When the seasons change and temperatures shift, you may be more likely to encounter certain viruses, including the flu and the common cold. And if you have seasonal allergies, pollen and mould from plants can aggravate your immune system too.
The good news is there are steps you can take to stay well so you can welcome the new season instead of sniffling through it.
Take time for yourself
The start of any new season can bring about schedule changes that might leave you more susceptible to sickness. Shuffling kids to sports practice or attending lots of winter events can leave you with less time to relax, exercise or eat right. The added stress can also slash your body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells, putting you at greater risk of catching something.
This is why it’s worth finding ways to unwind every day, like meditating or reading quietly before bed. Even a few minutes can make you feel more relaxed.
Add more movement to your day
Being active helps flush illness-causing bacteria out of the airways and strengthens infection-fighting white blood cells. Plus, it can help keep stress in check.
The Heart Foundation recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or vigorous intensity physical activity each week, along with resistance training twice a week. It can be difficult to fit regular exercise into an already busy day, so look for ways to be active in shorter bursts — plan a power walk at lunch or have an impromptu dance party with your kids after dinner.
Also, if you usually exercise outdoors, think about hitting the gym or taking indoor classes during seasonal shifts.
Fight your exposure to germs
Even if you wash your hands regularly, there’s no guarantee others are doing the same. Wipe down surfaces at home and at work with a disinfectant, paying special attention to germ-prone areas like doorknobs, phones, keyboards and remotes.
And if a bug is going around, see if you can take advantage of any work-from-home or flexible work policies to avoid being in contact with others who may be sick around the office or on public transport.
Fill up on protective foods
Eating more of these power picks can help you feel your best.
Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables serve up vitamins A, C and folate which all help fortify your immune system. Try to buy local produce when possible, since foods picked and consumed when they’re fresh tend to pack more nutrients.
Fatty fish and eggs are both rich in vitamin D which activates the immune system when germs invade.
Nuts and seeds provide a healthy dose of vitamin E, an antioxidant that also works to keep infections at bay.
Plain yogurt contains good bacteria which boosts gut health.
Make a serious effort to sleep better
Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Even falling short for a few days lowers your defences against germs and makes you more susceptible to getting sick. If you have trouble sticking to a bedtime, set an alarm on your phone to remind you it’s time to start winding down for the evening.
Try to keep a consistent sleep routine even if the seasonal shift changes your schedule. When things get hectic, streamline other tasks so you can still get to bed on time.
© MetLife Insurance Limited (MetLife) 2017. While care has been taken in preparing this material, MetLife does not warrant or represent that the information, opinions or conclusions contained in this information are accurate. The information provided is general information only is current as at the time of production. It has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon as such. MetLife recommends that you obtain independent and specific advice from appropriate professionals before implementing a financial strategy, including reading any relevant product disclosure statements and/or terms and conditions.
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