Last week my husband came down with a low-grade cold. Mainly a sore throat, headache, and an overall run-down feeling. As he seldom gets sick I didn’t really think anything of it. He almost never gets what I invariably end up catching, so the thought I’d catch his cold never entered my mind.
Silly, silly me.
Five days later, and he’s feeling better. Meanwhile, this low-grade cold has done what all colds do for me: gone into my chest. So, even though it’s no big deal for everyone else I am now dealing with Bronchitis. Growing up, I got the antibiotics-won’t-touch this version of Bronchitis every. Stinkin’. Year. As a result, my body thinks all colds must be chest colds and acts accordingly.
In the last couple of years, I devised a way of getting ahead of things and I’ve been graced with a brief reprieve. Unfortunately, this year I missed the signs, so I’m now playing catch-up. Here are some of my go-to’s for maintaining and beating back the nasties.
Eating as Healthily as Possible
When I’m on my game, as soon as I feel the beginnings of a niggle I whip up an easy to digest stew that is heavy on the veggies and broth, both for the nutrients and the hydration. I have a few favorite Ayurvedic kitcharies I like to make, or else a more traditional vegetarian soup. The kitcharies (sometimes called kitchadis) are full of immune boosting spices like tumeric, ginger, and cumin. I fill the veggie soups with spices like oregano, basil, thyme, and bay. Of course, both are loaded with as much garlic as I can stand.
I also cut back on breads, crackers, and sweets. While the jury is out as to whether or not sugar “feeds a cold,” it can interfere with the immune system and Vitamin C levels. In fact, one of the indicators that I’m coming down with something is over-eating bread and sweets. Since I’m more of a “salt” person, the fact I can’t get enough of the sweet stuff is a red flag.
As I tend to find plain water less than appealing when I’m ill, I look for other things to keep me hydrated. In addition to soups, I’ll also drink immune-supporting teas, homemade vitamin C focused smoothies, and even plain orange or vitamin-c based juices (something I don’t drink much of in my regular life).
Essential Oils are my friends.
I tend not to ingest EO’s, preferring instead to apply topically or to diffuse. There are different schools of thought regarding consuming, so if you prefer that method please ensure that the EOs you are buying are top of the line and food-grade.
My EO go-to’s when I feel something coming on are Oregano, Peppermint, and Lavender. Others will often get mixed in, such as Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree. I’ll use varying amounts (from one to five drops), mix with an unscented lotion, and apply on my neck, chest, and feet. I’ll do the same with the diffusers, except mix with water. I tend to go heavier on the oregano in the diffusers, but my purpose is to wage an all-out war with my bronchioles, and inhaling it is the most effective way to get at them. If you’re interested in working EO’s into your care routine, I highly recommend doing some research to sort out which ones will work best for you.
Well, okay. What this really means is giving myself permission to lay very still and do very little. Reading a favored book, napping, meditating, or curling up with a movie are all equally effective. I have a hard time sleeping during the day, so this will often be my solution. It gives my body a chance to rest without added pressure of accomplishing anything. The goal is to take time out and not do anything for a while.
Basic hygiene is your friend.
Comb your hair, wash your face, brush your teeth. Take that shower, or a bath if standing up is just too exhausting. Change your clothes, even if that means just putting on a fresh pair of jammies. These simple acts really can help you feel a little better, even if everything else still feels like crap.
Know when to drop the hippy woo.
Several years ago, I came down with a cold that knocked me on my ass. It would not let up or move on. My ears, sinuses, and lymphs were all clogged, and my bronchioles were rebelling. And yet, as miserable as I was, I was determined to let it run its course naturally because obviously there was something I needed to learn from all this suffering.
What I needed to learn was when to stop being so holier than thou and take the options open to me. I popped a Benadryl and got the first decent night’s sleep I’d had in over two weeks. That felt so good, I did it again the next night, and was better within a week.
Suffering when you don’t have to is pointless. Yeah, sure, the evils of Western Medicine and all that. But Dayquil is available because it freakin works. So, if you end up taking a couple doses to get you through a work day, then so be it. You will not lose your Good Person card.
I’ve learned my lesson these days, and when I can’t get ahead of things and do get sick, I do a combination of natural healing and allopathic remedies. If I can’t sleep, I won’t get well. Sometimes, I have to see the client. So I’ll have a dose of Dayquil/Nyquil. I try to take as few doses as possible, but I’ve learned the hard way that suffering does not mean you’re doing it right. It means something is very wrong and step should be taken to rectify it.
So here it is. My handy list of things I do when I’m under the weather. Do you have any tried and true tricks that help you get back to healthy? I’d love to hear them!