“The first wealth is health.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
A friend of mine invited my husband and me to her home for dinner and told us how to she’d already gotten sick and fall hadn’t even started. My husband, who struggles with staying well, can always relate. We started chatting with her about strategies to avoid getting sick.
So often we feel like our health is out of our hands. I know I’ve been guilty of being annoyed at the coworkers who show up in the office while they’re ill or when someone with a chronic cough sits behind me on the bus. Great, I think. Now I’m going to get sick.
But I rarely do. And if I come down with something, I bounce back within a day.
So, now that fall is here and we’re venturing closer to some of the busiest and most stressful times of the year, I’d like to suggest a few things that you can do, things that you’re in control of, to avoid using sick days.
1. Pay Attention to Your Hands
When I was in high school, I worked for a woman who told me she hadn’t been sick in years. This lady had kids, worked insane hours and smoked cigarettes, to top it all off.
What was her secret?
She was mindful about her hands. She washed them throughout the day.
It wasn’t a compulsive behavior. She was very thoughtful about when she did it. Of course, there were the obvious times, like after using the bathroom or taking out the trash. But she also washed them before eating, drinking or having a snack.
And it wasn’t just about keeping her hands clean, she told me. She consciously tried to keep her hands away from her mouth, nose and eyes throughout the day. Germs aren’t as potent when you keep them outside your body.
I’ve been employing this strategy for years. Sometimes I’m better at it than other times. When there’s a pastry tempting me, it’s hard to tell myself to stop and wash my hands. And I often rub my eyes. But, just being mindful keeps me in check and keeps me less susceptible to illness.
2. Monitor Your Calendar
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