Ain’t it crazy that, with all of the science that’s floating around here, no one has been able to find a cure for the common cold (yet)? And since reportedly, a whopping one billion of us catch one every year and since they also have the potential to annoyingly run between 7-10 days, each and every time the virus happens to catch hold of one of us, and since most of us don’t have the luxury to just take off work whenever a cold comes our way, I thought it would be cool to do y’all a solid and share some tips that can help to cut, shoot, at least a couple of days off of the longevity of your cold, so that you can get to feeling like your old self again in no time.
1. Pour Some Peroxide into Your Ears
I’ll tell you what — while it’s annoying as all get out, on the rare occasions when I do feel a cold coming on, if I’m able to catch the first signature symptom quickly enough (for me, it’s a sore throat), I’m usually able to nip it in the bud by pouring half a cupful of hydrogen peroxide into each ear and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes (wait for the bubbling to stop). Apparently, what it does is kill bacteria and virus cell walls, so that they aren’t able to continue to grow. The key here is to go with a three percent grade. Again, I can’t think of too many things that are more irritating (sensation-wise) yet if you can bear it, it’s worth it. Oftentimes, I won’t even get a full-on cold when I do it. Real talk.
2. Suck on Some Zinc Lozenges
As far as the common cold goes, most of them are caused by a virus known as the rhinovirus. It makes you sick because, when it gets a hold of your upper respiratory system (throat and nasal passages), it tends to multiply and lead to cold symptoms. The reason why zinc can be beneficial in shortening the lifespan of a cold is there is data to support that it is beneficial when it comes to keeping the rhinovirus from thriving; it also can stop it from “putting roots down” into your nose and throat.
Since zinc is also beneficial when it comes to strengthening your immune system and reducing oxidative stress, it is an absolute must that you keep some zinc lozenges close by.
3. Up Your Vitamin C and D
Because Vitamin C is a top-tier antioxidant and antioxidants help to keep your immune system nice and strong, this is why it’s a “signature nutrient” for getting over a cold. However, it should go on record that there’s no point in “overdoing it” when it comes to Vitamin C because it only stores what it needs (the rest, you end up urinating out). However, you can never go wrong with having some citrus fruit, orange juice, or even some broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or potatoes when you’re sick. They all can help you to feel much better.
Speaking of vitamins, make sure to get some Vitamin D in there too. Again, while there is currently not a cure for the common cold, there are studies to support that upping your Vitamin D intake can reduce the longevity of the infection by 10-15 percent. Foods high in Vitamin D include salmon, tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified cereals (watch the milk, though; that can “trigger” mucus production. A milk alternative is so much better).
4. Take Some Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are dope because they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. They are especially high in Vitamin C which you already know can boost immunity and fiber which can help to detox your system. Elderberry also has a good reputation for helping your system to increase its white blood cell count. The reason why Black elderberry syrup makes the list of smart cold-fighting recommendations is that there are studies to support that it literally reduces the severity and length of the flu (some experts say that it can result in the flu lasting for no longer than four days). So, the next time you go to your local health store, make sure to cop some.
5. Cop a Saline Spray
Something that a lot of people don’t realize is, when they have a stuffy nose, the mucus isn’t the problem. Actually, mucus is a sign that your body is working overtime to keep viruses and bacteria from overtaking your body. The reason why mucus is such a pain when you’ve got a cold is that 1) your nasal passages are usually inflamed and 2) your mucus is oftentimes thicker due to the virus that has infected your system. A saline nasal spray can help with all of this because it works to wash out your nasal passages which can also shorten your cold’s “shelf life.” Saline sprays are easy to find at the local grocery or drug stores. It’s always a good idea to have one in your medicine cabinet. Just in case.
6. Apply Eucalyptus, Cedarwood and Basil Essential Oils
I’m a huge fan of essential oils and when I have a cold, I’m really all about them. Eucalyptus contains antiviral and antimicrobial properties that aggressively attack cold-related symptoms. Cedarwood works as an antifungal, antiseptic, and astringent that can thin out mucus and help you to feel calmer and more relaxed (so that you can sleep easier). Basil is cool because it helps to soothe your respiratory system.
