Doctors predict that we may be in for a challenging fall and winter season, both in the battle to fight COVID as well as colds and flu.
So, what are some simple ways to build up your immunities without breaking the bank?
Recently on I spoke with Dr. Jill Carnahan about shoring up our health for the fall and winter months. Together, we walked through this list of seven disciplines that could make all the difference for you.
Each of these hacks are easy to do once, but it’s not until they’re habits that they change us physiologically. There’s an accumulative impact on each of these disciplines.
Love: God is love, and we are His masterpiece! His most prized creation. He wired us for love and is most delighted when we learn to live loved. That’s why the enemy of our souls works so hard to bait us into places of fear, angst, offense, and un-forgiveness. This one “hack” could be a blog post all its own. First, we need to believe that God loved us first and keeps loving us first, every moment of our lives. Then we need to see the importance of loving others well and allowing them to love us in return. Dr. Jill says that among other benefits, living loved changes how our heart beats; it lowers our cortisol and strengthens our immunities.There are differing opinions on the opposite of love: is it fear or hate? Either way, we’d do well to guard our hearts against both ruthlessly.
Sleep: Dr. Jill shared that when patients come into her clinic, the first thing she’ll address is the quality of their sleep because it’s at the core of all health. If you’re not sleeping well, try to put a higher priority on this crucial aspect of your life. Create a peaceful place for sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. Turn off your screens one to two hours before bedtime. Take an Epsom salt bath. Practice deep breathing. Again, this is easy to do once. But making it practice will change your life. Truly.
The opposite of sleep might be striving, yes? Scripture invites us to cease striving that we might know that He is God (see Psalm 46:10). Pay attention to how you respond to stress. Learn to rest your heart in Him, not just at bedtime but all day long.
Clean Water: Experts say you should drink about half of your body weight (in ounces) of water. But not just any water will do. If possible, purchase a good water filter for your tap water or buy a pitcher that filters water and drink up. Your body will thank you!
The opposite of clean water might be beverages high in sugar and caffeine. These drinks initiate an inflammatory response in your body that makes you vulnerable to injury and sickness. Consider weaning off of these beverages for the sake of your health.
Vitamins and Minerals: Some of Dr. Jill’s favorite vitamins for this season are B, C, and D, but she said if she could only pick one for immune health, it would be vitamin D. Vitamin B is great for energy, nerve health, brain function, etc. Vitamin C is great for immune health, cell repair, etc., and vitamin D strengthens immunities and can help with mood and weight loss. Also, don’t forget about the importance of the minerals zinc and magnesium!
I didn’t have an “opposite” for this point, so I’ll say, find yourself some good vitamins and take them regularly!
Eat Clean and Fast Regularly: Do all you can to eat clean, organic food. Set aside specific times to fast; take a break from food to give your body a rest and your heart a chance to reconnect with God.
The opposite to clean food is junk food (empty calories, lots of sugar, highly processed). If it’s processed or in a package, do your best to make a healthier choice.
Exercise Wisely: While I’m a big proponent of exercise, it’s essential to pay attention to what your body is saying to you. You may have planned for an intense cardio workout, but consider a more low-key option if your body is asking for a break. Exercise is excellent for health, physically, emotionally, and mentally. So, be sure to incorporate it into your life, but don’t forget to listen to your body.
The opposite of regular exercise is regular slothfulness; sitting on the couch and binge-watching your favorite shows. If you want to strengthen your health and feel great, trade a few shows for some time at the gym.
Renew Your Mind: We sometimes forget how directly our thoughts connect to our ability to fight sickness and disease. I once read a story about a man who’d been told he had terminal liver cancer with only a few months to live. He died three months later, even though they’d gotten his diagnosis wrong. Not that we can think ourselves in and out of trouble all the time, but it’s true, we can think ourselves sick. As someone loved by God, filled with His Spirit, you have access to the inner throne room of Almighty God. You have His Word. You have His promises. Fix your eyes on Him and your thoughts on what is lovely, and pure, and trustworthy. If you think like a healthy, healed, holy person, you’ll have a better chance of being one.
I dare you to start now and apply yourself to these seven disciplines and see if you don’t feel stronger and healthier along the way.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.