I realize that part of being on planet Earth is interacting with all of the other organisms. But there are some that sure slow you down when you come in contact with them! Here are a few ways to fight back.
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For me, it usually starts with a tickle in my throat. And then the aching body. When I feel these symptoms, it’s time to step up my game and throw all the weapons in my arsenal against that army of viruses that are trying to beat me down. Sound familiar?
Quite honestly, these are things that I do all winter long (or even all year long… viruses don’t show up only in the winter.) Trial and error have taught me that I have the best chance of winning if I do these 9 things:
- Drink Plenty of Water. It always seems to be the first answer, right? And for good reason. Our bodies need clean water to do their jobs. Even more so when we are indoors with dry air. Staying hydrated is critical and our bodies need even more fluid to help fight off viruses. And if I do feel something coming on (or it’s hit me full blast) I’ll turn to my favorite remedy: hot water with honey and lemon.
- Eat Nutritious Food. Another obvious answer, but one that seems to be harder to do in the middle of the sugar-laden holiday treats. As they say, “eat the rainbow” and get lots of colorful fruits and veggies into your meals every day. All those good vitamins and minerals are the ammunition your body needs! Especially vitamin C (oranges, broccoli, kiwi, kale) and zinc (pumpkin seeds, cashews, cheese). When I’m in the middle of fighting something off, my go-to food is chicken and veggie soup.
- Get Enough Sleep. The third member of the obvious answer club. Cut your body some slack! Give it time to rest and repair. Eight hours of sleep a night is my sweet spot. But I’ll also just take a slower pace when my body is fighting an illness. Not an easy thing to do for a go-getting mama. But if I don’t rest, I’m more susceptible to germs and if I do catch something and I try to push through it usually takes longer to get better.
- Wash! I try not to be a germaphobe. I really do. But one place I do not back down is with hand washing. Whenever my family and I come back home, the first thing I require is that everyone wash their hands. And not a wimpy little run under the faucet either. It’s less about the amount of soap (though a good clean soap does help.) It’s more about really rubbing the whole surface of your hands and letting those icky germs wash away. Don’t forget under the fingernails. And while keeping the most used surfaces of your house clean will definitely help, there is one place it will really make a difference to clean… your cell phone. Did you think about that? Actually, don’t think about it too much or it will totally gross you out. Just get a good microfiber cloth and wipe it down regularly.
- Clean the Air. Most of the year I like to open the windows and let the air and light in the house. But in winter I prefer not to freeze! Three ways I help keep indoor air clean in the winter are: changing the duct system filter, using an air purifier, and using essential oil diffusers. If you don’t know where your air filter is, now is the time to find it!
Our heating system air filter is in this vent door.
The filters should be changed out often when you are running your heating system.We also use this air purifier. It helps clean out dust, germs and other particles that can affect you negatively. This is a life saver every time we’re in the middle of wildfires.
And I lovethis diffuser. The best blend to use in the winter is often called “Thieves” because of the tale that French thieves survived the plague by using these as they scavenged. Not a pretty picture, but a great blend! It includes clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and orange or lemon. Yum.
- Keep Moving. This sounds counter-intuitive to #3 where I just told you to rest, but hear me out. If you’re not completely knocked out from fighting a virus, it’s still important to move your body every day. I’m the worst at doing this in the winter! I just want to stay indoors, wrapped in a blanket, not moving! But I try to remind myself that when I move, I actually warm up! And the movement helps my body stay healthy. I know it’s even really good to bundle up and go outside in the winter! Fresh air, light, movement. I’m going to try to be better at it this year. Because I’ve been really lousy about it in the past!
- Keep Stress Low. Did you just laugh? I know, I did too. With more happening this month from celebrating the holidays and well, living with small children, this is one I definitely have to work on. Of course, laughing about it is one way to de-stress! Other ways are keeping celebrations to a minimum, taking time to breathe, using techniques like journaling or mind sweeping, and saying “YES” when your friend offers to take your boys for the afternoon. That last one was for me. Ahem. Whatever it is that helps you lower your stress, be sure there is time for that before all the other things.
- Use a Nasal Rinse. I’ve been doing this for well over 10 years now and I am a true believer. I use this nasal rinse and it has been a life saver.
Not only does it help keep my nasal passages moist during this time of dry air, it helps keep those pesky little germs out! Before using this, I was the queen of sinus infections. No longer!
- Take a Detox Bath. I’m not gonna lie. This is my favorite. This is my escape into bliss once a week. I draw a hot bath, add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt, and add a few drops of essential oils. Often it’s the “thieves” blend I mentioned, or if my head is stuffy, I love a combo of peppermint and eucalyptus. I drink lots of water before I get in and lots more water once I get out. It feels so good! And does my body good too.
It’s a pretty decent arsenal, isn’t it? A good list of things to do to keep germs at bay, and ways to fight them off if they manage to get a foot-hold. (Not that they have feet, those pesky one-celled organisms!)
What do you do to stay healthy during the winter?