1) Be Polite, Not A Martyr
Going to work or to the grocery store is not the brave thing to do when sick. It is the rude thing to do. You are infecting others by touching doorknobs, breathing on inanimate objects and touching other people. You are the most contagious when you are in the prodromal phase. The yicky part when the throat starts to hurt, the muscles all get tight and achy, and you feel lousy without really knowing why. That is a fabulous time to go home and rest. Be away from other people and start prepping the body for battle. Also think about the people in the room. I try to avoid teaching classes when I know there are pregnant women in the room or students over 80 years of age. The immune systems of these two populations are more vulnerable to our little bugs then most.
2) Protect the Lungs and Kidneys
When it comes to Lung based sickness (ie the flu or headcolds) it is important to support the Lungs. No matter how much phlegm you have in the lungs adding moisture is always important. Steaming, taking hot showers and staying hydrated will help move the mucus or phlegm along, keep the Lungs moist as they get weak from dryness. Using a neti pot and gargling with salt water are also fabulous ways to moisten. But the Kidneys are our back up immune defense according to Chinese Medicine. So how do you protect the Kidneys when you start to feel sick? Wear socks. The Kidney channel begins on the soul of the foot and has a tendency towards getting cold. Warm socks makes the body a little more prepared. Don’t overwork. When you are sick the body gets tired so much faster and can tap into Kidney energy faster than usual. Listen to the body and think about short stints of work followed by long rests.
3) Talk Less
Talking depletes Lung Qi in the body. Excessive talking, ie teaching a yoga class, when you are sick is incredibly draining. For years I’ve noticed that I’ll be fully healed from a head cold only to show up for an hour yoga class and then need to take the next day of work off. Limit talking on the phone, giving speeches, teaching and other speaking-heavy obligations when you are sick.
4) Avoid the Brain
Thinking and using intellectual power utilizes the qi as well. Spending the day in bed while doing bookkeeping is just as intense on the body as going for a long strenuous walk. This is the main reason to stay home from work and watch bad tv or movies or flip a mindless magazine and let the brain cells turn off to conserve the weakened qi.
5) Marathon Sleep
Be the best sleeper ever. As long and as often as possible.
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