How to Support Your Immune System in Times of Uncertainty

Visual Freedom

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I love the internet, and I love the fact that everyone can share their opinion freely through several platforms, but I hate the fact that this fact currently leads to panic all over the world.

Just like 99.9 % of the population, I have no clue about the coronavirus.

I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know how it could spread so quickly, I don’t know how long it will bother us, I don’t know how many people will die, and I don’t know how we will manage to beat it.

But I am sure we will soon beat it.

Throughout the history of humanity, we already faced so many tragic happenings, pandemics, wars, and ultimately, the world always kept moving and evolving.

I don’t say that the current happenings and the consequences are minor — certainly not.

I am living in Austria, in the heart of Europe, and right now, our lives are essentially locked down. Schools are closed, everything except supermarkets and pharmacies is closed, hundreds of people are infected, and the government is preparing a vast exhibition hall as a treatment center for infected people as they are expecting ten-thousands of infections within the next two weeks.

Life is not fun right now. Yet, I am glad our government is taking every measure to prevent the worst possible outcome.

On the one side, we can’t do anything but wait. Yet, on the other side, each of us can contribute to solving this crisis by taking the little measures that are suggested, such as reducing social contact and washing our hands more frequently.

I believe every person must follow the recommended guidelines and do anything they can to prevent even worse effects of the virus.

Besides following the restrictions of our local governments, we all can do one more thing: Taking care of our bodies and strengthening our immune systems.

Instead of panicking and emptying our local shops, we all should take measures to strengthen our bodies and support our health. The more we enhance our immune systems, the stronger we are against the virus, and we could possibly help in slowing down the spread.

I am not a doctor, scientist or nutritionist but I’ve been interested in maintaining and strengthening my health for many years, so I dived deep into how I could boost my immune system and here are my favorite tips that can easily be applied.

Practice Stress Management

Stocking up on noodles, flour, or canned foods might seem like a good choice, but focusing on your mental health will offer huge positives in the long term.

Here in Austria, most supermarket shelves are empty. Even though the markets have full stocks and the government ensures an ample supply of groceries, people are buying food and toilet paper like crazy.

As mentioned above, I don’t know if that’s the right thing to do. But I don’t believe it is. None of us will die of hunger.

Instead of spreading panic and following the mass, we should practice stress management and mindfulness.

Maybe, doing a 15-minute meditation can help you more than stocking up two more packages of pasta?

Even though having food at home seems like a safety measure, working on our mental health will facilitate our lives in times of coronavirus.

A healthy mind ensures a healthy body, and several studies prove that being stressed leads to a weak immune system. Therefore, taking care of our minds is at least as necessary as running errands.

“But what exactly can I do?!” you might ask, here’s the answer:

  • Practice self-care. In central Europe, most countries advise their residents to avoid social contacts and stay at home. That’s just perfect for investing some time in yourself, right?! Prepare a cup of your favorite tea, grab a good book, watch a cute movie, take a bath, put that face mask on, do whatever helps you calm down.
  • Meditate. Choose some guided meditations and allow yourself to breathe instead of panic. Find peace in the calm and strengthen your body from the inside out.
  • Start journaling. You are afraid? Well, I guess we all are. I am 22 years old, and so far, I haven’t experienced this much uncertainty ever before Being afraid is normal, but we don’t have to get crazy because of our fear. Instead, write your thoughts down, let your fear flow into words, and allow your mind to calm down by putting your emotions into words.

Get Adequate Sleep

According to scientific studies, a lack of sleep not only weakens our immune system, but it actually makes us sick.

People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to fall ill after being exposed to a virus. Additionally, a lack of sleep will harm your mental health, further weakening your immune system.

We all are excited about the news, and sleeping in might be a little harder during those times, but it certainly makes sense to get a good night’s sleep during a crisis.

Instead of watching or reading the news, build a calming evening routine, allow yourself to drink some calming bedtime tea like chamomile or lavender, and enjoy your well-deserved rest.

Stay Active

In Austria, gyms are closed for an uncertain time. However, that’s no valid reason to become a couch potato.

It’s crucial we keep ourselves active even if it’s just a 10-minute home-workout — do it! Your body and your immune system will thank you later.

As long as you are allowed to get outside, use the chance for some extended walks, breathe in the fresh air, and move your body.

Yes, most people are afraid to get outside, but there’s no danger in a short walk or run. Walking in a park is undoubtedly safer than hunting for groceries.

Eat Fruits and Vegetables

…especially, fresh, organic ones.

A proper diet is a foundation for a healthy body and a robust immune system.

While everyone is bulk-buying pasta, flour, and processed, long-lasting groceries, we should actually focus on nurturing our bodies with essential vitamins and minerals.

Consuming an extra-portion of steamed veggies is undoubtedly going to protect you more against the coronavirus than updating the news page for the 50th time in a row.

Even though people are shopping like crazy, you should look out for fresh fruits and veggies anytime you can. And as long as the supermarkets remain open, I’ll keep cooking healthy meals instead of panicking.

Include Garlic, Ginger, and Turmeric

Including these little magical cures to our diet gives our immune systems an additional boost.

Ginger and turmeric are the most extensively studied ingredients in herbal medicine, and they are both known to relieve pain, protect against infections, and enhance the immune system.

You can add these little helpers into your diet in many different ways. For example, you can spice up your veggie-loaded meals.

But you can also consume ginger and turmeric separately. Such as through a ginger and turmeric shot. What I personally prefer is putting some ginger and turmeric into warm water with lemon every morning.

If I have it at home, I use fresh ingredients; if not, I grab the powdered versions which are still full of power.

Eat Protein

My diet is mainly vegan, and on some days, I really need to take care of getting my daily protein intake. While we have lots of plant-based, protein-loaded groceries to choose from, we sometimes forget to include them in our meals.

On most days, it’s not critical as I eat healthily and in a wide variety, but in times of the coronavirus, I take special care of my protein intake.

Proteins are vital in repairing our bodies and fighting infections. A considerable part of our immune system relies on proteins, and too little intake might lead to weakness, fatigue, and weak immunity.

Therefore, adding an extra portion of proteins instead of carbs to your plate is undoubtedly the right decision.

Especially for vegetarians and those following a plant-based diet, taking more care of our protein intake might be a considerable measure to strengthen our immune systems these days.

Wash Your Hands Frequently

I assume you’ve heard this a million times in the past few weeks, but…according to experts, that’s the most substantial measure we all can take; so, we need to make it happen.

Bottom line

We don’t know how this crazy situation is going to end. Yet, I hope and believe in the best.

Yes, there’s a lot of negativity going around. People are afraid, and many act out of selfishness to protect themselves, but there’s also a lot we can learn from the current situation.

We can learn to collaborate, to take care of our health, and to invest in our wellbeing.

Even though the harmful effects of the coronavirus will surely last for some time, I hope we also learn some lasting lessons about globalization and the climate crisis.

I honestly hope most big companies will realize a lot of work can be done remotely and give more freedom to their workers. I hope people will recognize that video conferences are sometimes enough, and not all work-related travels are necessary. I hope many people will re-think their nutrition and switch to a plant-based diet.

And last but not least, I hope we will manage to get out of this global craziness with love and integrity for each other.

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