For us, the two biggest takeaways from the pandemic thus far are…
1) People are innately kind and care about the well being of others.
Healthcare workers are risking their lives, leaving their families and the comfort of their homes every day to battle the front lines of the Coronavirus. Others are howling from their porches in their support without fail every evening precisely at 8 pm MST. Some are donating food to families in need while others are leaving large generous tips for the staff when picking up takeout orders at restaurants. Teachers are showing up and going the extra mile to ensure their students continue to learn while at home. The stories go on and on…
2) Our health is PRICELESS.
While you all have been incredibly supportive and generous to others during this pandemic, it is incredibly important to also step back and make sure you are taking care of yourselves. Many acute and chronic implications of COVID-19 are still unknown and may be for some time. During all stages of this pandemic, it is vitally important that we make sure to also turn our attention back to ourselves and our own wellbeing. Investing in your health and enhancing your immune system should be at the top of your priority list. We wanted to share our mini self-care checklist along with some health tips to help kick start a healthier you!
Self-care is a great place to start…
Check out our mini self-care checklist and learn how to start prioritizing YOU! We wanted to share our mini self-care checklist along with some health tips to help kick start a healthier you! These are things we make sure to incorporate into my life every day. Not only are these simple and effective actions important during a time like this, but these are tools that we should be utilizing regularly for the rest of our lives.
Mini Self-Care Checklist:
How are my stress levels?
Small amounts of stress day to day is expected, common, and healthy. Did we say stress can be healthy? Yes, we did!
Certain types of acute stress in low quantities are necessary and actually support our immune system. For example, the stress we get from exercise is helpful because it stimulates our adaptive immune system (our memory immunity) to stay armed, alert, and ready to attack any foreign invaders. A quick reaction to say a near fender bender, while scary, keeps our stress response in check and ready to save your bacon. If our stress reaction can dissipate appropriately and return to a watchful, waiting state, then we get the most bang for our immune buck.
When stress becomes frequent or chronic, this is when it starts to take a toll on our body (and mind). Over time, this leaves us susceptible to illness.
If you find yourself feeling tense or anxious, you may start to experience sleep disruption, irritability, feel you have “a short fuse”, poor concentration, or difficulty staying on track. Make time in your schedule to UNPLUG! It’s time to prioritize YOU…Step Away from the News, Your To-Do List, and Engage in something Relaxing and Fun!!
TIP: Try this effective breathing technique daily, we promise it will make a world of difference in how you feel.
Am I eating enough veggies & fruits every day?
Fruits and veggies are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants that help power up your immune system. Take a moment and assess your diet…are you eating the rainbow? (and I don’t mean skittles).
While the USDA recommends 5-9 servings a day for both fruits and vegetables, we recommend closer to 8-10 servings a day of veggies and 4-6 servings of fruits. More color variations = an increased nutrient benefit.
For your reference, one serving = ½ cup fruits and cooked veggies, or 1 cup of raw veggies like leafy greens.
TIP: While we believe in eating real food to achieve your daily nutrient and antioxidant needs, in times of stress we also value supplements. One supplement we love is N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC for short. NAC plays a critical role in our liver’s natural production of a potent antioxidant known as glutathione. Like any antioxidant, glutathione helps neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in our body. Depending on your needs, doses range anywhere from 600-1800 mg daily, taken in divided doses with meals. To shop NAC and other FDA certified, non-GMO, allergen-free supplements at a discount, visit our online dispensary here.
Am I getting enough exercise?
Routine moderate to vigorous exercise is so important because exercise boosts immunity by increasing the number of active lymphocytes (a subset of white blood cells) in our system. This process enhances our immune system’s ability to closely observe for any foreign invaders. Exercise also enriches the supply of another subset of our immune system, T and NK (natural killer), cells that acutely target and kill viruses and bacteria.
Plus, exercise can help burn off stress!! A win-win.
Moderate physical activity includes things like brisk walking, swimming, and mowing the lawn. Try to aim for 150 minutes over the course of a week.
Vigorous aerobic activity can include running, HIIT workouts, and aerobic dancing. A good weekly goal for this type of exercise is 75 minutes.
We also recommend strength or resistance training 2-3 times per week, for at least 30 minutes. Strength training has clear benefits for maintaining muscle strength and helping those who want to lose weight shed extra pounds.
Our goal is for you to continue to move efficiently and effectively throughout your lifetime!
TIP: Structure your day to include time for 30 minutes to 1 hour, if you can swing it, of exercise. Allow yourself two rest days a week to give your body a break to physically recover. If you can create a healthy routine in your day-to-day, you will gain miles in health benefits.
Am I getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night?
As we move through the different stages of sleep during the night, many important bodily functions are impacted.
Sleep and our circadian rhythm exert a strong influence on immune functions, working in tandem, and the specific time of day we sleep is key to this. Getting 8 hours of sleep between 3 am – 11 am is not the same as sleeping between 10 pm – 6 am.
Sleeping just 30 minutes less than usual increases our C-Reactive Protein (CRP) level, which is a marker of inflammation in the body. Prolonged sleep deprivation increases the production of cytokines by the immune system which can cause chronic, low-grade inflammation. This stress on the immune system can cause deficiencies and decrease our immune defenses.
Sleep is also noted to be the most important factor for healthy adrenal function, energy production/replenishment, and brain function. To learn more about the effects of sleep on our immune health click here.
TIP: Here are our favorite sleep tips…
- Sleep in a cool environment between 60-67 degrees.
- Work to go to bed each night at a specific time and wake up at a specific time, consistency is key.
- Engage in a relaxation practice daily, especially 1-2 hours prior to bedtime. This can be as simple as taking 4-5 deep breaths following this in and out pattern.
- Take a warm bath in Epsom salts prior to bedtime, you can even add a relaxing essential oil such as lavender or chamomile…yesss!!
- Dim the lights or use blue-blocker tools to help increase your natural melatonin production.
- Consider supplements like magnesium, passionflower, and valerian root daily/nightly to help promote relaxation.
Our list is simple and we assure you it’s also powerful. It brings us back to the basics of lifestyle factors that matter most to our overall level of health.
How are you doing on this list?
We encourage you to stay vigilant with those healthy habits!