Snapshot of a sick girl…
Well, it happened. I got sick. Not bad like I did two years ago with a chest flu (as captured in the above photo), but I’m run down from a lack of sleep and now I’m groggy, congested, tight in my chest, and achy with a bit of swelling in my throat and exhaustion that won’t quit. Ever been there?
I know a cold can get you down, but don’t get angry at your body for protecting you! A cold is essentially your body’s way of eliminating something you’ve come into contact with that shouldn’t be in your system. Depending on what you’ve contracted (or better put, your immune system was weak enough not to be able to defend), the length and intensity of your cold will vary. No matter, it’s great to let your body do it’s thing to get that sh!t out of you while supporting it in its efforts.
There’s a few things I like to do when I feel a cold coming on. Sometimes I alternate based on how I’m feeling and what resonates with me in the moment. Since this is a common time of the year for a cold to settle in, I thought I’d send out some positive healing vibes in the form of things you can do to help yourself feel better when you get a cold yourself.
First and foremost, get a LOT of sleep! Don’t set alarms. Go to bed whenever you’re tired. Take naps whenever the feeling hits. And give no excuses. Take time off work to make it happen if you need to, because pushing yourself to work through a cold will only prolong it and the work you produce will suck. Trust me.
Sleep is super essential to healing, mainly because most of our healing is done while we sleep. Amazing, right? I know, I know…it’s a little obvious, but that’s why it’s easy to ignore. Sleep is more powerful than you’d think. I’d go so far as to say it’s more powerful than anything you put in your body to help you feel better.
So, make sleep a priority for at least 3 days while relinquishing guilt about not being able to take care of your day-to-day. Watch (and sleep through) movies for hours on end instead of cleaning, running errands, and doing work. Your body will thank you.
Everyone says liquids are good for a cold, but I’d extend that further to specify warm liquids, especially when the weather is so cold. Try sipping on one of these:
hot water with lemon, raw honey, and ginger
herbal tea specific to your needs (I’m taking Throat Coat by Traditional Medicinals for my sore throat)
warm blended soup, straight from a mug
You want to drink something that’s not only warm (to keep your temperature up), but also healing. Forget ginger ale for a sore stomach - there’s too much sugar that’ll only help keep your body in a state of inflammation. Go with the real thing instead and balance it with lots of room temperature water to flush your bodily fluids and stay hydrated.
I’ve been loving spraying my propolis spray down my throat twice a day. It soothes soreness and kills bacteria lingering on-site. Propolis is a resin found in plants and trees that acts as an anti-bacterial in nature. Bees use it to protect against invaders. It’s also full of nutrients needed to boost your immune system during times of sickness. Spray away!
Oil of oregano is another gem. I haven’t used it this time, since I intuitively wasn’t feeling it was for me this time around, but it can be a life saver. I would typically use it preventatively if I feel something coming on, but usually it’s not as effective if a cold has already taken hold. Oil of oregano is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral antioxidant (that’s a lot of anti’s!!) that is REALLY strong (watch out!) and works. Drop a couple drops in water 2-3 times a day (maybe mix in a splash of pure juice) for a few days and see what happens to that tickle in your throat.
I also love using essential oils that help to kill bacteria and alleviate chest congestion. Try preparing your own chest rub with shea butter or coconut oil and a few drops of each of some of my favourite essential oils: eucalyptus, pine, peppermint, lavender, and tea tree. These oils are great for breaking up congestion and speeding up recovery. They can also be mixed in a pot of hot water and used as an inhalant. Simply place a towel over your head and inhale gently, holding your breath for a few seconds to let the compounds take hold, then release and repeat. If inhaling directly scares you, then try diffusing it in an essential oil diffuser or vaporizer overnight next to your bed.
Hello vitamin C! This powerful antioxidant (a thing that protects your body from damage-causing free radicals, including the ones that can cause a cold) boosts your immunity while fighting off bugs. You can eat a lot of it in citrus fruits, and basically anything from yellow to red in the food rainbow, or in times of a cold you can also supplement with it. You’ll want to speak to a practitioner about dosages and take it through the duration of your cold.
WATCH YOUR DIET
Usually when a cold hits, the cravings start. Energy is low, so cooking is out of the question and if you have an upset stomach the last thing you want to do is down a salad. You want tasteless carbs and lots of ‘em. Just try to be mindful that if you want to heal, your body needs the good stuff. Toss in a green smoothie or a bit of greens with each meal if you can stomach it. Try eating lots of those vitamin C-rich foods mentioned above, including blended squash and carrot soups which are very soothing and healing (and yummy!). Include some anti-microbial ingredients like garlic and onion in your soups and stews to help. As long as your body has what it needs to thrive then it will. Supporting it with food is a good foundation to make that happen.
Here’s what I’m doing this time:
sleeping without an alarm for 3-4 days straight
spraying propolis down my throat upon waking
drinking hot water with lemon, honey & fresh ginger first thing in the morning
drinking a small green juice for breakfast, when I can
drinking Throat Coat tea 2-3 times a day
moving slowly throughout the day, doing only what I must, being careful not to overexert myself
eating warm foods like cooked squash, greens, soup & warming stews for meals
napping whenever the mood strikes
getting outside for some fresh air, even just a quick walk around the block
allowing myself to be taken care of and rest when prompted (i.e. working less hours and at a slower pace)
spraying my throat again before bed
rubbing chest rub on my chest before bed
going to bed at a decent hour as much as I can
listening to my body and giving it what it needs, mindfully choosing what to put in it and what to do with it moment-to-moment
and I decided to add a little help, supplementing with vitamin C, N-acetyl cysteine (great for chest colds), and an herbal cough & throat syrup
I’m very fortunate and grateful to be a health practitioner. It’s given me the tools I need to take care of business on my own, within reason. When it comes to the common cold, I feel I can tackle it head on without having to take antibiotics or making a trip to the doctor. I can intuitively sense when something is off with my body and although sometimes I slack on prevention and a little cold seeps in, I’m still present enough to recognize when I needs support.
Since I live a preventative lifestyle I typically don’t get sick. Usually once every couple of years I get run down enough to feel something, which is infrequent compared to most. But it also throws me off every time I do get a cold, because I can easily forget the symptoms and may not be wise enough to catch on to them before they take hold. It’s taken practice to be aware enough to sense a shift as it’s happening and not after it’s present, and I’m still practicing. Even if I notice a cold coming on, I like to surrender and do the things that will eradicate it rather than trying to push through it. It’s just my body’s way of telling me to slow down.
It’s taken me a while to listen and respond this way and if you’d like some help in doing so yourself, please reach out. I’d love to hear from you and help you manage your health.