Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
I don't get colds often but when I do, they mess with my head by which I mean I think that I've always been ill and always will be ill. I have to remind myself of the best healing protocol and then insist that I follow it. Usually take me a day or two to get myself in line but the sooner I do, the better I feel and the faster I heal.
The thing about colds is that they seem pretty harmless. Mild illnesses. Until you're in the midst of one. Then you remember how miserable they make you feel. The "common" cold is any one of a range of viruses that can linger and prolong your misery and develop into far serious situations like sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, and more.
I'm not a doctor but I'll tell you this much. Most people I know—including yours truly—will power through the first stages of a cold when it's probably the most important time to power down. I powered through last week. I taught a full day then went to a meeting the next morning then had a couple of friends over the following night. I can only hope that I did not infect anyone.
Still, around all those absolute minimal activities, I followed some basic rules.
- Accept that you have a virus.
- Look at the cold as your body's way of saying, hey, let's have a rest, a little clean out and reset.
- Rest. As much as possible.
- That being said, get some fresh air. Take an easy walk every day.
- Keep a stack of clean handkerchiefs. Don't bother ironing. Why irritate your skin with paper?
- If you must go out, put a hat on your head and bundle up your neck and chest.
- If you must be around people, don't breathe on or touch them.
- Wash your hands often.
- No alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes. Do I have to say that? (And I don't care about the age old whiskey recommendations.)
- Vitamin C. Try small doses (250 mg) throughout the day. I know the jury's out on this but I think it helps and that it matters what type and what brand. I'm loving Garden of Life Raw C these days.
- Drink lots of purified water. It's true--keep those liquids coming.
- Don't eat anything white. That includes sugar and dairy.
- Do have lots of warm tea and broth with garlic, onions, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Sure, chicken soup is good. Add a bit of that red pepper and it's golden.
- Fresh lemons with ginger, peppermint and honey in hot water. Yum. If you don't have fresh lemons or ginger (or peppermint for that matter), use drops of those essential oils.
- Add essential oils of thyme, oregano, and peppermint to your water. They all have antiviral properties and I swear that the oregano oil helped me knock out last week's cold tout de suite. Peppermint helps with sinus congestion and headaches, too.
- Lavender essential oil will keep you calm and help you rest.
- Don't take that over the counter crap. Really. Have you read those labels? They may subdue the symptoms and allow you to power through to work and travel but they're not addressing the underlying virus and the resulting lack of rest alone may actually prolong the cold. IMHO.
Along with everyone else, I don't like coming down with a cold but I do have to say that if I take good care of myself through the experience, I usually feel better coming out the other end than I did when I picked up the virus. Which makes sense, come to think of it, if we're more susceptible to viruses when our immune systems are down. How great can we really feel if our immune system is down?
I hope you don't need this but when and if you do, I think these are a pretty good set basic rules.