In 2012 I was sick far too often. I was unable to keep an exact count but I know I went to the doctor for 3 sinus infections. Beyond that there was a lot of downtime from the common cold. Being sick kills productivity. If I had to guess I would say there were 6 to 8 days during the year when I was completely incapacitated and another 10 to 12 days when I was unproductive or partly incapacitated for a total of 2-3 weeks.
It's easy to blame the environment. I have two young children, one going to preschool and bringing home all manner of germs. I live in a cold and dry place which lends toward sickness. I exercised less in 2012 than any prior year in the past 15 years. These make for good excuses and certainly the lack of exercise is my own fault. As I entered the new year of 2013 among my various goals was to be more healthy in terms of eliminating down time. In order to have a measurable and easy to define goal I said, “no sick days in 2013.”
The year is half over and so far I haven't been sick once. I don't know if I can maintain this perfect streak through the rest of the year but I intend to. The environment hasn't changed much, I still live in the same place and my children still bring germs home and spread them. I didn't even exercise much more than before. In June I started running again but from January through May I didn't exercise at all. Here are the simple changes I implemented that I believe have made the difference.
I take a Multi-vitamin every day. I figure my diet has never been very good and supplementing the things that my body needs most is a simple and easy way of making a big difference.
I drink a cup of orange juice every morning. I keep a gallon at my office and pour myself a cup when I first get in in the morning. The vitamin C goes a long way.
I gargle really well a few times per week with Listerine mouth wash. Since the throat tends to be a starting point for a lot of types of sickness this tends to kill germs and bacteria that start problems. (Some people will think I'm gross for not doing this everyday but hey give me a break.)
I have cut back on late night eating. In the past it was very normal for me to eat a piece of cake or an extra piece of lasagna around 9pm. While I haven't been perfect I have cut most eating after 8pm out.
Lastly, my wife has been far more aggressive than usual this year about cooking more healthy. As an example she substitutes a lot more whole wheat for the old breads, tortillas, and pastas we used to eat.
That's it. With zero downtime so far this year as I move into mid-July I am not only more productive because I don't lose days to sickness but because I feel better. What are the little things you do to stay healthy?