So, a couple of weeks ago I got sick. Not just like a cold/flu sick. In hospital sick. For a couple of days. And I made them let me leave early because the lady next to me kept yelling at 3am and I couldn’t get any sleep. Let’s not go into details, but it wasn’t a fantastic situation. After a 40 degree fever, at least 2 (or was it 3? I can’t remember) kinds of IV antibiotics, lots of very strong painkillers and many, many hugs later I made it home with several prescriptions for more antibiotics, 2 boxes of panadol, and the promise to sit very still for a little while and let myself get better. In fact, here’s a picture of me at 11pm in my ward bed, listening to yoga podcasts, wearing my favourite wolf sweater and about to wash my late night painkillers n’ panadol combo down with hospital pudding (the only food I could keep down except for vegemite toast), The moral of the story? Even health practitioners get sick sometimes. And truly, it’s best to make sure you’re really super ready to go back to work before you do - even if that means that you need a little bit of time to put yourself back together.
The silver lining to this situation is that I’ve learnt a crapload about how to put yourself back together after a major illness. And yanno what? I thought I would share it with you all. I hope you’re never in that sort of situation (because really, hospitals are not at all comfortable places to get better in), but if you are, here’s a head start on how to begin the healing process.
This is a time to really nourish your digestive organs. As much as you might want to subsist solely on vegemite toast and cups of tea, it’s really not the best (believe me, I tried and found out the hard way). This is the time to eat soft, warm mushy foods. Think bone broths, soups, stews and porridges. Bone broth will really help to calm you tummy and all the lovely minerals in it will help to rebuild you gut and muscles. It’s also a fantastic idea to add a bit spoonful of fermented veggie to each meal. Just one should be plenty, and if you don’t like the taste very much just mix it in with all the other delicious things that your chowing down on. Your body will thank you for it.
Did you know that scientists and doctors are constantly discovering more and more about the gut, the biome and its intense interconnectedness with the rest of the body? No? well, seriously. The gut is super important in all parts of the body, especially the immune system. In fact, a large proportion of your immune system lives there!
If you’ve just had a big illness you need to make sure that looking after your tummy is your number one priority … after napping and eating vegemite toast of course. This is especially important if you’ve been taking antibiotics or other intense medications, which can play havoc with your gut-flora. This is the time to get a quality probiotic, start chugging Kombucha, upping your soluble/insoluble fibres plus adding a few prebiotics into the mix. Sound difficult? It’s really not.
All you have to do is:
- Take a probiotic capsules in the morning,
- Add a spoonful of pickles to your lunch,
- Have a cup of Kombucha with afternoon tea,
- Take a teaspoon of a gut-supplement before bed (think Psyllium Husk, Slippery Elm Powder or better yet just grab some Motion Potion .
These things will help to clear out waste but will also help to create a good environment for all the probiotics that you’re loading in with the capsules and kombucha.
Seriously, it’s that easy!
I love a good supplement, but only if it’s needed. Most of the time I don’t supplement with anything but there is most certainly a time and a place for these things. If you’ve been very sick then go and see your local Herbalist / Naturopath / Dietician / Chinese Medicine Practitioner / etc etc and get them to hook you up with some good stuff. Vitamin C, Zinc and Iron are a great place to start but make sure you talk to a qualified professional to get the best prescription for what your body needs. In my case I hit up some Vitamin C and Zinc pretty hard and then added a chaser of Oregano oil for it’s fantastic anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Once things started to settle down I added in some Floradix to help pump up my energy levels. Now that it’s a few weeks post-infection I’m looking at mixing things up a bit again!
ALLIED HEALTH THERAPIES
I completely let loose in the two weeks after I got out of hospital. I booked myself in for two sessions of Acupuncture each week and once I was up and walking around properly I booked myself into the Osteo to help fix up all the damage I’d done by spending two weeks curled into a ball. Not pretty, but true.
If you know what works for your body - be it Physiotherapy, Naturopathy or anything else - get in to it as soon as possible and hit it hard for a good 2 weeks after the illness. I always suggest to my clients to pop in 2-3 times in 10 days after a bit event like that and then once the symptoms begin to calm down you can space things out to once per week.
DON’T BE SCARED OF WESTERN MEDICINE
If you’re a more ‘herbal’ or ‘alternative’ sort, don’t knock good ol’ conventional medicine. Everything has its proper place, and in a major illness or crisis sort of situation, western medicine will have your back. If your doctor prescribes you medication, it’s best to take it properly and for the full course. And if you have any nasty side effects (ladies, I’m sure you understand some of the nastier and more….uncomfortable side effects of antibiotics) there are both conventional AND natural things you can do to get your body back in balance. You’ll notice that some of my pictures even include some over the counter medications. This was because some of my symptoms were still pretty bad, even a few weeks after leaving hospital. Sometimes a girl just needs a couple of painkillers, and if these medications are taken once in a while with the guidance of a qualified health professional then this is okay.
This is one of the biggest healers of all! When our body sleeps our body begins to rest and rebuild itself. You know what that means? Nap time is totally a good thing. If you feel tired, have a nap. If you feel still feel tired, have another nap. Honestly, I was having 2-3 good naps a day in the first week out of hospital. The fact that you’re that tired indicates that you’re body physically NEEDS rest to get better.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Now, this one might be the hardest one of all. It took three seperate people saying this to me before I really understood what it meant. Do you know what being kind to yourself means? It means not pushing. It means not rushing. It means listening intently to what your body needs, right here right now. It means not feeling bad/guilty/upset/angry that your body isn’t functioning the way it normally does. It will again soon, once you’re better. And that might not be for a few weeks. But you know what? The sooner you rest, the sooner that will happen. So go get napping!
P.S. These tips are also fantastic if you’ve had surgery recently, or you find yourself being run-down or ill more often than not.
P.P.S. I hope you feel better soon! Xxx
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PLEASE NOTE: In saying all of this, its super important to listen to your body. What does it want? What is it telling you? Is it saying that you need something in particular? It’s really important to gather information to make the choices that are right for you and your body. This information isn’t personal medical advice – rather it’s a guideline on ways that could help you to live a healthier, happier lifestyle. It is always wise to consult with a qualified health practitioner before starting any new herbs, supplements or dietary and lifestyle programs.