Sickness, It Gets Us All

img_f02cc389361e-1I’m always trying to avoid getting sick, but without fail, I get sick every year. When I was younger it seemed like I got sick every month during the winter, my immune system wasn’t very strong. Then during the last part of high school, my immune system really improved and I barely got sick. But then came college. Freshman year hit me hard. I was stressed all the time, I had an overloaded schedule, I wasn’t sleeping well, I barely exercised, and my meals were terribly unbalanced. So, sickness caught up to me by the middle of the quarter. I was out for a over week and it took me another whole week to get caught up and back to myself.

Fast forward to winter quarter and two weeks in, I caught a cold. I was so determined not to get sick again, but here I was, laying in bed under blankets with a pile of tissues.

The first night I felt sick, I made a big effort to try and aid my body in anyway that I could. Here are 8 things that I did this time that helped me get better a lot faster:

  1. Drink lots of water. Drink water like it is your sole purpose in life. Having said that, don’t over do it…but make sure you are staying hydrated! If you are not a big fan of water, try adding slices of citrus fruits or berries. You should be aiming to drink at least 2.7L if your female and 3.7L if your a male, every day. Now that is just the minimum, so usually I aim for 3L daily.
  2. Drink Tea. Tea is good for a lot of reasons, but if you are struggling with getting in the water, it can help keep you hydrated. If you I have sore throat, I would definitely recommend drinking several cups of tea each day, especially in the mornings. Some good teas I like are homemade lemon ginger, cold care, peppermint, and just plain ginger.
  3. Eat Healthy. This one was always a hard one on me when I was younger and even during my first round of being sick in college, but it makes a big difference. Loading up on good healthy food will help support your immune system as it fights of the sickness. I like things such as berry smoothies with fresh ginger and orange, oatmeal with lots of fruit, salads with avocado and saurkraut, plain whole grain toast and vegetable soup. The types of food that sound good, really depend on how I am feeling, but generally you can never go wrong with a good smoothie or soup, even if you have a sore throat.
  4. Get Your Vitamins. This goes along with eating healthy, but if you can’t quite fit all the good healthy food, you aren’t doomed. Do you best and supplement with vitamins. Things like Vitamin C and D are good choices during the winter months.
  5. Rest. I know, if your in college or live a fast paced life, it can be hard to slow down when you are sick, but it is essential. Good sleep gives your body time to heal. So take a nap when you can in between classes and if possible skip any class that isn’t essential. And I know it is hard, but get your homework done early in the day and go to bed early! Like 8 or 9pm, I know, crazy, but your body needs it.
  6. Stay Away from Netflix. Sick days are for catching up on shows, right? I’ve found that if I am sitting in front of my laptop watching Netflix, that I end up feeling worse than if I had stuck to something that didn’t involve technology. I often get stuck watching and forget about everything else. So I recommend taking this time to disconnect. I read two books while I was sick and made good progress on a scarf by the end of the week. By trying to stay off my laptop and phone, I was able to listen to my body better. I was drinking more water, taking naps during the day, and going to bed early.
  7. Steer Clear Of Sugar. Sugar isn’t good for you really any time. But it can weaken you immune system, the very thing that is working to fight off the cold for you. Sugar causes inflammation which essentially distracts your body, allowing things like cold virus to get in and cause problems. So try to avoid sugar, especially refined sugars. Stick to things like fruit, pure maple syrup, and raw honey if you need something sweet. I like maple syrup in my oatmeal, but when I am sick I try to cut back on the amount and just stick to fruit to sweeten it up.
  8. Let it Go. In the words of Elsa, sometimes you just need to “let it go”. You are sick and if you are doing the things on this list,  you are probably doing the best you can to get better. But at the end of the day there is only so much you can physically do. Don’t stress out over being sick, it takes time to heal.

By following these simple things I felt much better by the end of the week and I was back to my old self the next week.

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