As a naturopathic doctor, I also am accustomed to colds and flu. A summer cold I have not been afflicted with for some time, but my schedule being crazy certainly was a good recipe for disaster. Add a few less hours of sleep, and viruses or bacteria of any kind love my body as a breeding ground. So what do I do for a cold, when my body needs time to recover?
As a new doctor, I used to feel incredibly guilty when I was ill. So many people needing assistance, how could I not be there to help them? I of course realized with time that without taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else. Plus, being a carrier of the plague is not always a great practice attribute ;)
Here were my approaches (not in any particular order):
- Take a week off from blog posting
- Respond to e‑mails on a need-to-know basis
- Focus on my physical self — let’s face it, when the physical self speaks, you can’t help but listen
What did I take to recover? I have a tried-and-true formula for my colds. I’m also lucky that my colds follow a very predictable format over the last several years:
- Running nose 4 – 5 hours
- Sore throat within 1 hour of the running nose
- Terribly sore throat for 24 hours
- Sore throat resolves and horribly running nose for 24 hours
- Stuffed nose for 48 hours
I know…gross. I’m a doctor…so none of this grosses me out. I think of it as a scientific experiment. My treatment approaches include:
- Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.…did I mention sleep?
- Vitamin C — once a cold has arrived (regardless of origin) there are numerous research studies that demonstrate high doses of vitamin C help to resolve the cold faster than any placebo
- Echinacea species — Echinacea help to boost the immune system in colds and flus and are not overly stimulating
- Arnica montana — When my throat is aching, I am a big baby. I take arnica in homeopathic form to help with the raw aching feeling
- My regular supplement régime — If you are currently taking vitamins or supplements for a current health condition, you cannot just stop because you feel like throwing in the towel (literally!). While it feels like you won’t recover, you eventually will
- Understanding and kindness from yourself — As a type A person, I am incredibly hard on myself in times where I need more R & R — when I do less, when I think less, when I am less motivated. I wish I could turn off my brain when I’m sick, but I cannot. However, I have learned to understand that while I mentally feel “fine”, my body does not. We’re here for a human experience, and so we have to have it, even if that means a cold.
- Saying thank you to your silent heroes — I have a wonderful partner who was kind and helpful and understanding of my need to rest. When you feel like a human and not a zombie, always say thank you. It’s free and always appreciated, even if they do not expect it.
Now that I am feeling more like myself, expect more things to come!