No-one knows more than those running their own businesses the importance of well-being. Taking time off sick just isn’t part of the business plan. That’s why for many self-employed people, prevention is by far the best medicine. With winter making an appearance, it’s a good time to get familiar with our tips for acute illness prevention. Here are our three top tips to help you keep the bugs at bay, steer clear of the common cold and keep your business booming all year round.
1 – Eat well
As winter sets in it’s easy to ditch the salads and fill up on comfort food. Stick to warming soups, warm winter salads and stews full of healthy vegetables. Try to eat more seasonally. Leafy greens, potatoes, sprouts, carrots, cauliflower and leeks are all plentiful over the winter months and are great additions to any stew.
Starting the day with a warming and hearty breakfast will give you energy. Porridge oats are perfect for keeping you fuller for longer and are full of vital vitamins and minerals. Add bananas, raisins, nuts and seeds, or grated apple. There are so many variations, and spices like cinnamon, clove and nutmeg can add zing to your delicious warming bowl of goodness.
Short grain brown rice, millet flakes or quinoa flakes are all healthy alternatives.
Garlic contains the compound allicin, which has anti-viral properties. Increasing your garlic intake over the winter could help you to fight off infections. Ginger and turmeric are renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties.
2 – Boost Immunity
Winter colds and flu are the most widespread acute illnesses that people suffer from over the winter. While self-limiting, the inevitable cold doesn’t always let us function on full-throttle. Running your business isn’t easy when you are under the weather. Vitamin C and Echinacea are the top two popular natural cold remedies. Always check with your GP before taking any supplements (this is especially important if you are taking any medications or have a medical condition).
- Vitamin C – while there’s conflicting evidence of whether or not taking a regular high-dose vitamin C supplement reduces the risk of catching the common cold, there has been some evidence to show that it may reduce its duration.
Vitamin C is important for protecting cells and keeping them healthy, and also helps with wound healing. Vitamin C cannot be stored in the body, so daily intake is really important. While it is best to get your vitamin C intake from a healthy balanced diet, taking a supplement over the winter months won’t hurt you. It may in fact do you some good. People with kidney disease should NOT take Vitamin C supplements. Most people can safely take 1,000 – 2,000 mg per day.
- Echinacea – used on a regular basis Echinacea can help strengthen the immune system. It has been scientifically proven that Echinacea affects our immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells.
If you do happen to succumb to a cold, rest and keep hydrated. Warming drinks made from fresh lemon juice and honey are soothing on the throat and help to cut through congestion.
3 – Get enough sleep
Most adults manage on approximately 6.5 hours of sleep per night. During the winter we get less sunlight and our brains produce more of the hormone melatonin as a result (melatonin makes you more sleepy). Make sure you get enough winter sunlight, and as we naturally sleep more in winter because of the winter nights, make sure you get a full 8 hours. Sleep is important for your health and well-being.
You may want to consider health insurance to ensure you are seen quickly if you do find yourself in poor health. Income protection is another consideration to put your mind at rest, in case you are unable to work through a prolonged period of illness.