By Leigh Ann Errico, Executive and Team Coach at LAeRRICO & partners
Life as we knew it is morphing. Many of us are now forging new life and career paths for ourselves, whether by choice or necessity. During the pandemic, it’s mission-critical to stay disciplined about habits that will support our immune systems, especially if we decide to venture out to support local businesses, for example. Here are five tips to help protect your health post-quarantine:
1: Soak Up the Sun: Sunlight is essential to staying healthy. Catching some rays (without sun block) for just 30 minutes a day can have a powerful effect on your immune system. Sunlight helps your body make vitamin D, which is key to a strong immune system. Being exposed to sunlight also increases your body’s nitric oxide production in the blood, according to research. Not only does this improve blood flow, but it helps prevent the replication of viruses and bacteria in the body. It’s also encouraging to note that ultraviolet radiation from the sun helps to inactivate many viruses.
2: Take Zinc Daily: Zinc affects the immune system in myriad ways. According to studies, zinc is essential for the development and function of cells mediating your innate immunity. These cells are responsible for identifying viruses before they get a foothold in your body. Zinc has also been shown to help prevent autoimmune responses, such as in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
3: Don’t Forget the Vitamin D Supplements: Vitamin D is not just for your bones; almost every cell in the body uses vitamin D in some way, according to the National Institute of Health. Did you know that vitamin D is not even a vitamin at all? It’s actually a hormone. According to research published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, vitamin D is needed for the formation of healthy immune cells. It is also vital for keeping the immune system from attacking healthy body tissue. And vitamin D deficiency is linked to higher viral infection rates and auto-immune disease…so reduce your risks by harnessing its magic!
4: Break a Sweat: According to Richard J. Simpson, Ph.D., exercise helps circulate immune cells around the body much more effectively, which allows the cells to identify and stop an infection before it has a chance to take hold. That being said, over-exercise can actually weaken the immune system and increase your risk of infection. Strike the right balance with daily, moderate physical activity.
5: Reduce Stress: Chronic stress can have a very negative effect on our immune systems. According to the Cleveland Clinic, stress can reduce the number of white blood cells and increase the inflammation in your body. A lower white blood cell count raises your body’s risk of infection, chronic inflammation, and auto-immune disease. Spending time in meditation, consistently catching some good quality Zs, and making time for activities that bring you joy will certainly help with the reduction of stress. And here’s a secret: singing is a significant stress reliever. According to a study by the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, large parts of our brain “light up” with activity when we sing. So, wind up your vocal cords to wind down!
Pandemic or no pandemic, developing good health habits is crucial for a strong mind and body that’s able to work for you, toward achieving both your life and career goals. Power UP.
Leigh Ann Errico is a Georgetown University-certified leadership coach, ICF-certified executive coach, Corentus-certified team coach and the founder of LAErrico & Partners.
Article originally published on All Wellness Guide: https://bit.ly/2yADMQD
You can make “new normal” more than a platitude
By Leigh Ann Errico, Executive and Team Coach at LAeRRICO & partners
The past two months have been long, short, quiet, chaotic, busy and idle. They’ve torn down; they’ve built up. Yes, the pandemic has turned our world upside down, but many people are finding appreciation for their new vantage points.
From clients and loved ones, I’m hearing things like “it’s strangely calming not having any social obligations right now” and “I don’t want things to go back to the way they were.“
So, what should you lean into right now, while home and work collide, to transform your life and career?
1. Having the time to exercise (R.I.P. morning commute)
The best thing about saying goodbye to bumper-to-bumper traffic and standing-room-only subways? You now have more discretionary time in your day. Why not use it to improve your physical and cognitive health?
View exercise as part of your job, because it strengthens your focus, enhances your creativity, reduces your stress, and boosts your mood, which your colleagues will certainly appreciate. A study by scientists at Stanford University showed that walking significantly improves cognitive efforts, specifically convergent thinking – the ability to come up with solutions to a problem – and divergent thinking, which involves conceiving open-ended, original ideas.
And remember: exercise isn’t one-size-fits-all. You can break a sweat in whatever way agrees with your body and motivates your mind. Check out nearby hiking trails, discover new exercise channels on YouTube, do yoga on your back patio – no dread necessary.
2. Seeing your loved ones, more than just in passing
We may never experience a drag on the pace of life like this again. Kick off your days by eating breakfast with your kids. Go to “happy hour” on the patio with your spouse. FaceTime with friends and family without feeling rushed, allowing time to really connect.
We all have the opportunity to emerge from this temporary Twilight Zone with stronger bonds and even fond memories.
3. Eating healthier because lunch-on-the-go is no longer the default
Excuses be damned, you finally have the time and tools to prepare balanced meals. You’ll be and share your best self with loved ones and colleagues – whether you live alone or with your cramped-yet-cozy family – when you give your body and brain the nutrition that it needs. Good food choices also reduce inflammation and help keep sickness at bay, according to research.
So, pick up a new culinary hobby and experiment with healthy foods in your “at-home test kitchen.” Then light some candles and put on music – create an ambiance that’s conducive to taking the time to really chew, taste, enjoy and digest your food.
4. Finding your circadian rhythm
Sleeping more at night is important, but so is following your own body’s clock. The pattern of the sun affects night owls and early birds differently. Pay attention to your energy levels at various times of the day, and create a routine that lets you sleep when you’re sleepy. Your productivity will be optimized if you harness the hours when you’re most alert, which is late morning for most people, research shows. But, of interest, people often do their best creative thinking when they’re tired, according to a study examining the effects of time of day on problem-solving.
If you know you do your best work and thinking early in the morning, how should that impact your nightly routine? What requests do you need to make of others in order to hit your goal of getting the shut-eye you need? Answering these questions can make your days a LOT better.
5. Organizing everything from your schedule to your stuff
Order is the mother of peace. The stress in your life will be decimated when you know where things are, where to start, and when and where you (truly) need to be. This sabbatical from chaos is the perfect time to rejig your universe. A bit of purging things no longer serving you will also feel fantastic!
6. Getting lost in thought
Be intentional about spending time in self-reflection. Take stock of what really matters to you. Our time on this earth is limited; don’t waste another day without evaluating whether doing things society has programmed into you makes you happy. Is scheduling a child-enrichment activity every night of the week really enriching your family? Is it getting in the way of being able to achieve your career goals? If some habits are hurting more than helping, don’t go back to the same routine when this is all over. Decide what quarantine quirks you want to take with you into the future and what part of your pre-pandemic life you want to either minimize or never see again.
While you may be someone who hated working in the office but now miss the camaraderie, there are certainly benefits to be reaped from the slowdown. “New normal” can be more than a platitude…you have an opportunity right now to define what it means for your own life.
This article was first published on ThriveGlobal: https://bit.ly/2TDKKf2
Leigh Ann Errico