Keep your immune system healthy
Recent reports show that in the majority of people who have a healthy immune system, COVID-19 is a relatively mild illness, so what can you do at this time to help to support your immune system?
As a professional acupuncturist, this is an area where I can make some suggestions, based on Chinese Medicine theory.
It’s really important that whilst socially isolating, you get an appropriate balance of activity, rest and sleep. Resist that temptation to stay up late at night watching box sets; try to get a regular 7 or 8 hours of quality sleep.
Get up at your normal time each day, or avoid staying in bed too long. Morning is the best time of day to practise meditation or mindfulness exercises, both of which can be helpful to our immune system in dealing with the stress of all the current uncertainties in our lives.
If you are struggling with sleep, or have concerns about Sleep Apnoea (sleep disordered breathing), the experts at Sleep Unlimited offer a ‘one stop shop’ for all things sleep right here in Durham.
Build some kind of exercise into each day. Going for a walk outside in the fresh air is ideal, if you are able to do this. If not, try to do some activity within the home. There are lots of ideas springing up online for how to do this.
The longer we have to stay indoors the more important it will become to maintain a healthy weight. But importantly, have fun and connect with others and it becomes a lot easier to manage.
Everyone gets stressed. Short bursts of stress may help your immune system, but in contrast, long-term stress can become a problem.
You can take action to reduce your stress levels:
- Exercise and good quality sleep (see above)
- Learn and use relaxation techniques
- Take time for yourself
- Build your support network of people you can talk to
- Contact a counsellor if you’re going through a very stressful time
What we eat is really important in helping to support our immunity.
In Chinese Medicine, the immune system is referred to as ‘Wei Qi’. This is understood to be created by the combination of Kidney Yang and Stomach Fluids.
Choose moistening breakfasts like porridge, and slow-cooked foods such as soups and stews. Avoid processed foods and sugar and cold, un-cooked foods, especially whilst the weather remains cold.
We all know that eating plenty of vegetables, with as wide a variety as possible, is good for us as they contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Having more time at home will give us all the opportunity to cook more wholesome, fresh meals.
Give your immune system an advantage
A lot of useful information out there is common sense, like making sure you wash your hands regularly, don’t smoke and try reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
But it’s always a handy reminder that your immune system defends you against viruses. You can pro-actively support it by giving it the best odds of fighting whatever comes your way.
Jill is a traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist, and is available to chat over the ‘phone during the Coronavirus lockdown that prevents face-to-face consultations. Find out more about Jill on her personal profile page.