You can either mix these up with a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, sweet almond, avocado, or coconut and rub them on your chest or back, put them into a diffuser, or get a humidifier (which is also a huge win when it comes to fighting cold and the flu) that has a diffuser in it so that you can get the benefits of moisture and essential oils in the air as your work and/or rest. A list of some of the best humidifiers/diffusers is located here.
7. Digest Some Probiotics
Not too long ago, I wrote an article on here about the fact that 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut (you can read more about it here). Since there are both good and bad bacteria in there, it’s important that the good bacteria far outweighs the bad. One way to make that happen is to eat foods that are high in probiotics (like fermented ones like pickled veggies) or to take a probiotic supplement.
As far as a cold goes, probiotics not only help to keep you from getting a cold to begin with, they also are great at reducing your cold-related symptoms and shortening how long your cold lasts. That’s why I enjoy drinking kefir (which basically like a 2.0 version of liquid yogurt). Whatever you decide to do, just make sure to keep some probiotics in your system on a regular basis. You’ll be really glad you did; especially during cold and flu season (which is now).
8. Eat Honey
I’m really starting to wonder if there’s anything honey can’t do. When it comes to healing a cold, it’s great at soothing a sore throat, suppressing a cough, and reducing symptoms that are directly related to an upper respiratory infection. Honey is also bomb because, if you’re struggling with catching some zzz’s while you’re sick, believe it or not, honey can provide more energy to your brain so that you can remain in a REM state of sleep for a longer period of time. Now, how cool is that?
9. Make Some Bone Broth
At the end of the day, bone broth is a broth that is made from animal bones and connective tissue. Since animal bones contain nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that’s already a good reason to either purchase some or make a homemade batch from time to time.
When you have a cold, consuming bone broth is beneficial because the gelatin in it can make it easier for you to digest the foods that you are eating in order to get better. Plus, bone broth contains amino acids that fight inflammation (which is a part of the reason why you have a stuffy nose) and, since consuming lots of fluids is always a good idea when you’re sick, that’s another reason why it can be super helpful.
This brings me to my next point.
10. Drink Lots of Water
There are a few ways that drinking lots of water can make your cold shorter. It can help to thin out the mucus in your system. It can help to keep your mucous membranes well-lubricated. It can bring more oxygen to your blood. It can help to flush out the toxins that are bringing on your cold-related symptoms. If you’ve got a fever, it can help to lower it. And, because coughing can lead to dehydration, drinking water can prevent that from transpiring too. There’s no way around why you need to have some water on your nightstand. Make sure that you do.
12. Change Your Pillowcases Daily
I once read that when you sneeze, your germs can travel as much as 19-26 feet (what in the world?!). Now just imagine how much drama is happening with your bedding. Listen, it might be tedious to change your pillowcases on a daily basis while you’re sick yet the less that you’re rolling around in an abundance of germs, the greater your chances are of getting better quicker. So yeah, toss your pillowcases into your hamper every morning. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Yeah. I won’t even get into the fact that a lot of people end up catching colds because they are so sleep deprived that their immune system was super weak, to begin with (check out “Ready To Try 10 Quick & Easy Immune-Boosting Hacks?”). What I will say is I make sure that I don’t get less than 6-8 hours (and oftentimes a nap too) a night. Then, I up it a couple of hours the week before my period and right when I feel a cold coming on. It’s one of the best ways to get my system ready for the “battle” that is about to transpire. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.
A lot of medical professionals recommend adding an hour of sleep to your sleep routine when you’re under the weather (assuming that you’re getting at least six hours in, to begin with). All of these tips won’t work, nearly as well, without applying this final one. If you really wanna get over your cold, rest is essential. Lots of it. OK, sis? Excellent.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
How Content Creators Hey Fran Hey And Shameless Maya Embraced The Pivot
This article is in partnership with Meta Elevate.
