It’s cold and flu season, and it seems like everyone around me is getting sick. It also doesn’t help that college midterms have felt like they’ve been lasting forever, and we’re getting into the thick of the semester. Getting sick is never fun, but it’s important to remember that it’s our body’s way of telling us we need a break, and it’s important we listen. I’ve now been sick twice in the last month (it’s not COVID, I have the negative test to prove it), so I’ve shared some full-proof tools I’ve been using to make my sickness not feel so awful and get me back on my feet in no time.
In the first few days of being sick, it’s so important to take the time to rest and reset. This seems like an obvious solution, but sometimes it can be really hard to make ourselves take a break and just sit in bed all day when it’s easy to feel guilty or lazy for being unproductive (you’re not being lazy or unproductive, by the way). But the reason you’re sick is probably because your body needs the rest. Cozy up in bed, put on a show, and get to binge-watching. Or crack open a new book or even just take a nap. Anything that doesn’t cause stress.
Baths and Long Showers
I seriously love showers, but for some reason when I’m sick, they feel even better. When I have a cold, I’m often extremely congested in my nose and chest, so I like to turn the water heat up and stand in there for a while to let the steam seep into my nose and loosen up some of the congestion in my airways. Sometimes, I’ll even take a seat in the shower to feel the water run down my hair and my back. It’s such a relaxing activity, so I highly recommend it. If you have the time and the right bathroom, taking a bath is also nice too. Just make yourself comfortable with a show or a book and let the steam fill your bathroom to relieve some of the congestion. I also like to throw in some Epsom salt to relieve any aches or pains I may be having.
Warm Tea and Warm Foods
Something about warm things just feels right when you’re sick. Eating chicken noodle soup when you’re sick might be the ultimate cliche, but it has all the essential ingredients for a balanced meal, it takes five minutes to make, and it’s warm and delicious. Tea (even better with lemon or honey) is also a sick-day essential because it does so many things to help our bodies like soothing throat soreness and congestions. It also helps us stay hydrated, which is one of the most important things to remember while you’re sick because your body needs more fluids than normal to fight off unwanted bacteria. My favorite tea to drink while I’m sick is throat coat, an herbal tea that’s meant to support throat health.
Drinking enough water is probably one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body. I know water is one of those things that everyone says can cure any issue going on with your body, but honestly, it’s kind of true! So drink up!
Dry Skin Relievers
Okay, this one is specific, but I always keep a tube of Aquaphor or Vaseline on my nightstand because my lips tend to get dry throughout the day and while I sleep, so I always put some on right before bed to prevent waking up in the morning with that awful, chapped lip feeling. I wake up feeling even worse when I’m sick, so it’s a lifesaver to have on hand. It also saves the skin around my nose because it tends to get really dry and flaky due to blowing my nose all the time. So I’ll spread it around my nose right before bed, so it can soak in and hydrate the skin while I’m asleep. Even if you’re not sick, I’d recommend having a tube of Aquaphor around anyways to combat dry skin (especially in the wintertime).
Humidify Your Room
Using a humidifier while you’re sick will help to increase moisture in the air, which in turn will help alleviate some of your cold symptoms. Dry air makes a sore throat even worse and doesn’t decrease congestion, so using a humidifier will help combat both of those things. It’s also just another great thing to have on hand in the winter when the air is drier in general. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can fill a bowl with water and place it next to a heat source so the water will evaporate into the air. While this is a much slower process, it will still help moisten the air in your room. Check out Good Housekeeping’s best humidifiers for 2021.
When you start feeling a little better, it feels so refreshing to go outside for a walk or do some light exercise like yoga. After being in bed for a couple of days my body often starts to feel restless, and while I may not be up to a full-on run or workout, it does feel great to get outside for some fresh air and move my body. You can find plenty of chill, restful, and restorative yoga or stretching videos on YouTube by doing a quick search. However, if you feel yourself getting light-headed flowing through poses or even walking outside, it’s probably best to stop and get back in bed.
If you’re sick, I hope you start feeling better soon. These remedies should help alleviate some of those cold or flu symptoms and get you up and out of bed in no time. It’s no fun being sick, but remembering to use tools to make yourself feel better can make it a little bit easier.