After your coworker gets sick, you have washed your hands– a lot!– sprayed Lysol on the copy machine and doorknobs at work, and taken your vitamins. But WHAM! you still come down with Lucy’s winter cold.
While you are fighting that nasty head cold or rumbling cough, here are 4 things you can do to cooperate with your own body and help it run its course sooner rather than later.
1. Eat lightly. Naturally, your body is going to dial back appetite, presumably to conserve energy and body heat to fight the cold. Do drink plenty of liquids (water, water, water!) to thin mucus.
2. Snooze, sleep, doze. Immune system chemicals called cytokines may make you sleepier than usual so don’t fight it. Why not use paper plates so you don’t have to do dishes tonight and get to bed extra early? Sleep as much as possible so your body can use as much energy as possible fighting the invaders in your body.
3. Relax, baby, relax. Researchers feel people with elevated stress levels release more immune system chemicals that cause inflammation and have more severe symptoms during colds. So read that joke book, meditate on happy things or pray, and allow yourself to put off stressful deadlines, confrontation, stressful tasks or too much work.
4. Avoid intense workouts. If you have a head cold, moderate activity like a 30 minute stroll might be beneficial but if you have a sore throat or a respiratory cold involving the lungs, then keep to the easy chair and bed. With any type of cold, it’s best to avoid the gym for weight lifting or those intense cardio workouts that get your blood pulsing. You can resume the intense workouts after you are feeling better.