We need to expand the conversation about coronavirus to include a crucial aspect of health: proactively strengthening our immune system. “This is one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves,” says Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global’s founder and CEO. Washing hands is of course critically important, but it’s also deeply important that we commit to building healthy habits: prioritizing sleep, hydration, and nutrition, and reducing our stress. 

We asked our Thrive community to share the small steps they take on a regular basis to boost their immune systems and destress. Which of these will you try?

Carve out time for rest

“Being a working mom and startup founder, my life is very hectic. I institute a strict ‘no work on the weekend’ rule, which is critical to regenerate and provide myself rest away from the demands of my business. The break improves my health, and allows me to truly be fully present with my family.”

—Jessica Korthuis, founder and CEO of Sohuis, Atlanta, GA

Stay hydrated

“When I see that there’s a cold going around or the weather is changing, I make sure to drink water and hot liquids throughout the day. If I want to feel like I’ve gotten a boost, I make sure to eat well and go heavy on the fruits and veggies. Somehow it seems like if you nourish your body with liquids and healthy foods, everything else will follow.”

—Maria M., content marketer, Moscow, Russia

Spend time outdoors

“To boost my immune system, I make the effort to spend more time in nature. This is a big one in my book. There are thousands of studies that show how nature improves our mental and physical health. Spending time outside, especially among trees and plants, can boost our well-being, which helps us relax and better cope with stress.”

—Maureen K. Calamia, feng shui author and consultant, Saint James, N.Y.

Listen to a funny podcast before bed

“Even though I can watch the news all day, I am trying to stay away from watching at night and just enjoying the plethora of awesome podcasts out there. Currently, Brittany Furlan’s ‘Worst Firsts’ is my favorite. I love to laugh and she is a hoot.”

—Shelby Sudnick, relations coordinator, Wilkes Barre, PA

Prioritize sleep

“Sleep is the most important way I boost my immunity. Reading a physical book until I feel drowsy is the most effective way I’ve found to drift easily into sleep.”

—Lynne Everatt, writer, Toronto, ON, Canada

Avoid catastrophizing

“I make sure to be aware of the difference between taking something seriously and worrying. Fear is a natural response to real and present danger. You perceive an imminent threat and it demands immediate action. Worry, though, arises as we respond to threats that are more vague or off in the future. Instead of taking action, we catastrophize about what might happen and what, if anything, we should do. It’s important that we listen to expert recommendations, but once you’ve taken those actions, you can relax, have a snooze, or go for a walk. Anxiety only makes you feel worse, raises your blood pressure, and weakens your immune system.”

—David Stone, author and speaker, Cape Coral, FL

Choose organic, fresh foods

“Keeping up my healthy habits to boost my immune system has kept me well after a long battle with an autoimmune disease. I buy healthy, organic food whenever possible, choose plant-based options, and incorporate fresh cold-pressed juice into my diet. I also activate my immune system with exercise, laughter, and mindfulness.”

—Pollyanna Lenkic, executive coach, Melbourne, Australia

Carve out time for movement daily

“Regular exercise helps my body and mind feel better and more relaxed. Even when I feel exhausted or lazy, I make sure to get myself moving, take an easy walk, stretch, or do yoga at least once a day. When I stay consistent, my body feels rejuvenated and ready to fight anything that may come my way.”

—Isabelle Bart, marketing director, Irvine CA

Drink hot water with lemon

“Recently, my new habit is drinking hot water with fresh lemon juice and honey, either in the morning or at night. The lemon juice has Vitamin C, and the honey has antibacterial properties — all of which help boost my internal health. It’s also a comforting drink for me because I enjoy the taste and the knowledge that I’m doing something good for myself. It’s a small habit, but one that has many benefits for me, both physically and mentally.”

—Jenna Tidd, writer and proofreader, Cheyenne, WY

Give yourself daily “calm time”

“To stay healthy, I ensure I get seven hours of sleep, do some form of physical exercise — pilates, cardio, weights, or golf — eat fruits and vegetables, take a multivitamin, and wash my hands. I also meditate daily, even for just three minutes, to give myself some ‘calm time.’”

—Michael F. Hooper, general manager, Miami, FL

Eat foods rich in probiotics

“Greek yogurt and probiotics are my favorite daily immunity boosters. You can consume them fast, especially if you are super busy like myself.”

—Shelby Sudnick, relations coordinator, Wilkes Barre, PA

Start your day with gratitude

“To help boost my physical and mental well-being, I wake up 30 minutes before I am supposed to get up on weekdays for a quick yoga flow, a quiet cup of coffee, and a moment of thankfulness. I set my intention for the day and make a conscious effort to slow down and be present.”

—Jessica Korthuis, founder and CEO of Sohuis, Atlanta, GA

Follow the “KISS” method

“The number one thing I do to boost my immune system is follow the KISS method, which stands for, ‘Keep It Super Simple.’ The less stress you have in your life, the easier it is to maintain a great immune system. Abdominal breathing constantly throughout each day is a great basis for this, but I also know exactly what I need to do to constantly refuel my energy tank. The combination of these things means that my system is more relaxed on a regular basis, which also makes it easier for me to stay well.”

—Bronwen Sciortino, author and speaker, Perth, Western Australia

Try the “three S’s”

“To stay healthy, I follow the ‘three S’s’: sunshine, sleep, and socialization — preferably in person, but a video call will do!”

—Alisha C. Taylor, engineering program manager and life coach, Greenville, S.C.

Take time each day to reset

“In order to be as resilient as possible, I manage my stress by making sure to take time to reset daily — which for me, means going for a walk, taking time to meditate, or calling a friend. I also take active steps to practice self-compassion and limit my negative self-talk so I create a pattern of reminding myself that I’m on my own side. The more supported we feel, whether from ourselves or others, the more resilient we can be.”

—Lisa Abramson, executive coach, Silicon Valley, CA

Embrace healthy habits as a family

“As a working mom of five, life has always seemed a little stressful. For the next two weeks, my children are home from college, high school, and grade school. We will be making a conscious effort to get outside more to breathe in the fresh air, drink more water and tea, fuel with wholesome foods to provide the vitamins and minerals our bodies need, and most importantly, get more than adequate amounts of sleep to ensure we have the strength to power through the stresses that lie ahead.”

—Helen Agresti, dietitian, Erie, PA

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.