I went about two years without getting sick at all, and now I’m feeling under the weather for the second time in the last 6 months. I’ve known for a while that I would need to start taking more action to maintain my health, once I started my career as a nurse. It’s funny how a job that centers around helping others feel better, causes a serious hit to the health of those who are providing the care.
It’s no secret that nurses, people who devote their lives to caring for others, are some of the least cared for people out there. Just a few ways that the health of nurses is put in jeopardy: exposure to sick people, exposure to toxins (cytotoxic drugs, strong cleaning chemicals, hand sanitizer filled with chemicals), lack of fresh air which causes us to breathe recycled, toxin filled air for an entire 12 hour shift, and of course hardly anytime to eat lunch/drink water most days. Yikes.
So, realizing that I’m sick again, along with the fact that I used to never get sick has me asking myself what more I can do to improve my health. I refuse to accept a life of feeling sick all the time, so I’m taking action!
A few weeks ago, I posted 4 wellness steps I’ve taken recently, but those were more focused on mental health. So, here are 4 simple steps to boost the immune system.
1. More fresh air and outside time
Getting some outside time each day is a really simple way to improve your health. On the days that I work, it’ll be a little tougher since I spend 12 hours inside and rarely have the time to leave the floor, even for lunch. My plan is this: I’ll start driving home with the windows down and sitting outside on the porch for a few minutes when I get home. Also, I’ll try to start spending the majority of my days off outside, to make up for the lost time.
2. Consistency with vitamins/supplements
I take a couple of vitamins and supplements “daily”. I put that in quotes because I’m pretty inconsistent with it and I kind of just take them when I remember to. I’m going to start making sure to take them everyday. My daily vitamins include a probiotic, prenatal vitamin, and a dropper of elderberry syrup.
When it comes to exercise, I’ve been slacking lately. It’s hard to find the time and energy to get moving. Back to my job being strenuous, I typically walk about 5 – 6 miles on the days that I work and that walk is more like a light jog because I’m constantly rushing around. So, when I get home I’m pretty worn out. Even so, it’s important to try to get moving outside of work a little bit each day because sweating is one of the best ways for me to detox my body from all of those toxins that I just mentioned! I don’t need to be running 10 miles a day, but a little movement and sweat will really benefit my health. So, I’m going to try to get moving daily, even if that just means doing 15 squats in the evening.
4. Stretching and deep breathing (preferably while outside)
Stretching is something that everyone can benefit from. Stretching can make you more flexible and less likely to injure yourself and it further helps with detoxifying the body. Add in some deep breathing and we’re in business, baby! Bonus points if you accomplish these while outside and getting fresh air.
If being a nurse has taught me anything, it’s that we’ve got to take care of ourselves because no one is going to do it for us. And taking care of yourself is the first and most important step in being capable of caring for others. Don’t slack on your self care, mental health, or wellness. Incorporate these simple steps into your schedule to boost your immune system today!