How to support your immune system.

Looking after our immune system is high on all of our priorities right now as the country and world begins opening up restrictions.

Your body has already been on high alert since early in the year and in the next few weeks and months it will be tested as you begin interacting with more people.

You will be triggered in many ways – physically, mentally, emotionally and all of this plays a role in stress on your nervous and immune systems. To counteract this, you need to be proactive about your physical, mental and emotional health.

Sleep and Rest.

Some people sleep well, some people don’t. Try to get as much quality sleep as you can. If you aren’t able to sleep through the night, at least rest. Rest is also important – there’s no point in getting agitated on top of not sleeping – it doesn’t help you sleep or rest.

Whether you suffer with insomnia or not, here are some tips. Look at your bedtime routine, don’t eat a heavy meal late at night just before you go to bed. Don’t drink alcohol to help you sleep – you won’t get good quality sleep and you’ll probably wake from drinking it later in the night anyway. Remove all screens in your bedroom – they activate your brain not settle it. Try to have a wind down routine before going to bed, like reading, restorative yoga or some other self care routine. It’s hard to run around being super busy and then fall into bed expecting your mind to settle instantaneously. Go easy on yourself.

Go outside & exercise.

Get some fresh air during your day. Whether it’s a walk, cycle, run or sitting outside spending time in nature helps you settle, become grounded. Exercise looks after your overall health and getting outside is good for your physical, mental and emotional well being.

Gardening

Gardening is great in many ways; it’s outside, you’re in direct contact with nature, it’s a mindful activity – your mind is usually absorbed in the task at hand-  instead of forming your next ‘worry list’.

You also reap the rewards of your labour in the form of the food you grow, flowers to look at, scents to smell, a nice place to be and you might encourage wildlife to visit. Get a bird feeder to get some birds visiting – endless entertainment. You don’t have to have a big garden, a few plants in pots are all you need.

Hydration

We are mostly water. Every cell needs water to function. By staying hydrated you give each cell in your body the optimum chance at doing its’ job more efficiently – whether it’s a brain cell, digestive cell or lung cell. Drink water, if you need to break it up variety wise – add in juices and herbal teas.

Cultivate your interactions

There is a saying

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – Choose wisely.”

This doesn’t just include who you are spending time with physically – but also who you’re interacting with regularly in person, through video chat, text or other. It includes the tv you watch, the radio shows or pod casts you listen to, what you read, how much news you are watching. All media you use, all communication that you are involved with. All of these things are have an effect on your health. You will be triggered, enlivened or drained depending on what it is.

flowers on opened book

Some of your interactions might be unavoidable like a work situation, or a family member  – you’ve got to keep interacting with them but maybe you can look at how that happens and move it in the direction that you want it to go. Maybe you can balance it with other things that feed you in a good way.

The rest of your interactions should be managed and curated to nourish you. Track how you feel after these interactions and move in the direction towards or away from the ones that you want to cultivate in your life. This involves setting boundaries as to when and how long you are available for that persons attention. Prioritise the interactions that you want to cultivate.

pile of assorted varieties of vegetables

Eat well 

Eat seasonally, locally and get some fresh food into you every day.

Everyone is different, track how you feel immediately after your meals and for the the few hours after it. If food is making you feel bloated, sluggish, or it’s hard to digest – don’t keep repeating that pattern. Make your changes accordingly and try something new.

person washing his hand

Wash your hands

Organise your systems for hygiene – for coming in and out of work, car & home. Think about it, write it down, practice it.

Make changes if you need to – in the long run you’ll get a routine and it will be less stressful if you sort out a system early on.

Take care of your skin – use natural balms and creams to stop skin from drying out.

Take some deep breaths.

Sometimes everything just gets away from you. Don’t forget to breathe.

If things get on top of you try this to destress;

Take a deep breath and allow your exhale to be longer than your inhale. Do this a few times and then return to your normal breath. Then repeat as you need it.

This shouldn’t be a big big effort. It’s not an endurance test, it’s not about how big the breath is or how long your breathe in and out for. If you’re struggling, you’re trying too hard, just take a normal breath and make your exhale slightly longer and work from there.

Do something that relaxes you.

person holding black pen sketching flower

You get to pick – so make it something you love to do. Watching tv doesn’t count – that’s a separate category! It could be a hot bath, a walk in the forest, reading a good book, flower arranging, drawing, colouring in, painting. Instead of a chore list – what would you like to do list?

Meditate

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky

Please don’t think of meditation as another thing you need to get good at.

Take a few minutes out of your day to sit, allow your mind to rest. That’s it. Yes, you are doing it right. Yes, you might notice your mind is very busy – that’s ok. Noticing what you notice means you’re doing it right. Rest your mind.

selective focus photo of bottle with cork lid

Diffuse essential oils – Essential oils have many properties which they can be chosen for – antibacterial, anti viral properties are examples but ultimately you need to like the smell. Essential oils can really help your physical, mental and emotional well being. If you need essential oils, diffusers or creams and balms I can recommend Obus.ie to buy oils, and skin care creams.

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