If you actually want to be sick, if you want attention and sympathy, or to skive off work and have a duvet day, then this post is not for you. Just go grab your box of tissues and indulge yourself for a while, rest up and you’ll be back to normal when you get back to normal.
However, life as a singer demands a healthy respiratory system so that it doesn’t mess up my gig schedules and income. So if, like me, having a cold is the last thing you need and you want to get over it FAST, or not even have one at all, then this post is for you!
I have found that by doing the following I have gone year without a cold!! My partner thinks it’s very weird: the colds may begin but they never come to anything. I haven’t had to cancel a gig because of a cold in 5 years!
These days I know my body well enough that I can spot a cold coming almost as soon as I am exposed to it. There’ll be something in my body that just feels a bit odd, a tickle in my nose, a random sneeze.. an itchiness at the back of my throat. That’s when I know it’s time do the following:
1. Focus On Wellness. This is most important of all. There is much evidence now to show how our mental state and what we believe, effects our body and it’s processes. This is very important because what you’ll need to move a cold on, is the right mental attitude, that’s why I say if you don’t want to be well this post is not for you. I have found that a major key a strong immune system is to concentrate your mind and attention on wellness, and not on the symptoms. NEVER ever take ownership of the cold. Never say ‘I have a cold’. I try not to talk about it at all, but if I must, I say things like ‘This cold is trying to take hold but I am focussed on wellness so it’s going have a tough time!’ Keep your mindset and behaviour aligned with wellness. You’re sending a message to your immune system that you refuse to be beaten by any tiny little bacteria, and your immune system will deal with them as per your instructions. If you entertain and indulge the symptoms you’re sending mixed messages to your immune system and it will be less effective.
2. Keep Breathing. This may seem difficult when you have a blocked nose, but if you can breath deeply through your nose before it gets blocked, and whenever you can throughout, you’ll find that you’ll maintain clearer airways than if you don’t, and therefore less stuffiness and headaches. Deep breathing also activates your lymphatic system to cleanse toxins from your body so it’s a must! If there’s fresh air to be had, even better.
3. Take Multi-vitamins. Your immune system needs the right resources to work with to fight off the cold so get as many vitamins and minerals in as you can. If you weren’t already taking them, keep them in your diet permanently.
4. Garlic, Chilli, lemon and Ginger. These are natural cold remedies so get as much of them as you can, raw if possible!? Grate ginger into honey and lemon hot water, grate garlic (loaded in anti-oxidants) into a fresh vegetable soup sprinkled with fresh chilli. Just get as much of them as you can into your food!
5. Take a really hot bath just before bed, as hot as you can tolerate, followed by a mug of warm lemon water with fresh lemon slices in it.
6. Sleep with the windows open. Central heating is notoriously bad for a increasing the symptoms of a cold, so keep the heating low and the fresh air flowing.
7. Take Echinacea as soon as you get wind that anyone you know has a cold… In fact, best to just keep taking it (as per packet instructions) during this season! It works best to prevent you getting a cold so best used when you are well.
8. Exercise. Get that body moving, that blood flowing, that immune system activated! You may not feel like it to start with but trust me, you’ll feel a whole lot better afterward! You may even find, as I often have, that the cold is dramatically reduced if not completely gone at the end of your session! It’s all part of maintaining healthy behavior to maintain a healthy body!
9. Cleanse with salt water. Okay this might strike you as little overboard, but it depends how much you want to be well… Run a basin of warm water. Dissolve about a tablespoon of salt into it. Put your face into the water. Open your eyes and blink a few times. Then snort some of the water into your nose, lift your head out and snort the water down the loo. Do that a few times. It’s not so nice but it works!
10. Gargle with TCP. If you are experiencing a sore throat.. Try gargling with TCP, as per the instructions. It’s really really gross and I prefer a salt water gargle but again, it works!
11. Keep up the personal hygiene. Wash your hands regularly. Especially in places with lots of other people! Wash those germs off before they get in you!
12. Drink Pepermint Tea. It’s great as a decongestant and for opening up the synuses!
13. Sleep! Often your immune system will under perform if you are tired… So make sure you get enough rest.
So there you have it. That’s my tool-box for wellness. I find that my symptoms are usually gone in 24 hours, before they even got started. So next time you find yourself ‘coming down with a cold’ try doing as many of the above as you can fit into your life and see if you get the same results!
Love and wellness to you,
Image credit: Pastel on paper illustration entitled ‘She Smiles at The Future’ by Nikki Loy