7 Tips On How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season and Coronavirus (beyond washing your hands and not touching your face!)
I think that everyone on earth at this point probably knows that the best thing we can do to prevent the spread of coronavirus is to wash our hands. (Properly, with soap, while singing happy birthday twice – in case you missed that).
While we’re all hearing a ton about the importance of hand washing and foregoing face touching (and the benefits of social distancing) on the news and from public health experts, I think it’s important to talk about other ways we can take care of ourselves – and society at large – during this international health crisis.
Living right down the street from the CDC, and having a lot of friends who are either doctors or scientists or are married to doctors or scientists, I’ve read a good bit about the risks of coronavirus. And while a lot of people are focused on the fear of getting the virus (or a loved one getting the virus) OR the fear of everyone panicking over the virus, what I have gathered from a lot of reading is that one of the biggest things we need to actually be worried about during this pandemic is the burden it will pose on the entire medical care system.
This means we need to start having a national (or international!) conversation about taking some extra personal responsibility for keeping ourselves and our families healthy – not just from this virus, but in general!
There are things we can ALL do to improve our overall health. As an added benefit implementing these behaviors will help you feel great and enhance the quality of your entire life, too!
Here are 7 things that we can all do to stay extra healthy during and after coronavirus and flu season:
(Disclaimer: I’m NOT a doctor and none of this should replace the advice of a qualified medical professional)
1. Kick processed foods and added sugar out of your diet, and eat a rainbow of REAL, nutrient dense foods instead.
Yep, I’m really saying to trade the deep fried chicken nuggets and candy bars for things like spinach, kale, carrots, blueberries, bananas, avocado, ginger, eggs, olive oil, and lean grass-fed meats and dairy. Your immune system (and body) needs to absorb all the nutrients and antioxidants it can get right now to stay healthy – and the best place to get these are from real, natural, whole foods.
And one more thing – make sure to eat a healthy fat (olive oil, ghee, avocado, etc) with your veggies to help your body absorb all of the vitamins they contain.
2. Go to bed and prioritize sleep!
So many of us prioritize rest when we’re sick, but not before then. But getting enough sleep will help prevent us from getting sick in the first place! So start to make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours a night NOW while you’re healthy. And make it non-negotiable.
3. Mange your stress levels with meditation.
It’s no secret that when you’re stressed out your immune system suffers. There’s a lot of science now backing up that meditation offers a lot of stress resilience and an immune system boost. So instead of panicking about the coronavirus, meditate on inner peace and your natural health state instead!
4. Eat some Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is a unique honey native to New Zealand with scientifically proven antibacterial, anti-microbial and antiviral properties. The stuff is not cheap (it’s not going to cost the same as a plastic honey bear at the local grocery store, sorry) but I always keep at least one jar in my own cabinet.
When I start to get an early hint my body may be getting sick (scratchy throat, minor congestion, etc) I’ll start to down a teaspoon once or twice a day and nine times out of ten, I find that the symptoms will vanish and go away. It’s not a miracle cure, but it tastes yummy and I personally swear by it.
Don’t want to eat it straight? Try sweetening green smoothies with manuka honey while you’re immune boosting!
5. Sage your space
Okay, maybe I just look for any excuse to sage and clear the energy of my space. But science says that sage has antimicrobial and antibacterial powers. It even removes an incredible 94% of bacteria from the air! Once I learned that I started making a sage burning ritual a part of my weekly apartment cleaning. Also the vibe of my apartment feels better when I sage regularly so saging is WINNING.
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate, and Hydrate Some More
Staying hydrated is vital for your body to maintain optimal health. So get rid of that Coke (or if you live outside of Atlanta you probably call it “soda” or “pop” – same thing) and opt for good ole’ H2O instead. Water will help you flush out the toxins and bacteria and boost all of your body’s functions.
One tip I recommend if you struggle to remember to keep drinking water throughout the day like I do – keep bottles of it everywhere. Seeing it works as a psychological trigger to remember. So I keep a bottle in every room and every table. Whenever I notice it, I grab it and take a sip.
7. Wash your hands – and then make sure you’re using moisturizer and eating some probiotic rich foods!
Okay, I know I said this post was about going beyond washing your hands to stay healthy, but this one matters way too much to skip it. Wash your damn hands (here, the CDC will tell you how to do it properly)– it’s the best thing all of us can do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus… BUT also make sure you keep those hands moisturized. Over washing and over sanitizing can lead to cracking (which may allow other germs into your body – oops).
There’s also a lot of evidence that over washing and sanitizing can be really bad for our gut microbiome (which is important for our immune system function) because hand washing gets rid of the good bacteria (probiotics) we’re exposed to, too. So while you’re doing all this extra hand washing make sure to also eat and drink probiotic rich foods and beverages (things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and cottage cheese). You can also take a probiotic supplement to help with this. And you may want to go play in the dirt to get some healthy microbes for your gut, too!