Living a healthy life isn’t just about diet and exercise—especially when it seems as though everyone around you is getting sick. While you can’t avoid every illness, there are several things you can do to decrease your chances of getting sick. In fact, even doctors and nurses, who are exposed to sick individuals on a regular basis, follow some of these strategies to reduce time spent ill and stay as healthy as possible.
1. Spend More Time Outside
When you’re out in the fresh air, you get several benefits. First and foremost, you’re exposed to fewer of the germs that are circulating around your home or office. This is particularly important if you’re spending large chunks of time surrounded by people who are ill. Doctors, nurses, and teachers, for example, may find that a regular dose of fresh air is a great way to fill their lungs with air that isn’t filled with bacteria.
Being outside, however, doesn’t just decrease your exposure to germs. It also helps get you moving—and exercise is its own protection against illness. In fact, even if you’re feeling a little under the weather, it can pay to get outside. That fresh, clean air can help you feel more like yourself sooner than you thought possible!
Look for ways to work regular outside time into your routine, not just when you’re fighting illness. Take a walk on your lunch break, spend some time outside playing with the kids, or simply sit outside and read at the end of the day. Before you know it, you’ll be reaping the benefits of being outside.
2. Moderate Your Eating Habits
The saying goes, “You are what you eat,” and when it comes to your health, that’s truer than ever before. If you eat unhealthy foods that are high in sugar and trans fats, and incredibly low in nutrients, it won’t take long for your immune system to start deteriorating. Making healthy eating choices, on the other hand, will keep your body functioning at peak efficiency.
One of the best things you can do for your body? Learn to eat the rainbow: choose fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to get the widest possible variety of nutrients. Try to eat a fully balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
3. Sleep More Regularly
There are always excuses to put off sleep. You live a busy, active lifestyle that keeps you running from the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning until you’re ready to fall back into bed at night. And still, you have countless reasons to put off sleep for just a little longer. Unfortunately, that determination to fill as many hours of your day as possible could be negatively impacting your immune system.
When you experience low-quality sleep or cut the hours spent in bed too short, you’ll find that you’re more prone to illness and infection. Keep putting off sleep and you might find yourself struggling to kick that illness to the curb once and for all. The remedy? Accept that sleep is a necessity.
While there will certainly be periods of your life when sleep is harder to come by—for example, shortly after the birth of a child or during college—the rest of the time, you should make sleep a priority. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night for the best effect on your immune system.
4. Find Ways to De-stress
The more stressed you are, the harder it is on your immune system. Look for opportunities to decrease your stress levels as much as possible. That isn’t always easy. You may have aging parents to care for, children who need your attention, or a demanding job that makes you struggle with tight deadlines. Find ways to work leisure time into your schedule. It won’t just make you happier. It will also make you healthier!
When you de-stress, you’ll find that you’re better able to fight off illness and infections. Now you have an excuse for scrolling through social media instead of jumping off the couch and heading off to your next task! Just make sure that the leisure activity you choose is truly rewarding. You’ll discover that it’s more beneficial to engage in an activity that you truly love than it is to spend twice as much time doing something you merely think should be relaxing.
5. Sanitize Frequently
When you know you’ve been exposed to germs—especially if you work in a profession where exposure is taken for granted—it’s important to take the time to clean anything that was with you while you were at work. Wash your clothes on warm or hot, and make sure that you’re bleaching and cleaning your washer on a regular basis. Take the time to wipe down surfaces when you get home. Most importantly, wash your hands regularly, especially if you’ve been in direct contact with someone who is ill. The more you clean, the fewer chances bacteria and viruses have to enter your body, and the greater the likelihood that you’ll escape illness.
Keeping yourself healthy may feel like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple lifestyle changes, you can start developing a healthier body that will be more resistant to illness. Want to learn more about living a healthy lifestyle? Contact us today for more information about living a life that will keep your body running at peak efficiency, even when everyone around you is getting sick.