This flu season, if encasing your cubicle in a plastic isolation tent and bathing in hand sanitizer sounds like a wellness strategy, we’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that flu season has officially started and it will likely peak in December and February. Even worse, is that it can go until as late as May.

The good news is that there’s an alternative to getting sick along with everyone else. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to fending off the flu and there’s so much more you can proactively do beyond getting the flu vaccine. There are healthy habits and additions to your self-care routine that can make “getting down with the sickness” a little less likely.

Stay Sanitary

Ok, so maybe the isolation tent we mentioned earlier doesn’t seem so unattractive once hacking coughs take over the office soundtrack. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face and having hand sanitizer readily available. We recommend a pump bottle of an alcohol-based sanitizer on everyone’s desk, in bathrooms, near the copier, in the kitchen and in any common spaces.

Wipe it down. 

Disinfectant wipes can be your best friend during flu season. Keep them handy to wipe down your desk, doorknobs, keyboard and phone. It’s a good idea to have a regular schedule for wiping down knobs and surfaces in shared areas like the copy and break room. Also, be sure your office is well stocked with disinfectant cleaning supplies, kleenex, paper towels and soap, so pathogen-prone areas like the bathrooms steer clear of germs.

Take a sick day. (We mean a real sick day.)

An effective, and often overlooked method to repel the flu is to encourage any one who is feeling under the weather or symptomatic to stay home! We often go into work when we shouldn’t for a myriad of reasons, but when it comes to the flu, there’s really no exception. Staying home can prevent an epidemic at your workplace and will ultimately help you recover faster.  

Be the Emily Post of Flu Etiquette. 

For those who disregard this advice or simply must go in, we recommend abiding by a few important actions. So everyone is on the same page, send an educational email and post signs in common areas like the bathroom and kitchen to enforce courtesies to engage in while sick. Include everything we’ve mentioned so far and common-sense behaviors that sometimes need reminding like covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing or better yet, suggest wearing a surgical mask to prevent the spread of germs. (You can also forward this blog to inspire everyone to stay flu-free!) 

Fuel up your immune system.

Eating healthy and staying hydrated may be more important than ever during flu season. Make big batches of healthy soups full of lean proteins, legumes, whole grains and lots of vegetables to give your body a major dose of nutritional goodness. Even a simple, warm bone broth (you can find shelf-stable, ready-made brands at your grocer) will contribute to hydration and do a body a lot of good. Tote your steaming creation to the office in a heat-preserving container to avoid the reheat lines at the microwave.

Flood yourself.

Be sure to drink plenty of water. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are ok to meet your fluid quota, just don’t overdo it on the caffeine, as it can be dehydrating. Experts recommend at least 8 oz. of water, about 6-8 times a day to help your system function at its best. If you use a reusable water bottle, be sure to clean it daily. 

Consider supplements.

Vitamin C, echinacea, olive leaf and oregano are just some of the vitamins and herbs that many swear by for fending off the flu. Although studies have had a hard time proving this, the placebo effect may be powerful enough to give these a shot. If you’ve never tried these remedies as immunity support before, be sure to note the recommended dose and try combination formulas from reputable brands like Emergen-C and Source Naturals Wellness Formula.

Essential oils have gotten a lot of attention recently due to the popularity of aromatherapy and the fact that most of them smell pretty darn delicious. One of the brand doTERRA’s most popular oils, On Guard is “a powerful proprietary blend that supports healthy immune function* and contains cleansing properties.” It’s worth considering and makes a great gift since that’s also the time of year we’re in.

Keep Stress at Bay 

If you’re reading this you’re probably ok with acknowledging the connection between the body and mind. It’s no coincidence that flu season corresponds with the most stressful time of year; holidays, family obligations, over-extended social calendars and the prospect of taxes can all contribute to feelings of stress. Research has shown that stress can affect the immune system “in a potentially detrimental way.”, so it’s more important than ever to regularly engage in activities that can help support you feeling your best, like meditation, moderate exercise and getting adequate sleep.

Be a Wellness Warrior

Why not think of yourself as your workplace’s Wellness Fairy or Flu Police? Start by making sure everyone has plans for coverage in the event they have to take a real deal sick day. Post wellness strategies in prominent places as not-so-subtle reminders of good sanitary habits. Start a “Flu Fund” and then gift everyone a travel-size hand sanitizer on a carabiner clip, a package of disinfectant wipes, a box of kleenex, a packet of Emergen-C, a disposable surgical mask and a print out of these flu-fighting tips from the CDC that no one’s going to argue with.

Ready to soup up the wellness in your workplace? Goomi comes right to your office with offerings to support stress reduction and a healthy lifestyle. Book Meditation, Yoga, or Massage to help reduce stress and keep employees feeling good- both mentally and physically. Or book a Cooking Demonstration and have one of our Chefs come into your office to create and prep the recipes of your choice. Stay well and learn more at GoomiGroup.com.