Since being back from honeymoon my body decided it needed an extended rest so it decided I would get a nasty cold...thanks. Anyway, when I wrote this I was curled up on the sofa with a blanket surrounded by tissues, wiping Vaseline around my poor dry nose (glamorous I know). So I thought I would share my 'back to health' top tips with you so you can get back to health asap! There are a lot of little things I do when sick but these are my top tips, so in no particular order, here goes!
1. Water! Water! Water! WATER! And lots of it! When we are ill it is because there are some nasties in our body that shouldn't be there. So by staying hydrated and drinking lots of water we can help flush out some of these unwanted toxins that might be making us feel yuck. It will also keep everything working properly as well as preventing headaches and will help with your energy levels. Personally I aim for 2L daily but if sick I try to drink more. I know it can be annoying going to the toilet every 5 seconds but your body learns to adapt. So always keep a bottle of water with you and keep sipping it throughout the day and night.
2. Ginger is your best friend! Ginger is seriously so good for our immune system and although some people really don't like the taste (I have a close friend that absolutely hates it) it really is so good for us. Especially when our bodies are trying to fight off a cold. It can help with digestion, reduce nausea and has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. So I often pop a chunk of fresh peeled ginger in with my warm lemon water, especially when I'm not well. It's also great in my Turmeric Latte Recipe.
3. REST! Obviously it is important to rest our bodies, especially when we are not feeling 100% but I want all you gym goers to read this twice. Now, I know how frustrating it is when you are really into your training and seeing progress and 'gains' and what not and then you get ill and you feel like crap and back to square one. I know. But if you are feeling really unwell then it's probably your body's way of telling you to slow down and that it needs a break! So listen to your body and if you're not feeling up to it then it's really important to take the time out that you need to get back to health so you can continue on your journey rather than be stubborn and end up making it worse or injuring yourself! The gym will be there when you feel better, promise. If you are anything like me then this will be hard because I hate stopping (work, training, teaching etc.) and I hate letting people down so when I get ill I feel really agitated and just want to get back to it! But trust me, you need to rest. Although exercise is amazing for us and I fully promote moving our bodies towards a healthier lifestyle, it is in fact a form of stress on the body. So when your body is already under stress from the flu/sickness then it's best we don't add to that physical stress so we can recover quicker. If you feel like a gentle stroll around the block then that's great, the fresh air will probably do you good but don;t push it.
4. This one sounds silly but get some proper tissues and Vaseline. Toilet paper is great but when you're wiping your nose 1000 times a day it's going to get painful. So do yourself a favour and get yourself some soft tissues and Vaseline/another lip balm to wipe around your nose (sounds gross but just trust me).
5. Focus on getting lots of nutrient dense foods into your system. I know sometimes we don't feel like eating when we are ill but it's important to keep fuelling your body with lots of goodness to help it repair itself so we can get better! I personally find warming foods are better as they are easier to digest so your body doesn't need to use as much energy to break the food down which leaves more energy for you to get better! If you really don't feel like eating then I would at least try to get a smoothie down you or some bone broth as they are packed with nutrients. These are the types of foods I try to nourish my body with, especially when sick;
- Chicken soup (I know I sound like your Grandma but there's logic behind it. Homemade chicken soup is packed with protein, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals, it's a tasty source of fluids and it's a good natural decongestant - so perfect for when you're feeling bunged up and a bit rubbish. Homemade is best, so listen to Grandma!)
- Greens (broccoli, spinach, green beans, cucumber, avocado etc)
- Carbs for energy (sweet potato, wholegrain rice/pasta, quinoa, banana, oats etc)
- Garlic (not raw obviously but it's great for the immune system and packed with vitamins and minerals)
- Ginger (as mentioned above).
6. Last but not least, be kind to yourself. This is one that even I need to remind myself of. We all have such busy lives these days and are running here there and everywhere trying to fit everything into our schedule. When we get sick, like I said above, it's our bodies way of telling us to slow down a little, so it's important we listen to that sign! That means not only resting when you're already sick but trying to take some time out everyday for some 'you time' to prevent yourself from becoming burned out and ill. There's no point trying to continuously burn the candle at both ends, so if you are sick then put yourself first and for once be selfish. For me personally, I struggle with this one because running my own business I always feel like I'm letting people down when I take a day off to rest. Cancelling clients, classes and doing absolutely nothing is something that honestly makes me feel so anxious because I feel so guilty. But this is something I am working on. If I am not 100% then I can't give my clients 100% which isn't fair on them. It is honestly so important to fill up our own cups before trying to help others effectively (plus no one wants your germs). So put your health first, it's not selfish, it's necessary.
I hope these little tips help you feel better if you're ill but also you can do all of these everyday (number 4 isn't exactly necessary) to help prevent yourself getting sick in the first place. I think as a general rule we always wait until we are already sick before doing anything rather than focusing on prevention. If you start to incorporate these healthy habits into your everyday life then you will be amazed at not only how quickly your body can fight an illness but also how great you feel day to day!
"If you think being healthy is expensive and time consuming, try being sick."