If you’ve been on the internet at all within the past decade, chances are the names Hey Fran Hey and Shameless Maya (aka Maya Washington) have come across your screen. These content creators have touched every platform on the web, spreading joy to help women everywhere live their best lives. From Fran’s healing natural remedies to Maya’s words of wisdom, both of these content creators have built a loyal following by sharing honest, useful, and vulnerable content. But in search of a life that lends to more creativity, freedom, and space, these digital mavens have moved from their bustling big cities (New York City and Los Angeles respectively) to more remote locations, taking their popular digital brands with them.
Content Creators Hey Fran Hey and Maya Washington Talk "Embracing The Pivot"www.youtube.com
In partnership with Meta Elevate — an online learning platform that provides Black, Hispanic, and Latinx-owned businesses access to 1:1 mentoring, digital skills training, and community — xoNecole teamed up with Franscheska Medina and Maya Washington on IG live recently for a candid conversation about how they’ve embraced the pivot by changing their surroundings to ultimately bring out the best in themselves and their work. Fran, a New York City native, moved from the Big Apple to Portland, Oregon a year ago. Feeling overstimulated by the hustle and bustle of city life, Fran headed to the Pacific Northwest in search of a more easeful life.
Her cross-country move is the backdrop for her new campaign with Meta Elevate— a perfectly-timed commercial that shows how you can level up from wherever you land with the support of free resources like Meta Elevate. Similarly, Maya packed up her life in Los Angeles and moved to Sweden, where she now resides with her husband and adorable daughter. Maya’s life is much more rural and farm-like than it had been in California, but she is thriving in this peaceful new setting while finding her groove as a new mom.
While Maya is steadily building and growing her digital brand as a self-proclaimed “mom coming out of early retirement,” Fran is redefining her own professional grind. “It’s been a year since I moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon,” says Fran. “I think the season I’m in is figuring out how to stay successful while also slowing down.” A slower-paced life has unlocked so many creative possibilities and opportunities for these ladies, and our conversation with them is a well-needed reminder that your success is not tied to your location…especially with the internet at your fingertips. Tapping into a community like Meta Elevate can help Black, Hispanic, and Latinx entrepreneurs and content creators stay connected to like minds and educated on new digital skills and tools that can help scale their businesses.
During a beautiful moment in the conversation, Fran gives Maya her flowers for being an innovator in the digital space. Back when “influencing” was in its infancy and creators were just trying to find their way, Fran says Maya was way ahead of her time. “I give Maya credit for being one of the pioneers in the digital space,” Fran said. “Maya is a one-person machine, and I always tell her she really changed the game on what ads, campaigns, and videos, in general, should look like.”
When asked what advice she’d give content creators, Maya says the key is having faith even when you don’t see the results just yet. “It’s so easy to look at what is, despite you pouring your heart into this thing that may not be giving you the returns that you thought,” she says. “Still operate from a place of love and authenticity. Have faith and do the work. A lot of people are positive thinkers, but that’s the thinking part. You also have to put your faith into work and do the work.”
Fran ultimately encourages content creators and budding entrepreneurs to take full advantage of Meta Elevate’s vast offerings to educate themselves on how to build and grow their businesses online. “It took me ten years to get to the point where I’m making ads at this level,” she says. “I didn’t have those resources in 2010. I love the partnership with Meta Elevate because they’re providing these resources for free. I just think of the people that wouldn’t be able to afford that education and information otherwise. So to amplify a company like this just feels right.”
Watch the full conversation with the link above, and join the Meta Elevate community to connect with fellow businesses and creatives that are #OnTheRiseTogether.
Featured image courtesy of Shameless Maya and Hey Fran Hey
Can Cycle Syncing Help With Your Productivity?
Cycle syncing has been a popular topic in the Internet streets, and there’s this sense that, hey, maybe we can finally look at our menstrual cycle as something that enhances our experiences as women versus something to loathe. The whole period process gives us a superpower, really.
