6 Ways To Support Your Immune System Over The Holidays
When the festive season rolls around, most of us find ourselves eating and drinking more, being around other people more, and shaking up our daily routines to fit in all our holiday obligations and activities. There’s nothing quite like the holidays to take a perfectly good healthy streak and throw it out the window! However, if you let the festive season take over in that regard, you may be doing some damage to your immune system. When that happens, you open yourself up to getting sick with a cold, the flu, or worse.
Luckily, there are ways to support your body’s defense system without having to forgo everything you love about the holiday season. So, how do you support your immune system over the holidays? And why is it so important to do so? Read on for all you need to know.
How can I avoid getting sick on holidays?
It’s vital to keep your immune system running at its best during the holiday season for many reasons. No one likes being sick, especially around the holidays – there’s nothing quite like a cold to take the cheer right out of festive season. The activities involved in the holiday season, however, are prime for spreading or catching an infection, and if your immune system isn’t up to par, you might as well just get the tissues and aspirin ready now!
People tend to gather more around the holidays. While it’s great to see friends and family, it’s also heightening the risk that someone will pass on a bug that’s going to put you out of commission for a few days. Overindulgence in rich food and drink is also a threat to your immune health, which makes you more susceptible to getting sick.
Tips for boosting immune system during the holidays
So you know how important it is to keep your immune system functioning at its best. Now you’re probably wondering how you can enjoy the holidays while still making sure your body is ready to fight anything that’s thrown at it.
Here are our top tips to support your immune system this festive season.
1. Maintain your sleep routine
Staying out later with friends (or even just staying up late watching holiday movies!) may be tempting at this time of year, but messing up your sleep routine can put your immune system at risk. Sleep and immune health work together closely to keep the body healthy, and the immune system needs proper sleep to help replenish cells and stay strong throughout the day. One or two later nights won’t hurt, but try to maintain your sleep routine as much as possible throughout the festive season.
2. Drink more water
You may be tempted to swap out your daily water intake for hot cocoa, eggnog, or any other festive drink that’s on offer – however, ditching H20 will be a big problem for your immune system. Water doesn’t directly keep you safe from harmful pathogens, but it does keep your body from becoming dehydrated.
Dehydration has been shown to make you more vulnerable when it comes to sickness, and that is the last thing you want to deal with over the holiday season. By all means, go ahead and consume some fun and festive drinks, but make sure you’re still keeping up your daily water intake so you don’t put yourself more at risk for a holiday illness.
3. Keep your stress to a minimum
Stress is rough on the entire body, including the immune system. When you get stressed out, your body suffers from high levels of inflammation as well as issues without how your immune cells function. Because of this, you are far more likely to get sick if you’re constantly stressed out over the course of the holiday season.
Maybe seeing certain people in your extended family is a bit much to handle, or you’re just so busy that you feel like you can’t stop for a single moment. No matter what’s causing your stress, it’s important to try to keep it as low as possible so you can avoid any negative immunity repercussions.
4. Take up meditation
To build on the last point: taking up meditation can be a great way to keep stress levels down. Meditation has been proven to help calm and relax the mind, and if you can take the time to do a short practice every day, you will be far more centered, relaxed, and ready to take on anything the festive season throws at you.
5. Practice an in-moderation attitude towards food and drink
The most common time to overindulge in food and drink is the holidays. However, if you want to keep your immune health in check, you’ll also have to keep your consumption in check. Foods that are heavily processed or high in sugar and fat – like many of the holiday snacks we enjoy around this time of year – can drive inflammation in the body, which hurts immune function.
Too much rich food can also throw off the balance in your gut bacteria, another factor tied directly to your immune health. And drinking is a danger too: alcohol disrupts respiratory function and impairs immune cells, so indulging in one too many drinks can damage your immune system greatly. Try to keep things in moderation as much as possible.
6. Don’t skip your workout
Exercise is one of those things that people tend to take a break from around the holidays. The festive season is seen as a time to relax, and exercise can easily fall by the wayside, especially for those who see it as obligation. If you’re someone who generally takes a break from movement during the holiday season, you’re actually doing yourself and your immune system a disservice. Keep up with your workouts and your immune system will thank you.
The holidays are a time of joy, love, and, of course, indulgence. But to keep your immune health up and running, you want to make sure you don’t go too far in an unhealthy direction. Keep up a good routine with sleep and exercise, manage your stress, and eat and drink in moderation, and you’ll stay healthy into the new year.