Ah, winter time.
Several months of delicious food, shopping, family time and…contracting a cold/flu?! Yes, it’s cold season, and as I can personally attest as I’m on day 12 of a winter cold (almost two weeks!), it’s an unpleasant way to spend the holidays, especially when there are work deadlines and other obligations that might only prolong your illness and discomfort. The positive side of this is that I’ve now become an expert in weathering the winter cold while continuing to meet my editing and writing deadlines, which means that you can too. Below are my top five at-home remedies for kicking that winter cold or flu!
**Disclaimer: This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider regarding any and all medical health needs and/or medical conditions.
Homemade vapor rub ice cubes and hot showers.
Whether it’s sinus/ear pressure, nasal congestion, chest mucus (yuck, I know), or body aches, I’ve found that one of the best ways to immediately relieve my discomfort is congestion is with a hot shower. For an additional boost of decongesting power, consider making these easy homemade Vick’s VapoRub ice cubes and letting them melt in the shower to create a healing steam.
Medication, sinus spray, lemon tea, vitamin C, oh my!
There are so many medications out there for the cold and flu these days that it can be extremely overwhelming to pick one. My tip for choosing medication is to identify your top two most uncomfortable/pressing symptoms, and address those first. As the cold/flu continues, new symptoms might pop up that require other medication, but you can continue to supplement any medications with helpful, natural options like chamomile tea with lemon juice and honey, vitamin C packets and sinus sprays from natural grocers like Sprouts and Whole Foods.
Heated blankets are your new best friend.
Even in Arizona, it’s important to stay warm as the temperatures drop outside and your cold gives you the shivers inside. Heated blankets are one of the easiest and most financially efficient ways to stay warm at home while you recover. You can find soft, high-quality options on Amazon, Costco or Target for under $30 this winter.
Practice good sleep hygiene.
Getting a full night’s sleep is important all of the time, but especially when you’re fighting an illness. Good sleep hygiene rules, while easy to understand, can be a lot harder to incorporate to our daily routines—especially during the holidays, when we’re traveling to see family/friends or vice versa, and spend many long nights socializing and going out. In order to ensure I’ve gotten the proper sleep the last few weeks, I’ve followed several simple rules: 1) lights out and reading my Kindle no later than ten p.m.; 2) extra blankets on the bed to stay warm; and 3) listening to free YouTube videos that focus on ASMR and triggers to help you sleep. What is “ASMR,” you ask? Short for autonomous sensory meridian response, ASMR is an experience described as a “tingling” sensation brought on by certain noises/sounds, that can be relaxing and euphoric for some listeners. Popular ASMR YouTubers with videos I’ve enjoyed include GentleWhispering and ASMRDarling.
Lower your expectations of intended output and activity.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that you are most likely not going to be as active and productive as you would be if you weren’t ill—and to expect such is unfair to yourself. Dealing with a cold/flu is difficult, and it’s important to give yourself grace and time to restso that you can properly heal. Overloading your calendar and attempting to “get everything done” will likely keep you feeling sick longer, which in the end means you still achieve less and at a lower quality. Relax, practice self-care and remember that nothing is more important than your health, even during the holidays.
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