Getting Sick? 3 Ways To Know, and 3 Ways to Fix It

One moment or another, all of us get sick. How you deal with it, depends on where you are from, how you were raised, and what medical knowledge is available in your environment. Sometimes it is useful to consult a healthcare professional. However, in most cases you can easily figure out what is going on by yourself.

This does not mean you will be able to diagnose yourself, but it will enable you to make better decisions. A diagnose is the nature of your illness identified through the symptoms you suffer from, and it is actually not necessary for a successful treatment. As things go, the symptoms are not the reason you are getting sick or injured, that is usually something else.

Underneath you will find three tips to consider when you feel off, and three ways to deal with it. Hopefully this will support you to make better decisions in painful and uncomfortable situations.

1. Elevated Heart Rate

A lot of people nowadays use heart rate monitors to track their fitness. This way you can get a better idea with which intensity you should train and how quickly your heart recovers. But not only can you use it to track your fitness, you can also track your rest. This way you will get a better idea when you are getting sick or when you are over-training.

Monitoring resting heart rate

Before you are getting sick your resting heart rate might be off already. You can measure this right after you wake up in the morning. If you are wearing any form of heart rate monitor, you can check the designated screen, otherwise you have to do a timed count (count your heartbeat for 15 seconds and multiply this number by 4). This method is less reliable though. After a week or two you will have a solid idea of what your resting heart rate is.

Then, when you notice that your heartbeat is around 5 beats less or more than normal, you know something is going on.

2. Weird Gut Feeling

Feeling full in moments you didn’t eat a lot, you can’t really say whether you are full, or when you have an out of the ordinary appetite might indicate there is something going on under the hood. The gut does not have the capacity to tell you what is going on in words, but it can communicate with feelings.

Around 80% of our immune system is situated in the gut. When you get these uncommon sensations might indicate you need to take it easy for a day or two. Your immune system might be busy fighting off some bacteria. Important to consider is that stress has a significant impact on gut function as well.

3. Consider the Past

A little while ago I arrived at the home of a client of mine. He told me that since two days his shoulder had started to hurt a lot. There were some plates and screws in there to help heal a recent fracture. He believed these were now the cause of his problems even though the 5 months before they weren’t. I found this weird and started to ask what he did yesterday; nothing. The day before; nothing. Really, you didn’t do anything out of the ordinary? Aaah yes, he had helped a family member in the garden.

How easy we forget what we did yesterday or the day before. Blinded by our pain and discomfort we start assuming and diminish important parts of information. However, your feeling sick or pain is always a consequence of what went on before.

Before might be yesterday, it might also be half a year ago when you took antibiotics, and it might mean that car accident you had as a child. It doesn’t matter if it is physical or mental, both can have an equal impact on how you feel today. Therefore, the stress from the previous weeks is just as relevant as a childhood trauma, and your strenuous work-out yesterday just as relevant as the moment you fell off your bike 2 years ago.

Here are three tips to help you deal with the above.

1. Rest

This tip couldn’t be more cliche, still it is often overlooked in any health issue. If you sleep too little your immune system weakens, your concentration is reduced, and the body has a diminished capacity to deal with stress. However, when you sleep between 7.5 and 8.5 hours the chances that small issues will become big ones decreases. Your body will have sufficient time to repair daily damage and recover from hard work. If you maintain a regular sleep rhythm (go to bed the same time, and get up at the same time) your body will quickly go in to god-mode. If your body would be a personality by itself, it would be that person that never wants to do something new, and always does things at the same time. It loves rhythm.

2. Kill-the-Cold-Cocktail

Ginger tea with lemon. Add chili flakes, honey, cinnamon and curcumin and you are ready to take down any cold

The first response of the immune system to damage of whatever sort, be it a virus, a bacteria, or a fall on your knee, is inflammation. The amount of anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed feeds the assumption that inflammation is bad. It is not, without it there would be no healing possible.

However, it might be useful to support your body kill that common cold or bacteria that is undermining your gut. A well set cup of tea might be a good way to go.

Throw two liters of water with a thumb of ginger, some chili flakes, and cinnamon (stick) in a pan and make tea out of it. Add some honey, lime or lemon, and curcumin when you fill your cup, and you have your natural inflammation killer.


