As you get ready to go back to work and back into your community, there’s an important factor you need to consider… the status of your immune health. While you might have been isolating at home in order to stay healthy during the pandemic, you should keep in mind that your body may need some help transitioning before getting back into the real world Enhancing your immune system could help ensure that your body can handle all the bugs and foreign substances it may encounter soon.
Since you’ve been in quarantine for the past couple of months, you may think you have nothing to worry about when you start interacting with other people and resuming life as normal. You may want to think again. Your health may be good now, but your immune system could be lower than normal.
Let’s face it, for many people, these past couple months have been stressful. Whether you are trying to work from home with the kids running around, or dealing with the unknowns of unstable finances and job outlook, we are all battling our own struggles right now. The bad news is that all this stress can influence our immune health negatively. Chronic stress will increase cortisol hormone levels. When these levels are elevated over long periods of time, it can decrease your levels of lymphocytes and suppress your immune system. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that play a vital role in immune health by helping to fight off infections. If your lymphocyte levels are low and your body comes in contact with foreign invaders, it won’t have as many resources to fight it and to properly stage the defense and attack against the invader.
Are you staying up late watching Netflix or doing more scrolling on your phone at night in order to feel connected to the outside world? This lack of sleep could be doing your immune health harm. Your body needs a solid 7-9 hours (give or take) of sleep each night to cycle through the natural stages of the sleep cycle. This is critical for your body to be able to rest and restore. If you don’t allow your body to go through this natural cycle, your body can become more susceptible to infections. People who are sleep deprived have higher levels of pro-inflammatory markers. Over time, these increased markers can cause chronic diseases and other health issues like anxiety, depression, mood disorders and other inflammatory conditions.
Being isolated from friends, family, and coworkers can have a huge effect on your mental health. Not only are we all trying to wrap our heads around experiencing a pandemic, but we also don’t have the human connection we are used to. Many people are experiencing anxiety, depression, and loneliness. We know there is a mind-body bidirectional connection that affects our health. A weakened immune system can lead to depression and anxiety, but depression and anxiety can also lead to a weakened immune system. Immune response has been shown to be weakened by loneliness and reduced social engagement. Since we all have not been socially interacting as much as we’d like, it’s normal as a human being to feel this sense of loneliness. However, just be aware that because of this, your immune health may not be as optimal right when you get out of quarantine.
How has your diet been these last couple of weeks or even months? I can not tell you how many people have come in saying how they have fallen off track with their healthy eating habits. Sales for convenient and comfort foods have gone through the roof across the country and world during this time. Do you find yourself picking at food in your pantry or mindlessly grabbing handfuls of snacks every time you enter the kitchen? It might be a different story if these snacks were organic vegetables or fruits, but the majority of people are over making healthy meals at this point and just want an easy choice to grab for. The grocery stores may also be low in fresh produce, leaving you to the prepackaged food choices. Since our eating habits are one of the major factors influencing our immune health, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge the kinds of foods we’ve been putting into our body. Since we are getting close to getting back into the normal world, it’s vital that you hop back on that health train. Stop by the farmers market and load up. Not only can you start preparing your body by giving it immune-supporting nutrients, but you can do your grocery shopping outdoors, which helps reduce the risk of spreading viruses/illness
Because of the reasons we laid out above, it’s important to start incorporating immune-enhancing practices into your routine. By the time you go back to work and out into the community, your risk of contracting an illness will be much lower and is frankly your best defense towards the Sars Cov 2 and many other viruses we will be exposed to. Keep your health your top priority so you don’t fall ill as soon as you get your normal life back! Start now to enhance your health since it’s not a quick overnight fix. Most importantly, focus on fixing your gut so your microbiome is in balance. A healthy gut is essential in fighting off infections and illnesses since 80% of the immune system begins in the gut! Here are some easy ways you can help your gut and enhance your immune system.
If you are interested in boosting your immune system fast before you head back to work, get in touch with in2GREAT Functional Medicine Clinic located in Kansas City. Not only do they offer IV therapies, but they also offer a number of other services that can optimize your health. You can get in contact with in2GREAT to make an appointment here or give them a call at (913) 308-0174.