Under the weather? Some updated tips and tricks!
(First posted in 2012)
Feeling ruff? Hoarse? Or just a bit under the weather? What a rot!
For those of you going through a grotty period of lurgy, I thought I would collate and share some tips I use regularly, plus bonus treats. I also put a call out on social media asking folks for their tricks and the response was overwhelmingly lovely, so I've added them in below.
***Important to mention that i’m writing about stuff related to having a common cold that we have found helpful and that we hope might be useful for you to research and explore. I’m not a doctor. So if your symptoms persist, or you feel it’s something more, go check it out babes, feel better soon.
I’ll be adding to this post over time, so if you have any useful tips or remedies that you recommend, please plonk them below so we can share the healing love!
Here we go:
(cannot emphasise this enough babes). Forfeited meeting loved ones and all kinds of exciting things so I could really kick the bug. As annoying as it is to miss fun things, and as hard as it is for some of us to do, taking time to heal has sped up the process of being well again. Nap well, snooze it up, and (try to) enjoy sleepytimes!
2. AVOID STRESS!
Eliminating stress where possible is really helpful (for life!) When we’re stressed, more cortisol is released into the body, and it essentially stomps all over our immune system - gee, thanks!
Most of us are aware it’s not great to be uneccessarily stressed for long periods of time eh? But it’s important to remind ourselves of the many effects it has on the body, so we might become quicker at identifying the culprits and hopefully become drama free.
3. Try FLUIDS and SUPPLEMENTS and VITAMINS and MINERALS
There are so many schools of thought here as there are so many which work in different ways for different people. So as always, take it with a pinch of salt and as always, do you.
I take warm water and lemon every morning when i wake up. I double the dose of lemon when i feel a little run down. If you don´t fancy the pursed lip shudder of citrus first thing, you could try adding lemon to green tea for some c-vitamin boosting qualities. Check out some of my rituals in more details in podcast episodes:
Dose up on of echinacea drops at the first sign of getting a cold- we get a tincture from Neal´s Yard which is good value, but you can get it from most health shops.
Vitamin b mix (particularly b12) has been useful when i needed to travel to work in Norway. always worth consulting with a doctor/holistic therapist/nutritionist to see where you might be able to benefit from suppliments.
Magnesium galore for the aches and pains! My favourite way to absorb it is with an epsom salt bath soak for at least 20 minutes. Add a few drops of chosen essential oil – i enjoy a mix, if it´s before bed, frankincense and lavender with a dash of bergamot, but when i´m sick, i´ll use tea tree or eucalyptus oils. Here’s some stuff you can add to your bath!
Vitamin c, plus small doses of zinc during a cold is said to work really well for many people.
I increase the amount of garlic, ginger, turmeric and any anti inflammatory and antioxidant in foods/juice/smoothies.
I find avoiding dairy when I have a cold works well for me (less of a mucus party) but it´s a personal thing!
Warm fluids galore!
(who would have thought it possible to drink even more tea than I already do?!…I can affirm it’s possible!)
4. RITUAL and MOVEMENT
Gargling! salt water is a good ‘un – and cheap! Particularly useful for razor blade throat in the middle of the night. Useful all year round tbh. Oh and i did try Himalayan salt gargles for a while, personal preference is sea salt but worth an experiment!
Neti pots are something i’ve been considering for some time (anyone out there using one? i can’t decide!) and then i tried this saline solution (bought from a high street chemist) which i use twice a day. Once i added this to my regimen along with gargling salt water and pressing sinus pressure points (see below), the cold soon hopped it! (for both of us!)
No neti pot or saline spray? Here’s some suggestions:
Using a number of sinus pressure points was something i’d not tried whilst being sick before, and it really really helped relieve the stuffed up and headachey pressure in my face. I’ve been sharing in recent yoga classes too as feel it’s useful around this time of year to access such a simple technique and help yourself feel better. Here’s some more on that if you’re not familiar.
Any kind of steam or humidity is good for your respiratory system if you’re a bit bunged up. Gets things moving, know what i mean? Hop in the shower or put your head over a bowl of hot water (with a towel) and clear things out!
