Good health and a well-functioning immune system go hand in hand. The formula is simple: the better you take care of yourself, the more likely you will stay healthy. Here are some suggestions for ways to support your immune system:
- Wash your hands – properly and often.
- Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
- Get an annual flu shot. Make sure all vaccinations are up to date.
- Laugh, do it often, and laugh at yourself. Pursue pastimes that give you pleasure.
- Incorporate at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity into your daily routine.
- Avoid or reduce stress. Engage your spirit in meaningful ways, such as meditation, a walk in the woods, prayer.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs. If you cannot quit, then cut back or get help.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day.
- Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
- Cultivate a positive attitude.
- Maintain friendships and social contacts.
- Keep current with regular medical screenings.
I wish it were easy to follow all these recommendations, but perfection eludes most of us. For me, developing good health habits is a gradual and ongoing process. It is a journey—not a destination.
As winter approaches, it can be hard to stay motivated. Pick a small goal and try to stick to it for a week. If you meet your goal, try it for another week. Don’t start on a new goal until you have practiced this for at least 2 to 4 weeks. Find someone who shares some of your goals. A health buddy can help you stay on track.
Don’t wait until the New Year to embrace new health habits – start now. If time is a problem, ask yourself if you have time to get sick. What will happen to your time if you die early because you didn’t have time to exercise? Today is the perfect day to begin.