3. Respond To The Why

To respond to what makes you sick means dealing with the symptoms. Oftentimes this means taking a pill or two. However, when you respond to the why, your way of dealing with disease or injury will be entirely different.

What makes you sick is a headache, but why you have a headache, is because you drank too little. What injured you, might be a soccer opponent, but why you are injured might be because your core musculature is weak.

If you manage to consider your past, as I mentioned before, you can figure out why you are sick. As a consequence you will understand your problem better, which allows you to make the right decision with more confidence.

Usual why’s to consider in any problem are; reduced water intake, lack of fresh air, too little sleep, bad nutrition, lack of, or too much movement, and distress. If you manage to keep these five parts of your life in check you will steer clear of plenty issues.

How Less, Is More Freedom of Choice

In a recent blog, I wrote about how I noticed that when I do less, more seems to happen. In reality however, there is not really happening anything more. It is just that I have the head space to notice what is actually going on. On a similar note, the result of minor changes that I made to my daily routine recently, showed me, how reducing my freedom of choice, actually gave me more freedom to choose.

Unlimited possibilities

I decided that I would not use my phone until midday. As a consequence, my working efficiency went through the roof. After though, I realized that it was not necessarily the phone itself that made it harder to concentrate, but rather the choices it demanded me to make.

Without fully recognizing what was going on, I had to make 20 decisions within a minute. To respond, or not to respond. Like this photo, or not. Watch the next video, yes or no. Ultimately, my mind was tired before anything constructive had taken place.

Over the previous 12.000 years our society has changed immensely. At the time, it began with Agricultural Revolution, that changed our everyday life from gathering and hunting, to making crop grow on the field.

Then, roughly 200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution provoked another major change. Factories allowed for mass production, therefore creating space for other people to specialize in fields that not directly provided food and shelter.

Finally, roughly 50 years ago with the Digital Revolution, the first computers made it’s appearance. From then until now, these computers went from hardly producing a word, the size of a bedroom, to computers that allow you to access every bit of information on the planet, the size of a chest pocket.

The world around us has at least changed a thousandfold, nevertheless, it seems that our brains are still the same as before all these developments. Some sources even argue that our brains have shrank the previous 10.000 years. The amount of decisions we had to make before however, were significantly less than now.

Scholars once proclaimed that the agricultural revolution was a great leap forward for humanity. They told a tale of progress fuelled by human brain power. Evolution gradually produced ever more intelligent people. Eventually, people were so smart that they were able to decipher nature’s secrets, enabling them to tame sheep and cultivate wheat. As soon as this happened, they cheerfully abandoned the gruelling, dangerous, and often spartan life of hunter-gatherers, settling down to enjoy the pleasant, satiated life of farmers. That tale is a fantasy. There is no evidence that people became more intelligent with time.

Harari, Yuval Noah

Our brain, weighs about 2% of our total body mass, but it consumes up to 20% of the body’s energy production. Therefore, the increased amount of decisions that are demanded to us nowadays put even more strain on our energy supplies.

All these possibilities create an illusion of freedom. What is really happening however, is that they trap the mind in a circle of consecutive decision taking processes. That make us prone to worrying about the past, and overthinking the future. Even though, the only thing we can actually influence, is now.

I realized that when I put away my phone, do not open my e-mail, or make a planning, I am far from limiting myself. The thing with restriction is, that it is subject to the values and ideas of myself and my environment. What for the one is restriction, is liberating to the other. In the west we value our “freedom” so highly, that everything that seems to reduce it, is diminishing our quality of life.

When you take a better look though, we have not only become slaves to the luxuries and the comfort we enjoy, even more so, we have become slaves to our sense of freedom. How free are you really then?

I believe freedom is not the accumulation of the amount of choices I have, rather it is the presence that I have when taking decisions.

The moment I reduce all the blur, my mind has energy to do what it is good at. The fact that I limit my physical actions, does not mean that everything that is not physical is limited as a consequence. Therefore, when I reduce the amount I use my phone, the amounts of time I turn on the TV, and the food choices I have to make, I actually create a better environment for my mind to thrive in.