By Stuart Bishop, MS, RYT
As autumn approaches and the new school year begins, germs are living their best life. It’s time to really start taking care of yourself. That means paying attention to your body and giving it the love it deserves. So, here are a few tips to help keep you healthy during these infectious times…
Check in with your body. It doesn’t take much time at all and it is well worth the practice. In fact, you can do this before you even get out of bed in the morning! Whether you are lying down or sitting up, close your eyes and scan your body. As you breathe gently in and out through your nose, start with the top of your head and make your way down to your fingertips and toes – just noticing how you feel. Are certain parts of your body sore or tense? How is your breathing? If you just woke up and your mind is already racing with your list of to-dos, then you need this time more than anyone.
So often we feel compelled to do the most and don’t allow ourselves the time that our body needs to rest and regenerate properly. In order for your immune system to stay strong and protect you from bacteria and viruses that are out to get you it is crucial to give yourself some downtime and pay attention to what is going on inside of you in order to not over exert those parts of you that may have already lowered their shields. Building your awareness of those parts allows you to be more mindful throughout your day and protect them. This is a practice you should work into your routine a few times each day.
Drink more water. Instead of grabbing that cup of coffee on your way to work to wake yourself up, have a glass of water first. This helps to flush your system of the toxins that were sitting in your body overnight while you were sleeping. In fact, you may find that you feel more awake after a glass of water in the morning than you do from your caffeine fix. If you don’t – then grab that cup of coffee afterward! Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy.
Schedule a massage. If you can’t afford a massage or don’t have the time to get one with your busy schedule, then you can give one to yourself! You can do this by running the heel of your hand (or a tennis ball) along various parts of your body. You can also gently knead your different muscle groups with your fingertips. Massages help to increase your circulation and boost your immune system. That means that your blood flows more freely and allows your body to more effectively filter out the toxins that weaken your immune system. Massages also decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, which is especially important for people who suffer from anxiety or depression.