All day Tuesday, I couldn’t help but wonder why my throat felt incredibly parched. It took me until about 4:00 in the afternoon, as I rode the subway uptown for a seminar in Times Square, to realize, recognize, and accept the fact that my scratchy throat might actually be the beginnings of a cold.
To say that I get sick all the time would be a gross understatement. I get sick all the freaking time, despite my constant need to exercise, sanitize and fill my body with nutritious, delicious foods.
Because of my less than stellar immune system, I’m also used to getting sick — and how to react to the beginnings of whatever it is that’s ailing me. By the time I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was already on the defensive, planning how I’d pursue the following 6 steps in order to battle my oncoming cold like a freaking warrior.
Here’s how it went down.
1. Don’t run. It hurts me to say this, but that very first day you feel that you might be getting sick — you know, when you find yourself asking, “What’s the tickle in my throat,” or, “Why am I sweating when everyone else at this party is glamorous and glowing” — is crucial.
(Note: Last night I was neither healthy nor chic. Fail.)
After numerous attempts to run regardless, I’ve found that wearing myself out before the day even begins only results in me feeling gradually worse and worse until I’m sitting at my desk with a miserable pout on my face, struggling to keep my eyes open.
I was really excited to run on Wednesday because, according to my every-other-day regimen, Wednesday was indeed a run day. One of the best ways to get over the lament of not running: promise yourself that, as long as you feel better in the morning after ample rest and mindful habits, you can get back out there. Take care of your body first. Then run.
2. Strawberry, banana and spinach smoothie. I never really hopped on the green smoothie bandwagon, because even those that taste awesome still look like algae in a cup. And yet I also know how incredibly good they are for your body and immune system.
Like a mother to a child, I like to trick myself into drinking my greens for breakfast. To suck down spinach without losing my lunch, I typically order my favorite smoothie blend — strawberry-banana — with the addition of spinach, wheat germ (for protein) and ice (I really dislike smoothies made with juice or dairy). The worst that happens is the concoction turns a deep auburn, which is still way more appetizing than green slush.
3. Load up on vitamins. Scratchy throat? Sniffles? A cocktail of immune system-boosting vitamins is just what the doctor ordered. On top of my vitamin-packed smoothie, I like to gulp down an extra multivitamin, zinc and, my latest addition to the mix, vitamin b12.
Note: I was a total zinc hater until recently. While zinc can have a placebo-like effect on a day to day basis, my new doctor told me that, at the onset of a cold, it can actually help ward off the symptoms. Sold!
4. Dress comfortably. There are few things worse than sitting in a stuffy office lit by fluorescent lights while trapped in too-tight clothing and heals. You feel like crap; and while you shouldn’t look the part, you can at least choose comfortable garb to make the workday just a little more pleasant.
My choice on Wednesday: stretchy jeans that I know have room in the waist, a simple, long-sleeve white shirt and a big, comfy sweater to stay cozy and warm. And flats. When all else fails, always wear flats.
5. Hydrate. I know this sounds obvious, but I’m a total rogue blogger when it comes to my intake of water. I never drink water; I really don’t like it. But in times of need, I have to, if only to accelerate the recovery process.
From the moment I got to work, I poured myself a cup of hot tea. Then I poured myself another. Throughout the day, I downed another three or four cups. For me, the key to drinking enough liquid is changing up the flavors to prevent boredom and nausea. That, and buying tea that gives you insightful life advice.
6. Sleep! As a self-proclaimed grandma, I’m hardly in bed on a weeknight past the hour of 9 or 10. In other words, sleep isn’t an issue for me. If you’re part of the majority of people who prefer to actually enjoy their evenings doing something social, then at least try to wind it all down at a normal, earlier-than-usual hour. The more sleep you can get, the better.
As anyone who’s experienced the beginnings of a cold knows, the next few days rest on the steps you take to prevent the potential virus from worsening overnight. Take the aforementioned precautions — and perhaps promise yourself that, if you do, you’ll allow yourself to break a sweat that isn’t fever-related the following morning…
…and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.
To a healthy — cold-free — Thursday and weekend.
- What are your home remedies when you suspect a cold is coming on?