Well, with cycle synching, you’re able to ensure various aspects of your life are aligned with the phases of your menstrual cycle. (To learn more about the specifics of each of those phases, check out this article). Cycle syncing, by the way, is something that was reportedly first introduced by Alisa Vitti, an integrative nutritionist, and women’s hormone expert, in 2014. Vitti even trademarked a method associated with it, offering a specific “framework” that “matches food, workouts, and lifestyle with your cycle phases.”
Ekaterina Goncharova/Getty Images
As someone who struggled with fibroids for years (and finally had to have nine tumors removed before my menstrual cycle got back to any semblance of normal), I love the idea that cycle syncing, at least in theory, can debunk notions I’ve been taught as truths about how to navigate my period, in order to empower myself and lessen the stress in my life.
I figured let’s turn the tables a bit, especially when it comes to our professional lives, and consider how we can at least attempt to ensure optimal productivity by coordinating certain work-related projects and activities around our cycles. (And just remember, by cycle, I mean the full 21-35 days considered “normal” for a menstrual cycle, not just the 2-8 days many of us actually bleed.)
While we might not be able to totally replicate a trademarked framework for this (and would need to actually download an app or pay for access to specialized content or regimens), on the surface, let’s at least attempt to approach things from a cycle-syncing perspective based on the simple concept of it. Walk with me on this, sis.
For example, according to experts, the follicular phase, which starts on the first day of your menstrual cycle and lasts 13 to 14 days, is a time when “energy and mood are often higher.” Cramping and other annoying (and sometimes debilitating) cycle symptoms that we deal with during the menstrual phase are not typically present at this time. For me, this is the perfect phase to do many of the tasks I’d typically procrastinate doing or work on projects that I’m super-great at doing (and love tackling).
This is also a great time to come up with new ideas, processes, and projects, approach work from a big-picture perspective, and take on the heavy lifting of activities like strategizing the management of projects, delegating leadership for completing phases of projects, scheduling important meetings, or negotiating, well, anything (deals, promotions, salary increases or service rates).
In the luteal phase, however, it has been found that feelings of anxiety are heightened and that brain fog and issues with concentration hit hard during this time of the cycle. This phase is the final one, the time when ovaries release eggs (ovulation), and lasts about 10 days (but can go 14 depending on how long your cycle is).
For me, since I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life, during this time, it’s ideal to go heavy on the journaling during my lunch (or other work breaks), tread lightly on immediate responses to emails—especially those that involve a lot of moving parts, long threads, lack of comprehension on the part of the sendee, or things that probably should be talked about in a meeting.
It’s also best, for me, to tap into joy, wonder, and intellectual stimulation (i.e. reading a chapter of a good book, playing a word game, practicing mindfulness, or brain-dumping in my notebook for at least 5 minutes during my work day).
Sometimes, it’s even good to team up with that work friend, smart colleague, or another super-positive and professional co-worker to get some good energy and vibes from them that help keep me on my A game. I often find inspiration and motivation from the people I work with, and I’m reminded, through their talents, emotional intelligence, and leadership of my own strengths and purpose in doing my job.
Through trial and error, I’ve learned that it’s best to see the challenges associated with this phase as an opportunity to go on the self-care offense versus just giving in to the feelings and moods. (Once, when I was in this phase, I abruptly sent a rudely worded response to someone’s email and found out later that I was loud and wrong. I had to apologize and really could’ve avoided the work-related snafu had I just considered my menstrual phases and taken the aforementioned approach.)
As with anything, offering myself grace is key, especially when it comes to work, so, if I’m just not feeling well, need to take a day off, or simply need to flow with, well, my flow, I will. We all know (and science has proven) that there are several factors that affect our menstrual cycles, and to be totally honest with you, sometimes I’ve felt my most enlightened, creatively open, and energized during the menstrual phase, free-bleeding, cramps, feisty attitude, and all.
Science is science but not every month’s cycle experience is the same. And life be lifin’ sometimes. So add that.
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