As winter approaches, our bodies may begin to experience the effects of the cold, harsh air and illnesses that always seem to follow. This winter, we encourage you to prepare your body and mind and keep wellness a priority. Our team at K21 Health Foundation wants to help you and our community achieve the best physical and mental wellness this winter.

Your immune system is your first line of defense against illness. A recent study revealed that due the low-impact flu season last year, people’s bodies have lost much of their natural immunity and are more susceptible to various viruses. Here are a few tips for building up your immune system to prepare for the winter months:

Get Plenty of Sleep
The average person needs six to eight hours of sleep every day. Sleep is vital to recharging your energy; without it, your body loses some of its ability to produce flu-fighting antibodies. By prioritizing sleep, you can boost your immune system while also feeling better throughout the day.

Drink Lots of Water
When you are not sweating under the summer sun, it can be easy to forget to stay hydrated. Health experts recommend that individuals drink around 11-16 cups of water every day. Hydration is incredibly important in the winter as it maintains your energy levels, improves your immune system, and helps with digestion. Try carrying a bottle of water around to stay on track.

Increase Your Intake of Certain Vitamins
Your body needs certain nutrients to help it perform well. As the sun makes limited appearances during Indiana winters, increasing your intake of vitamin D is one way to increase your body’s ability to fight off infection as well as support your mood. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, also helps. Likewise, zinc uses white blood cells to attack disease-carrying pathogens, so remember to eat foods like shrimp, beans, and nuts.

Stay Mindful of Your Mental Health
Studies have shown that high amounts of stress can limit your body’s ability to fight off infection. Holiday activities can be exhausting, so make sure that you are taking time to rest your body and mind. You can do some deep breathing exercises, relax with a book and a hot cocoa, listen to music, or do whatever makes you most relaxed and refreshed.

As winter approaches, build good habits that will keep you and your family well all season long. At K21, we aim to provide resources that will help you keep yourself and others healthy. For more wellness-related resources, visit