April 15, 2014

College and What to Remember

I'm jotting this down here for your reference and mine. I'm in my fourth year of college (having switched potential majors several times) and need to put this here before I forget. Reading over this each semester will probably benefit me. 

1. Read it all: the class's schedules, the syllabus, any required readings, etc. There's always time for reading even if you have to make it. It's there. This will help you in the long run and reading is just so darn good for you, why wouldn't you read? Also, if there is a prospective class you know you'll be taking, check with the instructor for any required reading ahead of time and get started over the summer if possible.

2. Your professors and instructors are there for your benefit: not their own. It is their job to help you and you're paying to endure those class hours, good and bad. If there is a problem, you need an extension on an assignment, or if you just simply need help or someone to talk something over with, I have yet to meet a professor unwilling to listen. Make a connection with them in a professional student-to-teacher way and you will likely have a much better professor. (Also, job references, connections to future employment and events that will benefit your education and career, hello!)

3. Don't consume yourself
: if you do not have to: meaning work as hard as you can work without getting stressed to the level of medication or therapy. I'm not joking. It is college, most of us have been there and we all know how stressful it can be. Remember to exercise, drink lots of fluids, and have "you" time without external influences. This is especially important if you work and go to school full-time, have kids, or are otherwise busy making everything happen in your life. It is important and very healthy to have personal time. This doesn't mean going as far as taking a day off (unless you absolutely have to) but a quiet evening at home rather than a rowdy party. My best recuperating nights have involved Netflix and a glass (or two) of my favorite wine.

April 6, 2014

Surviving a Cold + Exhaustion

Treating an at-home cold is not a huge feat and its generally less expensive and more satisfying than a visit to the doctor. (Do get a check-up, however, it can always be something more serious.) I don't normally get sick but lately, burning the candle at both ends has taken its toll and has resonated in my health. I now know better.

I'm at the tail-end of this three-day cold that could have absolutely lasted for weeks (fingers crossed!) so here's what it takes to nurse a cold + exhaustion.

  • Wash your hands before and after everything.
  • Keep hands and nose moisturized (Vit. E. oil is best).
  • Make sure surroundings stay clean/Lysol/disinfectant, etc. 
  • Keep your teeth brushes and gargle w/ salt water.
  • Regarding the above, toss that toothbrush once your cold makes its run.
  • Do not underestimate a hot shower and clean clothes. 
  • Scented candles/wax/oils in Eucalyptus, Mint, Menthol, Citrus, etc. are wonderful for when you have a cold. Can't smell anything? These things will generally open up your nasal passages.
  • I'll keep this one short: if you can cough it up, spit it out. 
  • Avoid physical contact for obvious reasons. Keep your cold to yourself. =]

1. Time off ~ Sleep in: I know, sometimes this is not an option. But if it is, it is very important. Try and grab a night off of everything. For me, I work 40 hours + and have a full-time campus schedule so this was not easy. Timing was perfect this time, so I had two days off that helped a lot. In this time, sleep as much as possible.

2: Sleep: Regarding above, sleep is when your body regenerates. I have not had any luck with ANY sort of cold medicine...I will generally take a sleeping aid in lieu of a cold medicine just so I can sleep. Also, acetaminophen medications are tricky things and should be taken in moderation 4+ hours a part due to their affect on the liver. Melatonin is a good alternative and can be found in vitamin form. A couple before bed with a hot glass of tea? Pure bliss. (This is controversial, but if you're up all night coughing, nothing works as quickly as a shot of dark liquor: Southern Comfort, Fireball, Jack Daniels, etc. Again, do not mix acetaminophen medications with alcohol of any kind. This can result in liver failure.)

3. Liquids ~ Liquids ~ Liquids: Yes, yes, yes. Always have a drink available. Bottled water is of course an easy option. Keeping the throat moist keeps it from getting scratchy and generally will sway off a cough and a sore throat. Herbal teas + lemon + honey are really nice before bed or in place of a typical morning cup of coffee. Also, one certain thing that is OTC that does help is Theraflu. Organic/All Natural Orange Juice during the day, alternate with water + lemon works well. Avoid sugary sodas or artificial juices and coffee with additives; the sugar content will slow down healing. Again, whiskey can drum up a cough instantly, just don't overdo it. Nothing worse than being drunk and sick.

My Personal Arsenal

  • Airplane Bottles of Fireball Whiskey: Again, for the cough, it's tingly and not too overbearing and does the job when I need relief from a cough immediately.
  • Orange Juice: This stuff is so soothing. I also really like orange juice. Any source of vitamin C is wonderful here.
  • Bottled Water: Again, soothing and refreshing when you're full of sick "gunk."
  • Herbal Tea: You can make this the old school way or throw the bags into the Keurig. Add a few slices of lemon and honey and it's amazing. 
  • Peppermints/Gum: Bad cold = bad breath. I keep these when I need to go out to stop the coughing and clear up my bad breath.
  • Bath Salts/Scented Goodies: If I can smell or not, I love the cold and allergy salts. You can find these at the supermarket, usually, and they're wonderful. Follow up with the body wash and it'll really open you up. Also, incense, candles, oils in the appropriate scents are wonderful for a boost.