It’s January. All of the feasting and celebrating of the holiday season have subsided. Now it’s time to get healthy. We’re ready to eat the best food, get all the exercise, and start fresh with energy and enthusiasm. Then… WHAM! The coughing, the sneezing, sore throat, red eyes… what a terrible time to get a COLD!
Sadly, just when we really want to dive into healthy everything, it’s the season for the common cold, uncommonly inconvenient, but a fact of winter. It happens to us all, and there’s not much we can do to cure it once we’re “caught” by a cold. But there are some common sense practices for feeling better while we have a cold. It’s possible they may also help us get well as quickly as possible.
So if you will permit, I will share my best advice to help you feel better…
Mom’s Top Ten Tips for Living With (and saying goodbye to) a Cold
Rest – you will heal most quickly if you rest. Stay home if you can. If you must work, then just work and cancel everything else. Go to bed early, sleep in as late as you can. Resting allows your immune system to do its job.
Hydrate – cells work best when they have lots of water. Drink cool or warm non-caffeine liquids. Keep a cup or water bottle beside your bed and sip whenever you can, even when when you wake up at night. Staying hydrated will ease congestion, make you more comfortable and help you get better soon.
Keep moist – use a vaporizer or humidifier to make breathing easier. You can also “steam” with a pot of hot water and a towel tent over your head. If you use essential oils, add a few drops to the water to enhance the effect.
Use whatever remedies suit you – over the counter pain reliever or cold medicine, holistic remedies, or what your grandma always gave you – whatever works for you is worth trying.
Rest – I know I said it already, but please do this, it’s the most important thing.
When you feel better, rest some more – For every day you were really sick, you will need that many “recovery days” afterwards to be really back to yourself. Take it easy on yourself and get well before you really get going.
Take a break from exercise until you are well again – Sweating through a workout or yoga practice will not kill the cold germs, nor will it speed your recovery. In fact, the stress of a workout, which is normally constructive when you are well, will hinder your healing. So take a break from your yoga practice or gym visits or running. Go back when you are well. Missing a few days, even a week or more, will not set you back on your wellness goals. Over-exerting when you are sick will do more damage.
Don’t share! – Avoid close contact with others when you have a cold. Wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs, and bow or wave instead of hugging or shaking hands until you are sure you are no longer contagious.
Take advantage of the downtime – Do something you have been meaning to do. Call someone and talk for an hour. Watch that movie you have been wanting to see. Read an excellent book. Write a letter to someone. You can accomplish a lot of low-key tasks while you have a cold!
Take care of yourself and practice patience and self-care – A cold is not your fault, and you are worth the love that you can give to yourself.
For more scientific, medical expert opinion, check this article on the Mayo Clinic website.
Be your own Mom
What do you do to take care of yourself when you have a cold? Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.