But when you are living with a chronic health condition, or even if you are a self-critical ‘perfectionist’ type of person, it can feel like so much more than that.
Not only do you feel worse because you are already dealing with your daily symptoms and now this dastardly bug has taken residence.
But it can also bring with it a lot of negativity surrounding your efforts to improve your health.
“I try so hard to be healthy, and yet I still caught this cold.”
“My body must be weaker than I thought.”
“I’m not doing enough for my health.”
“I feel like I let my body down.”
“I feel like my body let ME down!”
Do any of these sound familiar?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. It goes with the territory of chronic illness.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to feel better, both physically and emotionally.
Here are some action steps to improve your mindset and your body’s recovery from those cold bugs.
Give yourself a break
In these modern times of deadlines and heavy schedules, we often feel guilty for taking time out to care for ourselves. If you have already taken time off to deal with your chronic health symptoms, the guilt and fear can be overwhelming. But it is essential to put your health first.
Keep these things in mind:
- No one ever gets a thank you for spreading that germ love around the workplace!
Keep in mind that if you drag yourself to that meeting full of cold, your colleagues may think you’re a trooper, but they’ll also be seeing that imminent cold spreading to themselves and their family.
- Investing some rest and recuperation time at the beginning of your bug-attack will mean a speedier recovery and get you back to full working condition quicker.
- Your immune system relies on sleep time to perform its important tasks – give it what it needs to get your body better.
Choose Your Comfort Foods Carefully
When you are having an involuntary duvet day, it’s easy to console yourself with foods that you find comfort in but don’t exactly support your recovery.
You’re in that mind set of “well, I feel crappy so I may as well eat crappy”.
But diving into the biscuit tin will ultimately bring guilty thoughts as well as giving your body more work to do in regulating blood sugar and coping with further energy dips.
You can turn that mood around to positivity by choosing comforting foods that will support your body in recovery.
- Drink plenty of fluids in the form of warm drinks like herbal teas, fresh veg and fruit juices and water. Good old warm water with honey and lemon is a great choice. Add some crushed ginger for extra anti-bacterial benefits.
- Your immune system is working hard at this time, and 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Give it a break by choosing foods that are easy to digest. Comforting soups are an excellent choice, especially for sore throats. Try the super easy cold-fighting soup recipe at the end of this article.
Resting versus Relaxing
It is easy to think because you’re on enforced rest that you are actually relaxing. But the two aren’t necessarily the same thing. Loafing about in your pyjamas whilst running a tape on loop in your head about all the things you aren’t doing isn’t going to get you better quicker.
Take this time to really implement some proper relaxation and check the health of your thoughts as well as your body.
- Take a warm bath with relaxing essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and rose. Add a scoop of Epsom salts if you can to help draw out toxins and absorb essential minerals. Be sure to relax for 20 minutes – no body maintenance allowed! Play some relaxing music if you like, or use this time to clear your mind of those negative thoughts. When a thought pops up, imagine the warm water washing over it and floating away…
- Visualisation or meditation can be a powerful tool in your bug-busting box of tricks. Use an audio file to get you started if you are new to the practise. Your thoughts have a powerful effect on your physiology – think of it as a way to heal your body through your mind.
Tip: You can search ITunes for free meditation/visualisation podcasts.
- Most important of all, remind yourself often that this state is temporary. Your body will fight the bug and win! And working with your body in that task will reap quicker rewards and leave you in a more positive frame of mind.
Oriental Cold-Fighting Soup
This liquid cold remedy contains lots of cold-fighting compounds thanks to the garlic, onion, ginger and cinnamon. Shiitake mushrooms are known for their healing and restorative properties, and goji berries are packed with VitaminC and anti-oxidants.
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion finely sliced
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 small cinnamon stick
6 Shiitake mushrooms or any dark-skin mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon dried goji berries
Handful of kale, finely chopped
1 sachet of instant miso soup dissolved in ½ pint boiled water or ½ pint of stock
Make The Magic
Heat a small amount of oil (olive, avocado or coconut) in a large pan and sauté the onion with the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes.
When the onion is softened, add the mushrooms and stir until softened slightly
Add the cinnamon stick to the pan followed by the miso soup or stock
Increase the heat until the liquid simmers and then add the kale
Simmer the soup for 5 minutes to soften the kale and then take off the heat
Add the goji berries and stir for a few minutes just until the goji berries have rehydrated.
Serve with a handful of fresh sprouting seeds/beans