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5 tips to boost immune function over the holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, but in past years have you ever come through it only to realize just how tired and worn out mentally and physically you feel? Perhaps you end up feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation, or maybe you’ve even powered through thinking that you can make up for it when things slow down? The holiday season is filled with great joy, but it can also be filled with strain on the rhythm of our already busy schedules, to the detriment of our wellness. I am hoping we can approach the holidays a little differently this year and enter with a fresh approach. Give your loved ones the gift of your best self with strong health, plus mindful presence this year!


Prevent yourself from feeling tired and worn-out come January by following these helpful tips to keep your immune system optimized throughout the winter season:

Sleep:

Sleep can be a big lifestyle factor pushed down the list of priorities during increased times of travel alongside social events. Making the role of sleep a priority is key to ensuring you come out the other side and into the new year feeling your best. Our bodies and brains repair themselves during our sleep cycles, the recommendation is 7-8 hours of quality sleep. When the quality or quantity of our sleep is poor, we miss out on the restoration process required for optimal brain function. We are less focused, less resilient, less able to make logical decisions and we have fewer internal resources for managing stress and anxiety.

  • Sleep bonus tip: fast for at least three hours before bed so your body and brain can move towards rest and “cleaning house”, rather than staying in digest mode as your head hits the pillow. Consult your Oura Ring in the morning and you might see the difference this can make.


Check biometrics:

Biometric monitoring through devices like the Oura ring or Apple Watch offers a comprehensive overview of health. These wearables track readiness scores, heart rate, heart rate variability, and temperature, providing holistic insights. The readiness score reflects overall preparedness, while continuous heart rate monitoring allows real-time cardiovascular assessment. Heart rate variability offers insights into stress levels and resilience. Additionally, temperature monitoring aids in early illness prediction. Analyzing trends and deviations empowers users to proactively manage their well-being, optimizing daily performance and enabling early intervention when needed.


Supplements + IV therapy:

Continuing to make your supplement regime a priority will very much support and boost your body. Your plan has been tailored to your specific needs, as part of your overall health journey. They are supplemental, meaning they create a powerful synergy that compliments all factors of health. To stay on track, try ordering in advance so you have everything on hand. You can also fill containers in advance of a rushed period of travel and social events for easy compliance.


In addition to prioritizing your supplement regime, incorporating IV therapy can further enhance the effectiveness of your health and wellness strategy. IV therapy involves the administration of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly into the bloodstream, allowing for rapid absorption and maximum bioavailability. This targeted approach ensures that your body receives essential nutrients more efficiently, promoting overall well-being.


Movement:

Movement comes in many forms. What do you love? You don’t have to carve out time to go to the gym every day in order to receive the benefits of movement. Bundle up and go for a brisk walk with a friend (bonus: there are brain healthy benefits of social interaction), dance while you’re cooking, jump rope in the garage, and find creative ways to avoid sitting for too long. Physical activity pumps blood to the brain, which nourishes the cells with nutrients and oxygen.


Food as medicine:

Choose the right fuel - food truly is medicine, something that is always within our power in order to make the best immune supporting choices. Assuming you’re eating the right foods, you can eat to maximize immunity. What are the foods that make you feel your best and help sustain your energy? Deeply pigmented foods are full of antioxidants, allium rich vegetables (garlic, onions, scallions, chives), leafy greens, fermented foods, mushrooms, teas, herbs and spices are a few great choices. Add in some quality protein with healthy fats with avocado to keep you satiated, and not only will you have stable blood sugar, you will be less tempted by snacks and sweets. We’re deep into “sugar season” right now. Sugar is a big contributor to the suppression of the immune system, so ditch the sugar by finding alternatives to the usual offerings.


Temptations will increase as we navigate the different events, that’s a given, so what’s your action plan going in? Don’t leave this to chance as you may get caught off guard. As a first line of defense, ensure you’re hydrated with water before and during your events as this will help decrease the desire to overeat, or to indulge a bit too much. Be mindful of portion size (moderation is key), and choose organic, seasonal, local vegetables and fruits as much you can.


I wish you a health-filled holiday season with loved ones this year! And remember, it’s never too late to begin to make small changes that will affect your healthspan. Prevention is always the best medicine! My hope for you is that 2024 is the best year for your health yet.


In health and wellness,


Melanie Rathbun, NBC-HWC, FMCHC, CFNC, R.H.N.

Functional Medicine Longevity Coach

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