How to get over a nasty cold

Dear Jess,

It seems to have been a bad winter for bugs, and now that you are also unwell I thought it might be time to share some of my failsafe tips for getting over flu or a cold quickly.

1. Sleep: This seems obvious, but if you're anything like me there will be a temptation to dabble in work, check emails, watch TV, read books... basically anything that might technically count as "rest" (I mean, it can all be done from bed right?) without actually necessarily being restful. NOTHING works as well as plain sleep to get you better - your body does its best repair work when you're snoozing, and just being in bed does not count. Bonus points if you meditate to help get to sleep - I use the Headspace app for daily meditation (though it's designed for mornings rather than going to sleep I still find it helps me nod off), and there are loads of other apps or online options.

2. Olverum bath oil: I swear by this (despite for some reason insisting on pronouncing it ol-i-ver-um. I have the same thing with mischievous - mis-chiev-i-ous. No idea where these random "i's" come from). Yes, the price tag will make you want to weep, but this stuff is snot-busting magic in a bottle. It also lasts for ages. Half a capful in a warm bath will help sooth aches and pains, relax you right down into your bones, and the intense pine scent (think essential oils rather than Toilet Duck) is the best decongestant I've found. (Disclaimer: this stuff is addictive, I have used it all winter in my baths just as a "precaution" against any colds or flu lurking in my house...)

3. Manuka honey: I was slow to jump on this bandwagon (unusually, since any new superfood I'm basically sold on at the first mention!) but it really does make a difference. Again, pricey but a little goes a long way. And it really helps if you're prone to throat infections or the sore-throat side of flu-y symptoms like I am. Many people mix with hot water and lemon - I'd advise not to, as hot water can deactivate its antibacterial qualities, use lukewarm instead. Antibacterial levels are measured in "UMF" levels - look for something over UMF 15+ for some serious bug-busting strength.

4. Wash, lots: The temptation when you are sick is to let standards slip a little... But seriously, don't. Wash your hands more frequently than ever, bathe at least once per day, and change your bedlinen every couple of days. This may be more superstition than science, but I swear wearing newly washed PJs, getting into fresh bedlinen, after a lovely bath (with Olverum of course) accelerates the healing process. Maybe you're getting rid of any opportunities for germs to fester; maybe you're just making yourself feel better psychologically by improving your environment. Who cares, so long as it helps!

Lovely readers, and more tips and tricks?

Get better soon,

Anna xx