Whether it’s a common cold or the dreaded coronavirus, feeling sick is always a miserable experience. You want to get back in the game ASAP because the world doesn’t stop moving.
Bouncing back quickly (and fully) is your top priority, but what’s the plan? From healing the gut and hydrating to an IV drip and other techniques, here’s your complete guide to recovering the right way.
Stay hydrated (properly)
How much of illness results from dehydration, or is worsened by the lack of fluids and minerals in the body? Doctors suggest that the two are closely related, which puts hydration at the top of our list to get over feeling sick.
Genuine hydration is more than just freshwater intake. It requires the proper balance of key minerals and electrolytes that rejuvenate the body on a cellular level and allow our internal ‘batteries’ to function properly. After all, electrical signals rule the roost in the human body.
From the moment you first fall ill to your complete recovery, keep the hydration coming with electrolyte powders and beverages.
Potassium, magnesium, and a range of salts are first order. Also, consider scheduling an IV drip once you’re on the mend and no longer contagious.
Sleep it off
Deep sleep is like hitting the reset button for our bodies, so don’t push yourself to stay awake despite feeling ill. Leave the caffeine and the stimulants (like nicotine and prescription meds) on the shelf as soon as you notice a decline in your physical or mental state.
Yes, you will sleep more than usual, and it may not always be comfortable. Expect to change sheets and pillowcases at least once, especially if you’re sweating from the flu.
But if you embrace sleep as the healing mechanism it is, you will fast-track the recovery process and find yourself feeling revitalised on a core level.
Keep your room dark, clean, and calm. Sleep it off and let your immunity work its magic. This is an opportunity to cleanse the system and restore equilibrium throughout the body.
Heal the gut (3 ways)
Did you know that sickness often begins in the gut, and our strongest immunity regulators are found there as well? It’s no surprise that poor diet and environmental toxins have devastated gut health in the west, and we’re paying the price with chronic illnesses of all sorts.
While an IV drip and plenty of sleep can help us combat sickness in the short term, you need to look after your gut health more seriously to achieve true, long-term health. Here are three ways to improve the strength and efficacy of your GI tract so that illness can’t strike back.
- Collagen and gelatin. Why does chicken soup have magical healing properties? It’s the collagen doing the heavy lifting. When fighting sickness, you need gut-friendly protein that soothes the system and gives your cells the fuel necessary to wage war on a microbial level. Collagen and its “cooked form” called gelatin are powerful assets that don’t require prescriptions or cost a fortune. These can be mixed into drinks, smoothies, bowls of yoghurt, or oatmeal, and provide the perfect form of protein your body needs when sick. Consider sipping bone broth for a major health boost and extra warmth.
- Glutamine supplements. A dash of glutamine helps fix a ‘leaky gut’ and restores the absorption abilities that may have deteriorated from years of consuming processed foods. People report feeling stronger after taking glutamine, along with noticeable cognitive and immune benefits. Some doctors say that glutamine actually has more healing properties than vitamin C because you can finally absorb those nutrients you’ve been missing out on for years. Keep glutamine flowing when sick, and you’ll enjoy a speedy recovery.
- Intermittent fasting. Sometimes, it’s best to simply not eat for a while as your body taps into its natural healing abilities. Most people haven’t given their digestive systems a break for years, so fasting can serve as a hard reset when we need it most. This isn’t to say you should starve yourself when sick, but in many cases, you won’t even have an appetite. That’s the body’s way of naturally holding back from food. Trust that when you’re on the mend, that hunger will return in a big way that you won’t be able to ignore.
Get moving and grooving
Movement is medicine for the body, yet too many people remain sedentary when trying to overcome illness. While you don’t need to run a triathlon to beat a cold, definitely try some light cardio and stretching to bring your immunity up a notch.
Some physical activity can also help you make the most of medications, supplements, or an IV drip. Blood and lymph flow are essential for recovery, so don’t miss out.
Self-care, hygiene, and more
At last, be sure to take time for self-care and hygienic routines when on the mend from any type of sickness.
Spend some extra time grooming, brushing, flossing, and nourishing the skin with cleanses, masks, and moisturizers. Soak in an Epsom salt bath or get that rejuvenating IV drip you’ve heard about.
While you might feel like being lazy and skipping showers while sick, going that extra mile with self-care and hygiene is often the missing link to a full recovery in a shorter timeframe.
Simona LeVey did her degree in psychology at Tel Aviv University. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.