There are some important things you can do to help your body recover from the flu more quickly and completely and help enhance your health to keep you from getting sick again this winter.
Keep taking those vitamins and immune boosting herbs. You may have loaded up on the vitamin C and zinc and maybe even some herbal remedies during the first couple of days you were coming down with something, and that's great. Don't quit. Even as your symptoms such as chills and fatigue and nasal congestion subside, your body has used up some of your vitamin stores to fight off your viral invaders. Now is the time to replenish those stores of vitamins and antioxidants so your body isn't lacking for its normal functions. So keep taking a little extra vitamin C and zinc, keep your vitamin D levels high, and keep using those immune boosting herbs like garlic, oregano, thyme, and astragalus, just to name a few.
Keep getting enough sleep and rest, and take a little more time to relax and let your body recover. If it is at all possible, take an extra day off or take a full weekend day to continue to rest your body after the flu or a cold. You may be feeling better, but your cells have some clean-up work left to do to get rid of the remnants of your immune-system battle. Don't sacrifice your sleep to catch up on your life, you'll have more energy to tackle those tasks if you stay rested and keep your stress levels in check.
Keep your sugar intake low, and keep those colorful fruits and vegetables and that chicken soup going strong. Sugar puts its own stress on the body and immune system, and often feeds organisms within our bodies, such as yeast, that can allow them to grow to unhealthy population levels. Colorful fruits and vegetables are the best natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the forms, combinations, and ratios that our bodies can most easily absorb. And the health benefits of that chicken soup have actually been researched, although it is best if you can make your own from organic, whole food ingredients and stay away from the sodium and preservative-laden processed soups. Homemade chicken soup is also a great way to add in some of those immune-boosting herbs mentioned above.
Get back into your exercise routine as soon as possible, but take it slow. Exercise, even in short bursts, can raise your white blood cell counts in your bloodstream. These white blood cells are important players in immunity, fighting off pathogens and cleaning up after them. Exercise also improves blood flow, thus clearing your system of the waste products and bringing fresh nutrients to your cells as they repair. But take it easy, don't jump right back into the intensity of your previous workouts, make them a little less intense and a little shorter, or if you are new to a routine, start with walking and stretching to give that blood flow a boost.
Get some fresh air. You've been cooped up with your germs for a few days, so get outside, even if just for a few minutes. If it is cold, make sure you bundle up and stay warm. But try to get to a place of natural beauty, a wood or a park, to restore and refresh your senses and your spirit. It is just as important to rejuvenate your mind and soul as it is to repair your physical strength.
And if those pesky symptoms linger, if that cough is still keeping you up at night or you've had that sinus congestion for weeks now, see your naturopathic physician. You may need a little more specific and personalized care to get back to your healthy self, so see someone who will take a look at the underlying causes of why you haven't bounced back yet, and who works to treat the whole of you so that more than your immune system gets back into balance!