It’s ironic how when stress or illness strikes we don’t don’t the things we need to do that we KNOW will make us feel better; we’re too tired, there isn’t enough time or we simply can’t be bothered. And I understand this. I hardly ever get colds but when I do, I GET them.
I’ve just recovered from a bout of seasonal lurgy that’s been hanging around for a while. My immune system, post festive season, has clearly not been up to the job of kicking this one out of my body, but I don’t expect to feel 100% for a while yet. Did you know that the common cold virus can hang around for up to 3 weeks?! So while we want to recover quickly, allowing ourself to ride it out gently is important – plus, knowing this should keep you out of the GP’s (if you have symptoms which are unusual however, contact your GP right away).
In Chinese Medicine our virus’s are known as invasions of either Wind Cold or Wind Heat. Wind Cold usually comes first with symptoms such as chills, sneezing, phlegm and slight aches. Wind Heat usually develops post wind cold if you don’t get adequate care for the Wind Cold so you suffer from feeling warm, having a fever, sore and painful throat.
I had the Wind Cold version so I’ve treated myself to acupuncture to help my lung function, boost my qi and blood to help me have some energy and also to clear my nose and sinuses (putting needles into ones face never gets easier!). I also used the following methods to help support my recovery.
Feed the cold
Have soups with warming ingredients to expel that cold. Use onion, garlic, ginger and lots of leafy greens. You can bled them or start with a good stock and simply have all the ingredients finely chopped. I’ve used some gentle chilli with mine but go easy on that if you have any heat symptoms (fever, rashes). Seaweed and kelp are also a good salty (which I love) addition. Use pears to ease any throat or lung issues. Simply stew 2 pears in an inch of water for 30 minutes, add some honey and drink.
Essential oils and baths
Eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint are great for helping clear congestion, phlegm, strengthening the lungs and helping you feel mentally able to deal with the illness. I use these oils (a few drops of each) on a tissue to inhale and/or in an oil burner.If you feel cold with the virus then a warm bath will instantly help. Have a lovely warm bath too. I add DrSalts Dead Sea Salts to mine. They contain magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium, bromides (ace for achy joints), chlorine and iodine (good for cell metabolism and energy) which are all absorbed through the largest organ in/on your body, your skin.
Slow down on the exercise regime, go to bed early and cancel anything unimportant. Resting properly will help your immune system fight the virus and lead to a faster (overall) recovery and lower the likelihood of you being attacked again! I know I talk about yoga a lot but if you can’t exercise as you would ordinarily (for me that’s no running), then a gentle stretching session will really help you keep your body and mind fresh. I LOVE Yoga with Adriene and have used this video called ‘Yoga for when you are sick‘ this week.
Keep well hydrated and don’t forget NOT to guzzle down water. By taking lots of small sips often, you increase your chances of staying properly hydrated. Make a ginger and honey tea to help add some warmth to your bones and to soothe your throat. Cut up a one inch sized piece of fresh ginger into chunks, let it settle and steep for 5 minutes in some boiling water, then when the water has cooled, add a teaspoon of honey. No booze!
Get out and walk but if you can’t do that, open some windows. The cold virus loves a stuffy environment so don’t give it chance to have a party, shove it out the window or into the environment. If you can walk you will help your body produce fresh blood that pumps nicely to your organs. Bingo for the recovery process!
I hope these ideas help. If all else fails however, hit the sack, the Netflix button and grab a few paracetamols.