(BPT) - As work and school routines begin to shift again, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. After a long time avoiding social activity, everyone’s lives are being upended once more. Without knowing what the “new normal” really means, it’s harder than ever to keep your family’s wellness on the front burner. Beginning to re-enter society, going back into the workplace and into the classroom, and interacting with groups of people as you shift into higher gear can be stressful, which can impact your overall well-being.
Registered dietitian nutritionist and certified yoga teacher Keri Gans, author of "The Small Change Diet" and an EpiCor ambassador, offers practical tips to help you navigate your wellness in the midst of all this change.
"The main thing while you get back to a 'normal' routine is to find a balance that keeps your immune system working at its best," said Gans. "The key is to support your gut health, which influences your immune system, because the majority of immune cells originate from the gut."
1. Focus on work-life balance
As you begin changing your routines, build in opportunities to relax and center yourself. Whether that means listening to an inspiring podcast during your commute, making time for yoga or meditation or taking a moment to connect with your loved ones, don’t let your to-do list run your life.
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"Scheduling time for self-care is really important," recommended Gans. "Whether it’s first thing in the morning, during your lunch hour or after work, finding a half hour to do whatever you need to feel balanced is crucial, especially during challenging times."
2. Rethink your diet
While creating a healthy diet may seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Gans advises building meals around whole, unprocessed foods like fresh produce, as well as adding fermented foods.
"Fermented foods offer cultures — beneficial live bacteria or microorganisms — as well as metabolites and compounds produced by those cultures during the fermentation process," said Gans. "These metabolites are part of the foundation for a healthy gut microbiome."
Examples of fermented foods that may help support your gut health include:
- Sourdough bread
3. Reach for supplements to support gut health
Fermented foods are a good way to get metabolites as we mentioned above. However, if you want to be sure you’re getting those metabolites that are clinically shown to support specific health benefits, look for postbiotics. Postbiotics contain those beneficial metabolites and compounds that have been shown through research to support your health. For immune and gut support, look for supplements containing the leading postbiotic brand EpiCor®. It is a first-of-its-kind, whole food ingredient that taps the natural power of fermented foods to positively modulate the gut microbiome.
"Think of EpiCor Postbiotic as a multivitamin for your immune system, which helps you take care of your health every day," said Gans. "Clinical studies have shown that it can help support your immune system for coping with everyday challenges."
4. Stay hydrated
Make sure you and your family always have water with you, especially when you're active outdoors.
"Drinking water throughout the day is crucial for keeping your body in balance," said Gans. "Fill reusable water bottles for every family member before heading out and encourage water as the first choice of beverages with meals."
Water helps your body function at its best by:
- Keeping your digestive system working smoothly
- Lubricating and protecting your joints, spinal cord and tissues
- Regulating your internal temperature
5. Prioritize sleep
Sticking to the same routine for waking and sleeping times, even on weekends and school vacations, can help everyone in your family get the restorative sleep they need for optimal health.
"Make sure everybody has time to wind down and slow down before bedtime," said Gans. "And that goes for parents as well as kids."
Finding balance and prioritizing wellness isn't always easy, especially during stressful times. Focus on the basics, like these tips, to ensure that your body's natural defenses — your immune system — are supporting your overall well-being.