outdoor daylight, we’re most likely vitamin D deficient. And because vitamin D is not easily met through food alone - it’s recommended to support our D needs via supplements. Personally, I love the blissfulness after being outside - skiing or swimming under the bare sky and would ideally take my D quota via a sunny disposition - as the body creates vitamin D while our skin is exposed to sunlight. But with the dark winter months in the Arctic Icelanders are reminded to get their sun-bliss through supplements. According to some research - having healthy levels of vitamin D doesn’t only support our immune system, it may protect against respiratory illnesses.
Between New Year intention settings, cold-flu season, and Covid there’s no time like the present to elevate our eating habits and ingredients - clean and vibrant food supports our immune system. As fun as it can be to spontaneously indulge in a cheesy pizza and a bag of Icelandic licorice, we can’t really afford to be too careless with our diet. Consuming processed, greasy and sugary food is known to cause inflammation and this is not the time to willingly weaken our body’s defense mechanism. Think clean and vibrant food and have fun with new recipes. A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is packed with vitamins A, C, D, and other key nutrients that can support your body’s ability to fight infection. Planning ahead with meals and snacks makes it possible, while taking one day at a time.
Let’s Get Physical
If you’re sitting at your desk all day and spend your evenings in the way of a Netflix binge, your body is unable to rid itself of toxins. Your body needs physical stimulation to be at its best ability. And so does your skin - practising yoga, deep breathing exercises, massage and dry brushing aid the immune system via connective tissue. Whatever you do to uplevel and increase activities and wellness rituals in your daily life also doubles as stress-management tools, and aids to lessen burnouts. Swapping coffee for meditation and stretch breaks at work go a long way. When my body is stimulated and alive the stronger is my immunity.
Just a 30-second icy cold water bath is enough to fire up your metabolism and circulation. Befriending cold showers can also boost our immune system, aid menopausal hot flashes, elevate alertness and increase our productivity. And last but not least (really) cold showers don’t dry out your skin like hot water does. You can still take your normally-temperatured shower, then it’s recommended to add at least 30 seconds of a cold rinse to reap some of the benefits. According to new research it’s been found that taking those icy cold showers may make us more resistant to getting sick.
By now we’ve learned that lack of sleep affects our bodies negatively, including our immune system. And sleep deprivation can decrease the production of some of our protective proteins like cytokines. So when we don't get enough quality sleep we’re more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. And lack of sleep can also affect the recovery pace if and when we do get sick. The immune system releases cytokines and when we’re infected, or stressed - these infection-fighting antibodies are reduced. In short, forgoing the quality causes a full-on domino effect that we want to avoid (to put mildly).