We’re beginning to understand how the immune system helps defeat Covid-19 in certain people. Meanwhile, those most at risk include the elderly, people with diabetes, heart ailments, lung disease, and those who are generally immunocompromised.
Our immune systems are how we stay healthy in the face of any disease. One of the key benefits of improving our fitness, strength, and nutrition is that we hopefully get sick less often in general.
In the midst of the current situation, you may be seeing “quick fixes” promising to boost your immune system. While the health and wellness shysters are in business 365 days a year, plenty of new snake-oil salespeople have slithered out from their holes, promising a miracle pill, herb, or food that will boost your immunity.
In the words of that great philosopher Flavor Flav … don’t believe the hype. At this point, if there were any true quick fix to protect yourself from the virus, you’d hear about it through more reputable channels than a Facebook ad.
Does that mean we’re simply out of luck if our fitness efforts have been less-than-stellar up until now? No, and it’s more important than ever to start right now so you can fight off the consequences should you become infected in the future.
In other words, the impulse to binge-eat, binge-drink, and binge-watch as we stay up late with worry is likely stronger than ever. But that’s exactly the type of behavior that will make things worse for the biological structures and processes that made up your natural defense system.
Here are things you can do right now to help:
Keep Calm: Worries about Covid-19, the stock market, and the general disruption of life have added to our stress levels, but we know that stress also can make you more susceptible to respiratory illness.
Improve Your Sleep: People who regularly sleep less than six hours a night are 4.2 times more likely to fall ill compared with those who got more than seven hours of sleep, researchers have found. Sleep is how your body repairs itself and prepares to fight another day.
Take Vitamin D: While more study is needed on the link between vitamin D and immune health, some promising research suggests that checking your vitamin D level — and taking a vitamin D supplement — could help your body fight off respiratory illness.
Avoid Alcohol: Numerous studies have found a link between excessive alcohol consumption and immune function. Research shows people who drink in excess are more susceptible to respiratory illness and pneumonia and recover from infection and wounds more slowly.
Exercise and Nutrition: A decent level of exercise is important to maintaining a strong immune system, especially when it comes to protecting your respiratory functions. And quality diet may well turn out the difference between who lives and dies in this pandemic.
That said, there’s no “miracle” food or herb that has been proven to bolster a person’s immune system or ward off disease. There are studies that suggest that ginger, citrus fruits, turmeric, oregano oil, garlic, and bone broth may help, but there’s no conclusive evidence.
What about supplements and other wonder products? In a nutshell:
“There are a lot of products that tout immune boosting properties, but I don’t think any of these have been medically proven to work,” said Dr. Krystina Woods, hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West.
For more detailed information on all of the above, check out this article:
Can I Boost My Immune System? | New York Times
If my Gen Z teens are any indication, “vibing” has re-entered the popular lexicon. And just in time, a new theory of consciousness suggests that every physical object, including you, is vibrating and oscillating — and you’re more in tune with some than others. Far out, man.
Take Your Lumps
Introducing positive change in your life boils down to two key moves: recognizing the value in assembling right-sized lumps of resources or effort, and engineering the slices necessary to get there.
To Achieve Your Goals, Lump and Slice | Behavioral Scientist
By now you’re aware of the midlife slump (not usually a crisis) that happens in your late 40s. Getting through it to the upside of 50 involves a focus on what’s meaningful to you. It starts with asking yourself the right questions.
Here’s How to Find Meaning in Your Midlife Crisis | Greater Good
Down below, Trudi has tips for those who are new to working at home. And in the Flashback, we watch Janet’s version of dancing while social distancing (it’s still Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty).
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By Trudi Roth
Sure, Covid-19 presents a novel situation — along with the concept of “social distancing” — but it’s not our generation’s first rodeo when it comes to dealing with isolation and adversity.
Gen X are the O.G. home warriors, having been the first generation of latchkey kids. We came of age personally and professionally during the threat of nuclear war, the AIDS epidemic, and 9/11.
All of it adds up to our signature character traits, including independence and resiliency. But now, we have to take care of others while taking care of ourselves.
We’re particularly impacted by the pandemic, which is forcing us to stay home on multiple fronts, from employers’ mandatory work-from-home policies to family needs, like caring for kids who are out of school indefinitely and vulnerable, elderly, housebound parents.
The ability to keep calm and carry on isn’t just about being physically wired to stay connected; it’s about plugging in practices and attitudes that support productivity and long-term viability.
Do your homework
Remote work is nothing new; research shows it’s been rising for more than a decade. Fans of flexible arrangements emphasize how it’s a boon to productivity, job satisfaction, sustainability, and overall health and happiness.
On the flip side, others, like researcher and author Kevin Roose, see distance work as overrated, citing a lack of stimulation and social interaction as creativity buzzkills.
“…being near other people also allows us to express our most human qualities, like empathy and collaboration. Those are the skills that can’t be automated. And they’re what produces the kind of meaningful interpersonal contact we miss out on when we’re stuck at home.”
Read between the research lines, and you’ll notice it’s the psychological and emotional pay-off of engaged work at the core of the work-from-home conversation. So setting yourself up for success goes beyond checking your broadband and collaboration apps, creating a home office, and getting out of sweats.
Embrace the linchpin mindset
For more than a decade, Seth Godin has promoted the linchpin mindset to make yourself indispensable (via a book that Further founder Brian Clark is featured in, by the way). Whether you work for an employer or as a freelancer, it’s about moving beyond being told what to do and meeting spec, and digging deeper to bring your art to the table.
Social distancing and forced remote working allows you to test drive being a linchpin, according to Godin:
“The best way to work from home is to plan your own agenda, organize your peers, make bigger promises, show up often, lead, connect, innovate and ask hard questions. And then do it all again.”
Lead from your laptop and take personal responsibility, challenge the status quo, and find ways to facilitate change. After all, keeping your career healthy has never really been about where you work, but how you work.
Work From Home | Seth Godin
Sorry, but Working From Home Is Overrated | New York Times
Janet Jackson – The Pleasure Principle
Pick just about any song on Janet Jackson’s album Control, and it’s great. But perhaps my favorite from the Terry Lewis/Jimmy Jam produced masterpiece is The Pleasure Principle. Maybe it’s the video? (YouTube)
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