Overcoming an inevitable winter cold

I felt my throat tightening up the morning after Thanksgiving – my first sign of getting sick. While I continued to be very active at home with my family, drank lots of tea and ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, I was eventually forced to get on a plane to fly back to North Carolina on Sunday and because of the viral and bacterial cesspool of airports and airplanes during holiday season – by Sunday evening I was sneezing and wiping my nose every 10 minutes with a full blown cold.

These were the steps I took to get back to normal:

Monday at work was pretty terrible, I didn’t have a fever so I wasn’t infectious, but I slowly went through my day and drank lots of green tea with lemon.  I seriously drank so much tea and water that I peed once an hour, literally trying to flush this illness out of my system. My body was obviously telling me to take it easy and I didn’t particularly want to have to take a handful of tissues to the gym and have to disinfect everything I touched.

tissues

Tuesday I was feeling better but with the cold morning air causing me to cough a little bit I still took it easy. I definitely did not want this to turn into a chest cold which would then force me into a doctor’s office and probably on medication of some sort. I told myself to be in bed by 10pm and I was, but not until after I made a delicious vegan take on chicken noodle soup: Chickpea “noodle” soup.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling fantastic, but still not 100%. Growing up my mother always told me to be the best I could be to the best of my ability on any given day. Wednesday I did some easy spinning on my indoor trainer for about 40 minutes and also went to an Ashtanga yoga class that I love. Talk about sweating and breathing through sickness! What I love about Ashtanga is that once you know it, you have the capacity to adjust it to your ability on a given day. As long as you control your breathing the whole time, you’ll know how far you can go in a pose and when to back off. I’ll probably say this again, but closely listening to your breathing is better than any heart rate monitor when it comes to judging your effort.

Thursday I felt great again after a full night of sleep. I actually got a great workout in while coaching Girls on the Run between the running around with them and some bodyweight rows, air squats and pushups while I was stationed at a point waiting for them to pass me on their laps. Bodyweight exercises are another great barometer of how far you can push yourself while recovering from being sick and you aren’t risking spreading anything from handling free weights or machines at the gym.

Today is now Friday and I feel almost 100% back to normal other than a chapped nose!  My gym bag is packed and ready for a Friday afternoon session. Although I was feeling pretty crappy, I didn’t let that sideline me from being active or eating healthy. I really upped my fluids intake through hot lemon water, tea, and soup, and made sure to eat lots of greens, veggies, and healthy fats like avocados. I took two full days off of exercise to not only recover but also to prevent it from getting worse. I wish I hadn’t gotten sick in the first place, but since I work around so many children and was traveling, it was inevitable and I just tried to manage it as best as possible.

Everyone’s situation will be different, and I definitely think that when an illness has spread to the chest and you’re having breathing issues that more days off and a visit to the doctor is necessary. Since the holidays are both a season of giving, gifts, parties and loved ones, and also a season of added stress and colds, it is especially important to take care of yourself. Preventative medicine involving a healthy diet and healthy amount of exercise is my best advice for getting through the holidays illness-free but if you do get sick then make sure to take reasonable steps towards getting healthy again!

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