Folks, it’s cold season and that means now’s a great time for some extra self-care. The changing of the seasons always brings about a higher chance for allergies and colds and even the flu. With a few self-care tips, we can slow down, lessen the severity of, or even prevent a cold. Keep in mind that colds are airborne, so it’s nearly impossible to avoid them. We can, however, bolster our immune systems in the following ways as a preventative. Check it out:
- Lower your stress. Start with taking more walks, taking time outs in situations that overwhelm you, or saying no more often. When we push ourselves beyond our bounds for long periods of time, our nervous systems get taxed and that will have an effect on our immune systems. Self-care is imperative, especially as a means of overcoming chronic stress.
- Sleep! If you are sleep-deprived, your immune system gets stressed out, which increases its vulnerability to stress, illness, and burnout. They say no less than 6 hours a night and no more than 8 is a good start. Sleep helps your body function optimally.
- Eat more antioxidants, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. With the accessibility of so many healthy food options, eating wisely and sustainably is easier than it once was. Nourish yourself with sustaining foods like hearty soups– chicken soup still has magical qualities when you feel a cold coming on!
- Smoke less, or don’t smoke at all. Smokers, you are at high risk. Smoking damages the lining of your nose and throat, eliminating the protective barrier, which is there to prevent infection. As a result, smokers get more upper respiratory infections than non-smokers. Those frequently exposed to second-hand smoke will have similar vulnerability.
- Wash your hands. A lot. Remember how I said colds are airborne? Well, doorknobs, railings, shared computer keyboards are places viruses like to hang out.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink a minimum 8, 8 oz glasses of water a day. Some say, drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. Your total intake of water will vary based on activity levels, etc. But the base rule is that minimum. Water moistens the respiratory tract and helps it do its job. Drink up!
- Be kind to yourself. Getting sick is not an opportunity to beat yourself up.
- Ask for help. Time to call in the troops and tap into your resources.
- Stay at home if you get sick. In this case, sharing is NOT caring.
It happens: we get colds. We are in shared spaces at school, work, and home, and this doesn’t include all of the public places we traverse during our days. Invoking a sense of self-care and having a heightened awareness of how to do so will benefit you in the end. You may prevent a cold, lesson its intensity, or brave the misery with more compassion than you thought possible. Taking care of ourselves is another piece to the recovery puzzle. Be well!