Did you know that stress can negatively impact your immune system? In light of this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, let’s not lose sight of the importance of self-care and mental health. Focusing on the things you can control and taking positive action can help manage anxiety and boost your health in the process. Here’s a few things you can do:
- Get More Sleep
The body and mind need a minimum of seven hours of sleep to repair themselves each night. In fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can decrease immune system function and recovery time, and vice versa; the more sleep, the better. Create a consistent routine for rest in order to balance your circadian rhythm.
- Balance Your Digestion
The gut is our first line of defense against illness. Adding digestive aids to your daily diet such as ginger tea, a probiotic and/or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water can help improve digestion. Avoid processed and heavy foods, eat your greens and add natural, unprocessed oils to your diet like ghee or olive, avocado, sesame, almond and coconut oils.
- Stay Hydrated
Start your day with 2-3 glasses of warm or room temperature water on an empty stomach, and make sure to keep hydrated throughout the day. The general daily recommendation is to drink 1oz of water for every pound of weight.
- Cut Out/Reduce Sugar
Most of us accept that sugar isn’t great for our waistline, but did you know that it directly compromises the immune system and the production of stem cells, which are the “warrior” cells that our body uses to repair tissue? Your body and your cells will thank you for making the effort to cut out or limit the amount of sugar in your diet.
- Get Enough Nutrients
Take steps to ensure your body is receiving the necessary vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins it needs to support healthy tissue and fight off illness. Taking a daily multivitamin in liquid or gummy form, free from fillers and additives, can help supplement a healthy diet. Vitamins C and D and Zinc are especially important for the immune system; add dark, leafy greens to your diet such as kale or broccoli, as well as healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and fresh, raw nuts and seeds.
- Calm your Mind and Soothe your Nervous System
Choose happiness. Try guided meditation. Practice deep, belly breathing for a few minutes before you sleep or any time you feel stressed during the day. Give your mind and nervous system a break from technology by finding a few hours each week to turn off devices and spend some time in nature.
Walking for 20-30 minutes each day is one simple thing you can do to de-stress while also working your cardiovascular system, benefitting the heart and helping to rid the body of toxins.
If you or a loved one need help processing anxiety, stress or emotions during this time, please contact us here confidentially.
Lovett Center Clinician and Executive Director Laura Bowen has over 20 years of experience in the fields of addiction and mental health. She is a graduate of the University of Texas, a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and a Master Addiction Counselor, with additional specialty training in Psychodrama, Expressive Art Therapy, and Ego State Therapy, as well as CBT, DBT and EMDR. Laura has been drawn towards helping others as far back as she can remember, but she feels that experiencing her own tragic loss has helped her relate to clients on a deeper level. When it comes to leadership, Laura enjoys coaching others in a way that serves them, allowing them to better serve others.