We so often receive the same tips and tricks on how to boost our immune systems: take Vitamin C and Zinc, eat your veggies, and drink tons of water.
Don’t get me wrong, those are beneficial nutrition tips to have in our wellness toolbox! But where are the strategies for those of us who want to optimize the functioning of such an important system of health?
Choose to Optimize instead of Boost
Language and education are such important tools that we can use to empower the communities that are hit hardest by disease to shift towards healing. For that reason, let’s take a closer look at the terms we often use to describe improving our health.
To boost is to encourage something to improve. Sounds helpful, right? Sure, but we can go one step farther by replacing the term boost with optimize. To optimize is to make something as effective as possible.
Would you rather encourage your immune system to improve, or make it as effective as possible to support you in pursuing those ambitious goals? Exactly…Let’s get to optimizing!
The western system of health (think the United States of America) prioritizes treating disease within the physical body.
For example, in a typical visit to a western-trained doctor, you might be asked to describe your job duties, your stressors, your diet, and your physical activity level. However, the majority of the visit might be spent addressing specific symptoms.
Your treatment might include basic healthy lifestyle tips and a prescription for a medication to treat your symptoms.
Alternatively, other systems of wellness (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional African Medicine) are holistic in their approaches to the treatment of disease.
A holistic healer might listen to you describe your symptoms then deep dive into discussing other aspects of your life that impact your present physical state. These other aspects might include your childhood upbringing, your spiritual practice, your digestion, your mental state, your social circle, past trauma, and even the dullness of your skin/eyes/tongue.
Your treatment might include nutritional supplements in addition to a personalized plan to improve all aspects of your life that contribute to your physical health.
We can take action in each of the different aspects of our lives to optimize the functioning of our immune systems.
Drawing inspiration from the NBA’s strategy for continuing the basketball season while protecting the wellness of players and staff, let’s create our own bubbles! No, not a self-isolation sphere. This bubble is more of a visual map of what we can each do to holistically optimize the functioning of our immune systems and improve overall wellness along the way.
Here’s the how to:
Create your own Holistic, Immune System-Optimizing Bubble!
- Grab a sheet of paper and write down the words “Optimal Immune Functioning”. Draw a circle around the words.
- Choose a few wellness categories and draw branches connecting each of them to the center circle. (Feel free to use my example categories below or draw inspiration from the 8 Dimensions of Wellness.) Draw a circle around each category.
- For each category, write down an action that makes you feel like your healthiest self.
- Your bubble is complete! Now keep that chart in a place where you can review it often and remember that optimizing your immune system is a holistic effort.
Your turn. Create your own holistic, immune system-optimizing bubble and be proactive about getting and staying well!