Cold and flu season is well and truly underway, and this one is a doozy. If you’re like me with kids in daycare (or in school), it feels like they’re coming home with something every other week. Whether the one with the coughing/sneezing/sniffling is you or someone else in your home, illness can feel like a big barrier to your wellness goals – one that leaves you feeling “off track.”
You’ve heard me say before that it is all part of the track, and the same is true when you’re sick! Yes, having a cold or having a kid come home with the flu is tough, but it is also part of life and something that you’ll have to encounter again and again. So this week, I wanted to share some tips for handling illness in a way that honors your and your family’s health, while keeping you from feeling like you need to throw all of your fitness and nutrition goals out the window.
Illness can feel like a big barrier to your wellness goals – one that leaves you feeling “off track.”
Sleep! Getting adequate sleep and rest is vitally important to keep your immune system functioning at a high level during the winter months.
Focus on stress management. You know that stress can take a toll on the body, so being proactive about your favorite ways to manage stress can go a long way in staying healthy.
Eat nutrient-dense foods. Vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, and B12 as well as folate, zinc, and more play a role in supporting your immune system. Selecting nutrient-dense foods (alongside certain supplements, like B12 for those with a vegan or vegetarian diet) can help you get a variety of these vitamins and minerals. P.S. If you are in a fat loss phase during the winter and eating less volume than you are used to, it is especially important to make sure you are still getting all of the necessary nutrients in your diet.
Exercise. Keeping your body moving is important, but make sure that you are also listening to your body and giving yourself plenty of time to recover to avoid burning out.
Watch your alcohol intake. It is common for many women to drink more frequently at this time of year, and for many of us, that is fine! But alcohol can also rob your body of vital micronutrients and make you more likely to get sick, so keep that in mind when you consider whether you want to indulge.
While You’re Sick
Give yourself a break. Your fitness and nutrition won’t look the same when you’re sick, and that is okay – in fact, the best thing you can do for your health is to give yourself the time and space you need to feel better!
Hydrate! Sticking to your water goals will make you feel better in your body and also more accomplished when other goals feel out of reach.
Choose new goals. Maybe you want to start making a list of things you are grateful for, or meditating for five minutes every morning. If you feel up to it, replacing your workout with something else that makes you feel grounded can be a great option while you’re under the weather.
Slow down. Often, illness is our body’s way of telling us it needs a break, so honoring that by slowing down your meals, putting aside your to-do list, or focusing on one thing at a time can be helpful as you heal (yes, that one thing can be resting on the couch with a show or taking a nap).
When Someone In Your Home is Sick
Come up with a backup plan. If you know that you won’t be able to get in your usual morning workout with your kid home from school all week, or that your evening spin class won’t happen when your partner can’t do school pickup, make sure that you have a backup plan in place: a shorter workout, a different time block, or even just a walk home from school might be the movement “Plan B” that you need.
Stay flexible. Even with a plan A.. and B… and C…, it is impossible to plan for every eventuality when it comes to someone else’s health. Remind yourself that it is okay to stay flexible and move through this season with grace for yourself and those in your life.
Be present. How would it feel to shift your mindset from ugh, we are dealing with this again and it is totally messing with me to this is an opportunity to spend more time together. Maybe the situation is the same, but if your mindset is oriented toward downtime with family – even if the kids are coughing in your mouth – that can be a major shift!
Know that this is temporary, and will pass. Even if this season feels overwhelming, know that you are not alone!
And once you or your person are feeling better, resist the urge to “make up” for missing workouts by cutting calories or working out every day. Now is not the time to overstress your body! Instead, give yourself permission to ease back into your regular workout routine when you feel ready.
Let us know in the comments: which tip resonates with you the most? What are some tips and tricks you swear by during cold and flu season?