4 Min ReadHealth 18 March 2020
It's a scary time. I can't remember any other time when I felt this much panic in the world. But within this global fear, lies global union. We are all brought together by the need and hope to make it through this tumultuous period in our history.
For the first time in a very long, we are all forced to be still and address our health and wellness in a very serious way. I know everyone is wondering right now what we can do to protect our own health and the health of our loved ones. I'll be giving you my favorite quick, easy, and science-backed methods for strengthening your immune system and protecting yourself from getting sick.
Here are six tips and tricks to consider when trying to strengthen your immune system. Whether you decide to do one or try them all, I think any number would be a great addition to your daily routine to keep you healthier for longer.
#1 Increase Your Intake Of Vitamin C
It's crucial that you take high doses anywhere from 1000 mg - 10000 mg per day. At the higher dosing level it is usually given intravenously; please check with your integrative practitioner if you think you need higher dosing (greater than 5000 mg). Vitamin C at high doses acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, which is vital to helping wounds heal.
I take a combination of oral vitamin C from Thorne, eat foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, and try to get an IV at least monthly. During this scary time, I would recommend getting at least weekly IV vitamin drips with high dose vitamin C.
#2 Increase Your Intake Of A Variety of Mushrooms
Mushrooms work like magic when it comes to helping the body and treating ailments. Different types, taken as a whole, strengthen your immune system dramatically by targeting different aspects of the body.
A key reason mushrooms are such a game-changer when it comes to your immune system is Selenium. A powerful antioxidant that reduces DNA damage and oxidative stress. Studies show that increased blood levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immune response, specifically linked to influenza.
They also reduce cytokines and are rich in polysaccharides, which are connected to protecting you from colds and the flu by boosting your immune system. Mushrooms must be taken cautiously during this time as COVID-19 has also been shown to stimulate the immune system, and there are some concerns regarding a synergistic effect between mushrooms and COVID-19. At this time I would highly recommend discussing the use of mushrooms (because there are so many varities) with your integrative practitioner before you begin.
#3 Decrease Your Stress Levels
It's a stressful time. As much as I can understand being stressed right now, try your best to practice ways to decrease your stress levels in order to keep yourself healthy (and happy!) during this period of anxiety.
High levels of continuous stress lead to near-constant suppression of your immune system. It can also cause issues with your digestive system and circulatory system, which only serves to further diminish your health.
During this time my yoga studio has even stopped offering their classes, which I understand given the circumstance of social distancing, but I cannot recommend yoga and meditation enough to decrease stress levels. Try doing yoga at home with Youtube videos along with meditating for at least 20 minutes a day.
If you don't have time for yoga, then just meditating every day can make a huge difference, not just with your mental health but your physical health as well. There have been many links made between meditation and decreases in inflammation.
#4 Supplement Your Magnesium
I take magnesium supplements every day as well as try and take in magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium helps normalize muscle function in the body. Most importantly, magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm, which regulates blood pressure and the production of cholesterol. This is all crucial in keeping a healthy immune system. Magnesium also benefits the body in a variety of other ways that can help protect you from sickness such as promoting better sleep.
I recommend oral magnesium from Thorne as well as eating magnesium rich foods like spinach, kale, bananas, avocados, and broccoli.
#5 Fresh Garlic
As fresh as possible! Garlic can help boost your immune system fighting off viral infections while also lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. This is because of the Allicin within garlic, and it's antioxidant properties. It's crucial to eat garlic raw or semi-cooked in order to benefit from these properties!
I recommend eating two to three cloves of garlic a day or even drinking it through garlic tea.
#6 Oil Of Oregano
Oil of oregano is another herbal secret that is absolutely magical when it comes to boosting your immune system. The compounds in oregano oil have powerful antioxidant properties. It also has antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. These all decrease inflammation, which is key to modulating your immune system and keeping you healthy.
I mix my oil with some water in a shot glass and take it early in the mornings.
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3 Min Read
The Armchair Psychologist has all the answers you need!
Help! I Might Get Fired!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
What's the best way to be prepared for a layoff? Because of the crisis, I am worried that my company is going to let me go soon, what can I do to be prepared? Is now a good time to send resumes? Should I save money? Redesign my website? Be proactive at work? Make myself non-disposable?
- Restless & Jobless
Dear Restless & Jobless,
I'm sorry that you're feeling anxious about your employment status. There are many people like yourself in this pandemic who are navigating an uncertain future, many have already lost their jobs. In my experience as a former professional recruiter for almost a decade, I always told my candidates the importance of periodically being passively on the market. This way, you'd know your worth, and you'd be able to track the market rates that may have changed over time, and sometimes even your job title which might have evolved unbeknownst to you.
This is a great time to reach out to your network, update your online professional presence (LinkedIn etc.), and send resumes. Though I'm not a fan of sending a resume blindly into a large database. Rather, talk to friends or email acquaintances and have them directly introduce you to someone who knows someone at a list of companies and people you have already researched. It's called "working closest to the dollar."
Here's a useful article with some great COVID-times employment tips; it suggests to "post ideas, articles, and other content that will attract and engage your target audience—specifically recruiters." If you're able to, try to steer away from focusing too much on the possibility of getting fired, instead spend your energy being the best you can be at work, and also actively being on the job market. Schedule as many video calls as you can, there's nothing like good ol' face-to-face meetings to get yourself on someone's radar. If your worries get the best of you, I recommend you schedule time with a qualified therapist. When you're ready, lean into that video chat and werk!
- The Armchair Psychologist
HELP! AM I A FRAUD?
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I'm an independent consultant in NYC. I just filed for unemployment, but I feel a little guilty collecting because a) I'm not looking for a job (there are none anyway) and b) the company that will pay just happens to be the one that had me file a W2 last year; I've done other 1099 work since then.
I'm sorry that you're wracked with guilt. It's admirable that your conscience is making you re-evaluate whether you are entitled to "burden the system" so to speak as a state's unemployment funds can run low. Shame researchers, like Dr. Brené Brown, believe that the difference between shame and guilt is that shame is often rooted in the self/self-worth and is often destructive whereas guilt is based on one's behavior and compels us to do better. "I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it's holding something we've done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort."
Your guilt sounds like a healthy problem. Many people feel guilty about collecting unemployment benefits because of how they were raised and the assumption that it's akin to "seeking charity." You're entitled to your unemployment benefits, and it was paid into a fund for you by your employer with your own blood, sweat, and tears. Also, you aren't committing an illegal act. The benefits are there to relieve you in times when circumstances prevent you from having a job. Each state may vary, but the NY State Department of Labor requires that you are actively job searching. The Cares Act which was passed in March 2020 also may provide some relief. I recommend that you collect the relief you need but to be sure that you meet the criteria by actively searching for a job just in case anyone will hire you.
- The Armchair Psychologist