I am home today with a cold – coughing, congestion, phlegm. It doesn’t happen often, and yet, it totally happens to all of us. I thought this would be a good opportunity to share some of my favorite self-care practices when I catch a cold (I actually think it catches me, yet I digress).
1- STAY WARM: From the Ayurvedic view, catching a cold (or it catching you) means you have an imbalance (too much) of the cold quality. This causes the fluids to congeal (mucous gets sticky) and the whole body gets constricted (achy). In Ayurveda, we apply opposites to bring balance – so where one is too cold, we would add warmth – blankets, wool socks, hats, scarves, baths, warm cooked foods and drinks, warm loving company, and I am a huge fan of my heating pad over my tummy or low back.
2- NETI: I am a regular user of the neti pot with salt water. In our home, this is a daily practice. When the congestion goes up, so does the use of the neti pot. I might use it up to three times a day (only when I have congestion) to keep the channels of the nose and sinuses more open, to help move congestion out, and to help with nostril breathing.
3- TURMERIC-HONEY-LEMON TEA: I boil the kettle. While the water is heating up, I put ¼ tsp of ground turmeric, 1 tsp of raw honey, and the juice of a lemon in my mug. Once the water boils, I pour it into the mug and use the honey spoon to stir everything up. I drink one of these every few hours until the cold goes away.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-fungal/viral/bacterial herb, that is also warming, and therefore useful when we are feeling sick. Honey is warming and astringent, which means that it will help with excess moisture in the body. Lemon is sour and helps enkindle the digestive fire, which warms us up from the inside.
4- CHICKEN SOUP: For those of you who eat meat, now is the time for chicken soup. Warm, moist, simple and easy to digest, chicken soup provides nourishment and the fuel to boost your system for a speedy recovery.
5- REST: I think culturally this is the one we forget about. We tend to try to “work through” the sickness. When we are sick (whether it’s a cold, or something else) our bodies need more rest. If you can, take a day (even an afternoon) and sleep. Let your body’s innate healing ability come forward, which is hard for it to do if you are scheduled to the hilt. I really dislike cancelling things, and yet if I don’t heal and get better, I am not of good service to my community. I am also blessed not to have a work that is “life critical” (ex: paramedic, surgeon, etc.), so if I have to reschedule an appointment or find a sub for a class, it may be inconvenient, however it is not the end of the world.
Hopefully if you end up with a cold, some of these suggestions will serve to you heal more quickly so you can get back to living your life. I know these are the things that help me the most.
peace & love,