September is a wonderful time of year. It gets cooler and the leaves change. We wear flannel and drink hot chocolate. Yet also: Our allergies flare up and our immune system weakens.
Research has shown that as the seasons change, we become vulnerable to a host of new viruses that thrive in changing internal environment. Influenza, for instance, thrives in cool, crisp climates, and colds are born when our immune system goes into overdrive to fight off seasonal allergies. Here, how to prevent getting sick as the weather changes.
Increase your fluid intake. Drinking fluids is always important to keep a healthy, functioning body and as the weather changes we need to increase our intake even more. Heaters blast, winds sweep through, and as we go from hot to cold and back again, our bodies work overtime to regulate. Keeping hydrated is the number one thing you can do to keep your system operating optimally, so keep that water bottle handy. Another cold-zapper? A cup of tea made with fresh ginger, honey and lemon.
Do some gentle exercise. There is some debate around whether to exercise when you’re not feeling 100%, but we do know that working out can help reduce inflammation in your body, which is one of the main causes of illness.
Walking is one of the best ways to stay active. Take a long, relaxing stroll through a nearby park or take a hike. Be gentle with yourself and make sure you drink plenty of fluids. If you feel a cold coming up, keep walking but take it easy. If it’s nothing too serious, a ten-minute walk can do wonders for the mind and soul.
Get more sleep. Did you know that the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours sleep? The alarming truth is that while this is the minimum amount required, 40% of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep, getting on average 6.2 hours of shut eye. If you fall into the category of people who don’t sleep enough, it’s vital that you spend more time resting, particularly as the weather changes. If you’re already meeting the sleep requirements to be a functioning badass adult, try going to bed a half an hour earlier after drinking a soothing cup of tea. Not so sure sleeping more will help keep the flu bugs away? This might convince you.
Make self care a priority. The concept of self care can bring up images of bubble baths and massages, but the kind of self care that is important to prevent colds is a no-brainer and that is this: Don’t push yourself more than you need to. Take some time to take care of yourself. Enjoy films, reading books and naps in the daytime. Call a friend and enjoy the warmth of being indoors with a cup of tea. Cancel plans as needed. Don’t overcommit. Do whatever makes you feel good on the inside and let your health benefit from it.
Any tips or tricks we missed? How do you keep well when the weather changes?
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