As September arrives and we move through from the warmth of summer into the cooler months of autumn, now is a really great time to prepare for the up and coming months. With the kids back in schools and the days growing shorter, we all tend to spend more time indoors which can make us more susceptible to catching illnesses. Getting ill is never fun, not only do you feel rubbish but you can fall behind with your work, struggle taking care of your family and generally have a rotten time. So take some steps to avoid illness where you can with these tips.
Boost Your Immune System
Your immune system is your first line of defence against illness, so keeping it strong is the key to staying healthy in the winter months. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains will provide you with essential nutrients that support your immune system. And with the cosy months rolling in, now is a fantastic time to experiment with different recipes and enjoy comforting and hearty seasonal foods from baked apple desserts to hearty stews packed with tasty veggies and warming curries. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body well hydrated, and go with herbal teas and warm broths which make comforting choices during colder weather too. Take some multivitamins and supplements to boost your line of defences, basic multivitamins arent expensive and certainly wont hurt so pop one a day along with a healthy diet to give your body all it needs.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of getting sick. Indoor spaces mean anyone that’s ill will quickly spread germs to surfaces, so whether you’re at school or work, on public transport or anywhere that other people are around, get into the habit of washing your hands often. Always wash them before eating and carry some hand sanitiser in your bag to use after things like pressing elevator buttons or touching hand rails where germs will often spread. Teach your kids the importance of thorough handwashing as well, kids tend to put their hands in their mouth, rub their eyes and touch potentially germy surfaces more often than adults so are more at risk of picking up these kinds of illnesses. Not to mention their immune systems are less developed as they’ve had less exposure to illnesses than most adults. If you do find that you get unwell despite your best efforts, visit a doctor- either your regular GP or a registered online doctor or chemist. You can have antibiotics prescribed if you need them or generally get some help and advice about how to care for yourself at home.
Keeping up with a regular exercise routine can boost your immune system and keep you in good health throughout the winter. But lets face it, most outdoor activities become less appealing in cold weather, so consider indoor options like home workouts, yoga or joining a local gym. Don’t forget to bundle up if you do venture outside for a walk or run; dressing warmly in layers will protect you from the cold. When its cold outside people naturally tend to spend less time outdoors which can mean less activity overall, you might be less likely to walk and get the bus or drive to places instead and generally your activity might be reduced compared to when its warmer. So try and make up for this by finding fun exercises that you can do inside instead.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Good sleep is crucial for keeping a strong immune system. It’s easier to sleep in the autumn/ winter months for most people- the cooler temperatures make a more comfortable environment and it’s darker earlier and for longer. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to regulate your body’s internal clock, and create a relaxing bedtime routine to wind down before sleep with calming activities. You could do some reading, or take a warm bath.
Stay Informed and Get Vaccinated
In addition to practising healthy habits, staying informed about the latest health guidelines and getting vaccinated can provide extra protection against illnesses like the flu. Each year, get the flu vaccine as recommended by healthcare professionals. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the flu so stay updated on local health advisories and guidelines, especially during flu and cold season.
Winterise Your Home
Making sure your home is prepared for the winter can help keep you healthy- think about things like adding proper insulation, weatherstripping and sealing any drafts can not only save energy but also maintain a comfortable indoor environment. A warm home is not only cosier but can also help prevent illnesses related to cold temperatures. Additionally, it’s crucial to maintain your heating system, whether it’s a furnace or a fireplace to make sure it runs efficiently and safely throughout the winter. Indoor air quality can significantly impact your health. Ensure your home is well-ventilated to reduce the concentration of germs and pollutants. On milder winter days, crack open a window to allow fresh air to circulate. Consider using air purifiers with HEPA filters to trap airborne particles and improve air quality indoors
Stress is a silent killer for many reasons. It can weaken your immune system over time, so it’s really important to manage it effectively. Incorporate stress relief techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises and yoga into your daily routine. Keep up with your social connections like friends and family because this will combat feelings of isolation during the winter months. If you have any elderly loved ones, this is especially important to consider for them so be a good friend, relative and neighbour and check up on them. And always get medical advice if you feel like you’re not coping with your mental health very well. It will benefit you massively by bringing this under control, and you’ll probably get ill less too as an added bonus.