Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey on its own may be an effective cough suppressant, too, according to James M. Steckelberg, M.D.
In one study, children age 2 and older with upper respiratory tract infections were given up to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime. According to Steckelberg, the honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep. In fact, in the study, honey appeared as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient (dextromethorphan), in typical over-the-counter doses. Since honey is low-cost and widely available, it may be worth a try.
Remember, however, that due to the risk of infant botulism (a rare but serious form of food poisoning), never give honey to a child younger than age 1.
Brutal schedules and intense demands leave executives and middle managers exhausted, stressed out, anxious and sleep deprived. The result? Health problems, deteriorating relationships and weakened job performance.
When leaders are stressed, they usually don’t treat themselves or others well. Many busy executives self-medicate with coffee, colas and energy drinks by day and sleep aids at night. They also tend to overeat all the wrong foods—or not eat at all—and hitting the gym is dropped of the to-do list. There are two ways to get a handle on stress. Ideally, it’s best to cut down on external pressures that cause stress and overload. But meanwhile, here are six ways to improve your mental and physical response to stress.
1. Know your stress response. Pay attention to how your body reacts to stress. Do you feel your heart rate go up? Do you get hot, or clench your jaw? Recognize that your body is responding to stress and consider how it impacts others. Do you get overly emotional? Bury yourself in detail? Do you find yourself getting quieter, louder, meaner or more distant?
2. Exercise. You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Regular exercise is the best way to stay physically healthy, and it also offers psychological benefits to counteract stress. It offers a healthy distraction from stressful situations while inducing the relaxation your body needs to dissipate stress hormones.
3. Get serious about fitness. If you’ve neglected your health, don’t wait until you have “more time” or “less stress” to make a change. Studies of senior executives have shown that among them 79 percent of men and 62 percent of women have two or more risk factors such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure or too much body fat.
4. Build in stress breaks. More than 90 percent of leaders report that they manage stress by temporarily removing themselves—physically or mentally—from the source of stress. One way is by getting up from your desk and walking around, or getting out of the office for fresh air every 90 minutes or so. Or, if you can’t get away, take a minute to close your eyes, breathe deeply and do some shoulder shrugs.
5. Rethink work. Look for ways to organize and streamline your tasks. Planning, organizing and prioritizing are effective stress managers.
6. Learn from professional athletes. You can do more in less time by practicing the art of recovery. Professional athletes understand that pushing themselves at 100 percent capacity, 100 percent of the time results in little or no long-term performance gain. Athletes build time to recharge into their training routines.
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