Well, well. An extra article this week…*Starring a special feathered nurse*
Before we get going, there’s someone I want to introduce you to.
Meet Patterick. He’s staring in today’s article. He’s a cockatiel who loves to preen and scream. He’s a lovable little thing who just wants to sit on your shoulder. All. The. Time. But all he’s doing is watching out for you. He’s my husband’s bird but he’s my best friend too…especially since he’ll make it well known when it’s time we sit down to lunch.
This little dude likes Bon Iver, popcorn, and helping his humans out. Whether it’s forgetting a meal, taking a nap that’s too long, or ignoring him he let’s us know. But what does this bird have to do with getting struck with the common cold, the flu, or another illness?
We’ll get to that.
First things first, I’m writing this while sitting in bed, bogged down with a stuffy nose, partial cough, and slight fever. So I’m not feeling so great. And to top it off, cold and flu season is rapidly approaching. Especially if you have kids who go to school. As much as we’d like to never get sick, eventually we’ll catch something. So, even if you aren’t sick…here are some tips for helping you when you do feel that tickle.
1. Do NOT be afraid to rest.
I mean this. Do not be afraid to rest. So often when we first get sick we panic about not being able to get things done in a few days so we push, push, push only making ourselves sicker. Worse than that, we aren’t willing to take one day off. We aren’t willing to skip our workouts, date nights, parties, etc. We want to keep going even when our body is begging for rest. Being sick requires patience. Getting healthy requires patience.
Let’s say we do decide to follow our normal routines. What happens? We infect others. We spread our illness to various objects like grocery food, doorknobs, desks. The air when we cough or sneeze. And maybe people won’t get sick. Or maybe someone immunocompromised will get really sick. Being sick isn’t just about muddling through and managing our symptoms with loads of medicine. It’s also about realizing your impact on the world around you.
Okay, so we still follow our normal routine and we run our body ragged. We can get sicker. Our body is working to make us healthy. By forcing ourselves to keep going we risk getting even worse, opening ourselves up for another illness, and lengthening our time spent sick.
So take a day off. If you have a sore throat, minimize your time on the phone. If you have a dry cough, stay near a humidifier. Maybe by a small one for your room at night. If you have a fever, tap out. Drink lots and lots of cold water. If you are tired…rest.
I’ll say it again.
If you are tired, rest.
This boggles my mind. Your body is sending a signal! It needs you to sit down, slow down, and maybe even sleep.
This is a broad topic but it needs to be. There are so many different home remedies out there to help out with a cold. I’ll share just a few.
Milk and honey (and turmeric)
This is a double. Warm milk and honey helps in a lot of ways. First, take it right before bed to help with sleep. Or halfway through the night if you wake up honey. That’s the job of warm milk. The second is the wonderful honey. It coats your throat and stops the tickle in your throat long enough for you to fall asleep or get a nicely sized break from a cough. Now (optional) for a different recipe, add in a little turmeric. It completely changes the flavor to something you might find in autumn and turmeric has a lot of health benefits. Google it! Long story short, this little concoction will make your symptoms subside a little and it might help out the length of your cold…maybe!
Another drink, water. Okay, this seems like a no-brainer but you need it and lots of it when you’re sick. Of course don’t overdo it, but do drink lots of water consistently throughout the day. You can also gargle with warm salt water to help out a sore throat.
Any kind will do. You can put honey in it for a sweet, healthy kick that’ll help out your throat too. Instead of having yourself a cup of coffee in the afternoon, aim for a brewed cup of cold or hot tea. There are lots of different kinds each with their own benefits!
3. DON’T go for the Nyquil
I’m sorry, what. Listen, I get it. Nyquil was my go-to for a very long time. Until I realized it was not helping, it made things worse, and (worst of all) it included dyes like blue no. 1 and Red 40…which are not good for you. In fact, they’re bad for you. After reading the list of inactive ingredients, I almost cried, then threw out the bottle. Well, when this cold came around I really wanted it back. And I’ll be honest, I do miss the instant sleep factor. But not everything else.
This is important.
Products like NyQuil do not fix your cold.
They cover the symptoms and can prolong your illness.4.
We treat them like cures when they aren’t. And we might not even be getting the medicine we really need. Again, if nothing else you will feel better and have more energy throughout the day.
4. Do go for healthy foods
This one is a little harder, yeah? If we don’t normally eat well, this is going to be even worse but when you have a cold, cut out the bad stuff. That means sugar and alcohol. This is another one that covers a lot.
You guessed it…vitamin c. This stuff doesn’t necessarily prevent you from getting a cold but it can shorten one just a tad and it definitely can make you feel better. So go crazy with the strawberries, oranges, lemons!
Okay…so I love cranberries and any time I get to reference their benefits, I’m happy. But they are packed full of antioxidants which do help you battle the cold, the flu…whatever has you blowing your nose. And it isn’t just cranberries, broccoli too!
This encompasses soup too. Maybe make a spicy soup? The heat and the steam will help clear out your sinuses so you can breathe again.
This piece of advice was passed down to me from my garlic-loving parents but it looks like it has some merit. Garlic does help you duke it out….try for yourself.
So we’ve done all that, but we still feel awful.
Of course you do. You’re sick.
This when our feathered friend comes into play. For several reasons, Patterick is a great little nurse. He loves to nap, and he loves to nap nearby me. He also loves to eat but really only has fun with it if I’m around to eat with him. He loves sitting and being quiet.
From all these things we can take a lesson.
He often tries to slow me down. When I’m getting too frantic, he reminds me to settle down. When I look over to my shoulder and see him settling in for a nap, I remember to take it easy…that naps are okay. When he flies away to get a drink, I remember that I need water too. Paying attention to our pets is always beneficial but when we’re sick, we really need the reminder to slow down and focus on the basic parts of living.
Besides that, spending some quiet time with him (something he always loves) encourages me to sit and rest.
So when you’re cooped up in your house and sick, take a lesson from your furry or feathered nurse and just take care of you. Relax.