It’s that time of year again.
Where it’s fucking cold. People are hacking, coughing and sneezing left, right and centre. You can’t escape it. It’s Cold and Flu season!
The fact that I only get sick a handful of times a year is insane. After my last round of flying…I came home feeling sneezy, headachy and all-around sick. But, as always, I refuse to accept being sick. When I feel a cold coming on I have a few tricks to prevent it from coming. One of the biggest ways to prevent a cold or flu (besides the flu shot) is knowing yourself and when your body will be the most susceptible to getting sick.
But the reality is…once you’re sick, you’re sick man.
I’ve dodged some colds, I’ve also had more colds than I’d like (including an awful flu or sickness last year after the craziness that was Christmas season). This post will share two major points with you about being healthy this cold season. Part I will talk about how to know your body, and protect it from getting sick. These are all things I’ve learnt about myself while I’ve been working one of the most unhealthy jobs (don’t believe me? Check out this article by business insider, flight attendants are ranked as number 8 out of 47 of the unhealthiest jobs in America).
Part I: How To Avoid Getting Sick
1. Get a Proper Amount of Sleep
If you don’t get eight hours of sleep each night (or at least supplement with a nap), you’re fucked. I’m sorry, but it’s true. If you don’t give your body the time to rest, your immune system will not have time to rest either. Which means you’ll have a weak immune system that will not be able to fight the invasion of cold germs. Any time I have had shitty sleeps for a few nights in a row, it’s immediate. Instant cold. People who have less than seven hours of sleep are THREE times more likely to catch a cold than those who have eight or more hours (want to know more details? Check out this article that talks about the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine).
2. Sanitize and Wash Your Hands
Well this one is obvious. Yeah, for sure we should be washing our hands and cleaning our work surfaces during this season. But more than ever we need to be extra conscious of this. If your company provides glove for you at work, use them. Wash your hands anytime you come in full-contact with another person (you never know who is carrying a cold or about to get sick). I always carry around hand sanitizer with me if I don’t have a chance to pop in the washroom to wash my hands.
3. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have worked wonders for me this year! There is not much out there for scienctific research when it comes to essential oils preventing colds or sickness. So I’m not saying it will work for everyone. Maybe it’s a placebo effect. But damn that shit seems to help me. I picked up a pocket farmacy from saje natural wellness. As I’m writng this, I am rubbing on their germ & virus remedy.
4. Vitamin D
Everyone thinks it’s all about vitamin C. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, you are 100 percent eating enough vitamin C. But in the winter months, many of us don’t get enough vitamin D. It makes sense doesn’t it? During the fall and winter months there is less sunlight during the day. Most of us don’t even go outside for very long during the winter either. Leaving us depleted of the D. Which is why the fall and winter is cold and flu season. Hate taking pills? I usually opt for the vitamin gummies. Do you think I EVER forget to eat a piece of candy every morning? Hell no.
5. Eat Healthy, Well-Balanced Meals
This directly relates with a point I made earlier. If you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals, you don’t need to worry that your body doesn’t have the right vitamins and minerals to fight off germs and colds.
6. If You Can, Don’t Over-Work Yourself
This is a tough one for me, and possibly anyone who works any kind of shift work. It’s difficult to avoid 12-13-hour days in my line of work. Not to mention min rest on overnights back to back. So if you can, avoid this type of work. I try to bid for and trade for less demanding pairings. And when I’m stuck with this type of work, I make sure I give myself ample time to recover after the shifts.
7. Prioritize Your Schedule
This point is piggy-backing on my last. Be realistic and conservative with planning your schedule. Don’t plan on going to the gym after working a long day, when you know you wont get enough sleep at night because of it. Make sure you prioritize your life to take care of yourself.
8. Get Your Sweat On
Physical activity can boost your metabolism and your overall immune system. Even though the gym can be a breeding ground for germs, you shouldn’t avoid getting your sweat on. Just make sure you’re not touching your face without washing or sanitizing your hands. And since I don’t trust anyone, I always make sure to wipe down the weights and machines before and after I use them.
9. Don’t Hangout Near the Sickies
Again, this might be obvious…but its more than just avoiding your friend who is sick. Im talking about not being around anyone who is sick. If I’m working with someone who is sick, I don’t spend much time near them. If someone is hacking and coughing infront of where I’m sitting, I move to another space.
10. Don’t Share Anything
I share and borrow shit from people all the time. But I know around this time of year that’s a definite no-no. I stop sharing hand cream. I stop eating my friends snacks when they offer. As I said earlier, people may not seem sick, but they could be on the verge or carrying the cold, so its better safe than sorry.
11. Avoid Being Stressed
Ok this sounds dumb…and really who can avoid being stressed, especially if you’re dealing with a stressful situation or times in your life. But if you can, really try to avoid getting worked up. Stress takes a toll on our immune system and makes us more susceptible to ailments. Remember to allow yourself time for self-care. Meditate and try to appreciate the good things.
Tomorrow I’ll post Part II of this article. How to Get Rid of a Cold.