Temperatures are dropping and with the cooler weather comes more colds, the flu, and other sicknesses that put a serious damper on your holiday plans. No one wants to be cooped up on the couch with a runny nose all winter long, but sometimes it seems impossible to avoid.

But there's good news - boosting your immune system can help you avoid getting sick, even in the chilly winter months. Here are a few easy ways you can keep your health in check over the holidays (and throughout the year):

1. Stay hydrated

Nothing keeps your immune system in check like drinking tons of water. According to Mind Body Green, you should add a slice of lemon for a little vitamin C if you want an extra boost.

2. Get enough sleep

It's hard to get enough sleep, especially during the holidays when you just want to stay up all night and watch Hallmark Christmas specials (please tell me I'm not the only one). But you're more prone to sickness when you don't sleep, so aim for at least seven or eight hours every night. Your body will thank you.

3. Get some good bacteria

Adding bacteria to your diet might seem like the last thing you want to do when you're avoiding sickness, but good bacteria can save your immune system. Mind Body Green recommends eating foods like yogurt, miso, kefir and raw sauerkraut to get those great probiotics through your diet, but if you want even more good bacteria, you can get probiotics in supplement form.

4. Relax and de-stress

When you're stressed, your immune system takes a hit. Chronic stress kicks the immune system into low gear, leaving you more susceptible for illness. With finances, family, planning and other circumstances, the holidays can be a stressful time ... and when you're stressed, it's easier to get sick. So take a few minutes a day to really relax. Meditate, exercise (if that relaxes you), do some yoga or take a walk. Keeping your mind healthy will keep your body healthy.

5. Eat as healthy as you can

The holidays really are the hardest time to eat healthy because of all the treats and comfort foods everywhere you look. You don't have to completely cut yourself off from the yummy goodies, but eating whole foods will help you stay healthy. Plus, by eating lots of vegetables, fruits and lean proteins, you'll avoid needing to lose weight gained through all the festivities.

6. Keep everything clean

It seems like everyone is sick this time of year, so it's important to keep your hands, your workspace, home and other shared areas nice and clean. Germs can spread super easily, so keeping everything sanitary can help avoid that. Encourage your family to wash their hands often and be sure to wipe down commonly used items like doorknobs, remote controls and phones.

7. Stick to an exercise routine

Exercising isn't everyone's favorite thing to do, but it really helps your immune system stay super strong (according to WebMD). Getting your blood pumping and your endorphins moving will help you stay healthy all season long.

When you actively try to keep your immune system strong, you'll have a happier, healthier life ... Did we miss any other ways to stay healthy through the winter months? Let us know in the comments!

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