Sick? The Affordable Natural Remedies I Follow

When I arrived home from my last trip, many of my friends and coworkers were sick and after a couple days I became ill as well. I thought I would share how I get well soon. I have found a wellness routine that seems to help me get back to 100% a lot faster than I use to.

This is another area where I learned the hard way. I came down with something during my first semester in graduate school and just bought a bunch of junk with claims on the packaging to make me feel better. However, it was always a temporary fix. I was sick for nearly 3 months! I am sure the stress and overwhelming emotions I was experiencing did not help, but I was sick for WAY TO LONG!

I finally went to the doctor who gave me simple at home remedies to follow. She told me to stop all cough drops, pills, syrups, etc. because they only mask the symptoms and prevent your body from doing what it needs to do to get well. I was back to normal within a week after focusing on what my body really needed. Here are the things my doctor suggested and are now the ONLY things I follow. I typically get better in a matter of days after starting this routine.

Breathe warm humid air

I will use a vaporizer or humidifier while I sleep and steam up the bathroom while I shower. This helps loosen up congestion and mucus so I can breathe easier. On top of this, if it is cold and dry out, stay indoors as much as possible or breathe through a good scarf. The cold, dry air is not beneficial for your sinuses and throat.

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Sinus irrigation

I tend to get sinus infections. Sinus rinsing helps prevent those! It might seem odd to some people, but it works. I like to use the pressure method (a squeeze bottle) over the gravity method (the pot). If I do not have my bottle with me I will purchase nasal saline solution to help irrigate my sinuses.

Warm soothing beverages and plenty of fluids

I focus on soothing my throat rather than preventing my cough since the cough is what helps get rid of mucus. To do this I drink warm, clear, decaffeinated fluids and a lot of it! This is when I really track how much I am drinking. I like to get in more than the recommended 8 cups of water per day in the first place, but I try to at least get in half my body weight in lbs in ounces of clear, decaffeinated fluids per day. Since I weigh 134lbs, that means I try to at least consume 67 oz of water per day. When I am feeling sick I love to drink:

  • Herbal tea (Throat Coat – Traditional Medicinals is my favorite)
  • Hot water with 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp pure honey
  • Broth

Why do I focus on warm, clear, decaffeinated fluids while I am sick? Caffeine is a diuretic so it can dehydrate you, creamy fluids have been associated with making mucus worse and warm liquids sooth an irritated throat.

Vitamin rich eating

I try to make the most vitamin rich meals possible while I am sick and recovering from being sick. One way I able to do that even though I tend to loose my appetite while sick is vegetable soups. Whether they are blended or chunky soups, they feel so good on my throat and have so many nutrients to help me get well. I try to include foods with zinc (spinach, flax seeds, garlic, legumes, nuts, etc.), vitamin c (citrus fruits, kale, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc.) and b vitamins (nuts, kale, eggs, lentils, potatoes, etc.).

Why not just take a bunch of vitamins? As I get older I am trying to supplement less, especially since supplements are so EXPENSIVE! Why waste my money on something I can get from good nutrition.

Plenty of rest

I have said this before, rest is so important for recovery! I will try to get to bed at least an hour early and if I stay home from work I will take a 20 minute nap when possible. The extra rest not only helps me get well soon, but function better while I am sick. In addition, I lighten up my workouts, especially my cardio, to provide my body with extra energy towards getting well.

Zinc lozenges + Vitamin fizzing drink + Herbal throat drops

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These are really the only items I might purchase to aid in getting well or prevent getting sick. The zinc lozenges and vitamin effervescent drink provide me extra vitamins and minerals in case I am not eating or absorbing enough. These are particularly helpful if you can not get in nutrient dense foods. I only take 1 zinc lozenge and vitamin drink mixer per day. I have been told by my doctor that too much of a vitamin can be bad for you. Then I like to take herbal throat drops because sometimes I just cannot drink anymore liquids and need something to sooth my throat. This way I can still cough to get rid of the mucus, but my throat can have some relief.

Rest Day

I love being active, but I know that rest is essential within my lifestyle. With all the technology around and activities I do, it can overwhelm my body and mind when I go non-stop. It is important to mentally and physically rest to prevent that burnt out feeling. Although, I will admit, I do not practice this as often as I should. I can be very go-go-go! So I am partially writing this as a remind to myself just how imperative it is for me to incorporate in my schedule regularly.

Mental Breaks

It seems as though I live on my phone or computer between work and trying to stay connected with my friends and family back home. It can be quite draining to stare at a screen all day, not to mention it negatively impacts your sleep. I really appreciate the time without all the technology, where I am truly disconnected. It is rare when it happens, but so needed.

Nature and music really bring me peace. Although there may be so many moments where I want to share what I am are experiencing, the tech can distract from my leisure time. Like when Snapchat or Instagram run into an error or I do not have signal to send my videos or pictures. Plus, the beauty of that place or moment never seems to be completely encompassed by my social media posts.

While I was in Austin last month, I actually did not use my phone or computer much. I tried to enjoy my surroundings and the time I had with my partner. I scheduled time to be on my computer for working on the blog or writing emails, but the hotel did not have free wifi so I hardly used my laptop. Initially it was frustrating, but then so freeing. On my next vacation I may not even bring my laptop with me. I felt I could enjoy more and do just whatever I like. Usually, that feeling only happens when I go camping where the disconnection is forced.

Another mental regimen I do is meditation. I still feel like a beginner at this, but I just get into a comfortable position (either laying down without a pillow or seated on the floor with my legs crossed) and focus on how I am mentally. I may think through the things I struggle to letting go of or concentrate on what I am most grateful for. Centering my thoughts around what I am thankful for really puts my mind at ease and comforts me. This also resets my way of thinking when I feel like I am in a rut.

Physical Rehabilitation

Physically resting is necessary to prevent injury and help you recover from workouts. When we run, strength train, bike, etc., we are breaking down our muscles. Over using your muscles and joints does not allow the break down that occurs a chance to heal and become stronger. This is why nutrition and rest are your muscles best friends. They are key for rebuilding your muscles after a fierce workout .

So earlier this year I did BBG for almost 6 straight months, I also continued to run since Winter 2015-2016 was calm. I had heard that you should take some time off from your workout routine every 3 months or so, but I just kept going right on from BBG 1.0 to BBG 2.0. Big mistake! By week 18, I began to feel run down and things just got worse from there.

Then I came down with the flu for the first time in my life and it hit me hard. I developed chest congestion which kept me from running for a whole month. I knew you could develop pneumonia from running with chest congestion so I played it smart. There were so many perfect running days I felt I missed out on. When it seemed like I was finally in the clear to run, I pulled my left lat muscle during my last week of BBG 2.0.

Lesson learned the hard way. Your body needs that break or it will tell you it needs it through an injury or illness. A day or, even better, a week off, you will not regret! It will make getting back into your fitness routine exciting and satisfying. Now, I take a week off of strength training and cardio every 3 months. I am still active, I walk places and I do some yoga, but it is focused on gentle relaxation. I also eat really healthy during that week to give my muscles the nutrients they deserve.

How do you take breaks? And do you have a way you prioritize them?