In terms of "physical exercises" probably best to lay off it eh? Some gentle movement can be really useful though, especially after too many hours horizontal.
I tend to lay well off my physical yoga practice and rest as much as possible. today as i was feeling a bit better i took kundalini style breath of fire through my left nostril which really, um, cleared things out, if you know what I mean(!) -side note- blow, don’t swallow! Also have a prop party, gentle folds over cushions or duvets can feel so so good. Try postures that allow you to open up around your chest, shoulders and also groin! Word of warning on the forward fold tip: if you’re really "sinussy" (is that a verb?) folding forward can go one of two ways. If you feel pressure in a way that isn’t good, best to lay off. Here’s a really gentle practice if you feel up to it - lots of laying over things so if you find that it’s aggravating your sinuses, best to avoid.
Breathwork! Depending on how "clogged up" you feel, breathwork can be really helpful or really uncomfortable. If it´s the latter then avoid obvs, but if you feel you have a bit of a clear airway, try this: (note: different to the "skull shining" breath as you inhale AND exhale) x
Watching animal videos on YouTube particularly lil bub plus dogs who can’t catch and of course (thank you for sending it to me Matthew) Marnie the Dog
Watching other stuff! time to indulge my friend. Recent faves have been:
The web series High Maintenance – omg. double cringe.
Copious amounts of old moody french movies (and some more recent ones too – Rust & Bone particularly worthy of a mention)
Inspiring documentaries. In this time, i tend to feel low at not feeling my best, so i watch stories about others lives that give me hope!
Possibly the entire catalogue of Gossip Girl. On netflix. Sorry not sorry. x
A Different World. Beacon of my teenage years. The entire catalogue is also available via Netflix *N.B. not sponsored by them. Wait - they removed it 😔
Thank you all so much again, here’s some of the suggestions we had.
Lots and lots of advice about the honey-ginger-lemon drink combo - wanted to have a mini list within as there are some variations:
Dear Shirley suggested making a little "bomb" of a mixture --- wild cherry too for bad coughs! She also suggests the echinacia tincture.
Calixte Chops is also into the warm water and lemon, and has it every morning when he wakes up!
Charlotte Faure - an amazing cook, naturopathic nutritionist and coeliac who shares mouthwatering recipes on her instagram shared, "It’s all about the anti-inflammatories- ginger, turmeric, garlic. I grate all of those (teaspoon of turmeric and ginger and half of garlic) into hot water with juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of raw honey. Knock it back! Best cure ever. Or a teaspoon of Manuka honey (25+) (non diluted) but that’s if it’s dire as 💰💰💰"
Vanessa suggests "Ginger, turmeric, lemon, honey, and cinnamon tea to detox the liver and whole digestive system"
Aida shares both her and her Grandmother's wisdom: "My grandmother's remedy is rock candy in hot water, for warmth and sweetness. I also like to burn sage and watch it catch and lift up all the unnecessary that's hovering in the air. New personal favourite: moving the furniture around, to keep my space moving and growing with me!"
Moomin chips in: "Lots of rest, snuggles, sleep, warmth, relaxation, hugs, ginger and lemon drink."
What helped Sabrina was "1 whole organic lemon, thinly sliced and layered in a jar with ginger and raw organic honey. Formed a jelly/syrup for hot water and made me feel a lot better until it ran its course!"
Excellent advice from Sunneva: "make a steam bath (in the sink for instance) with really hot water and oil (lavender, lemon, peppermint..) and place a towl between your face and the water and breath deeply for 5-10 min. Very cleansing. Also cleanse the nose with salty water."
Marion is on the booze: "honey, lemon with a shot of whisky, brandy or anything else alcoholic. mead if you can lay your hands on any! My Grandpops Booth's remedy, he was a beekeeper! Last time I found some mead was in Poland. But there are some beekeepers here and rumours they will make mead;-)"
That’s all for now, if you have any tips and tricks, please feel welcome to share them below!
Love and healthy vibes