Keeping our clients and selves healthy is our number one priority so implementing a few healthy practices into our daily routines is essential. Incorporating these into our lives regularly will help to prevent us from getting sick and to feel better when we feel a cold coming on. Let’s face it, colds may be easy to recover from, but wouldn’t you like to stop them before that itch at the back of your throat starts to tickle you? Here are 10 easy ways to prevent colds and feel healthy throughout the year – especially in the prime of cold and flu season!
1. Meditate and relax deeply
Stress weakens our immune systems and compromises its ability to fight off infections, so it’s extremely important to find your Zen during the cold season. Meditation helps to free your mind and relax your body, allowing you to handle stress more easily. A study performed at the University of Wisconsin found that mindfulness meditation training reduces the incidence, duration, and severity of a cold by 35 to 60 percent! Meditation is free – so nix the expensive OTC medicine and meditate instead.
The best way to meditate is to choose a peaceful environment. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes, and sit in position that allows you to feel supported and grounded. There are many different techniques for meditating. For example, you can close your eyes and either repeat a mantra or concentrate on a simple visual object. Different techniques may work better for you, so we recommend that you try different practices and see what works best! You can even do a quick Internet search or go to a local meditation class!
2. Be sure to get enough ZZZ’s
Even though it’s the most important factor in keeping our immune function strong, sleep is something that all of us tend to push to the bottom of our priority lists when we get busy. Hectic schedules lead to decreased sleep and increased amounts of caffeine in order to get everything done. Early symptoms of a cold are a likely indicator that you aren’t getting enough sleep regularly. A study within theArchives of Internal Medicine found that individuals who slept less than eight hours per night are three times more susceptible to colds than those who get adequate shut-eye. If you have trouble falling asleep, we recommend that you shut off all technology an hour before bedtime (yes, that means stop scrolling through your Instagram feed as you go to bed) and leave your phone in a different room on airplane mode. We also recommend using lavender essential oil on your temples and pillow to help you unwind and settle into a state of deep relaxation.
3. Increase your H2O intake
We all know that water is essential to survive, as it composes roughly 60% of our bodies, but it’s important to know that adequate hydration also helps prevent sickness. Hydration keeps passages moist, thins congestion, and aids in the riddance of bacteria. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water throughout the day! To incorporate flavor and avoid boredom, try infused or flavored water. We like to add essential oils like lemon, peppermint, and lavender to our water.
4. Take a hot bath
We all can agree that a hot bath (or shower) is one of the most relaxing parts of our day. Not only does it help our bodies to relax and de-stress, but the steam and humidity also help to loosen congestion and moisturize your nasal passages as well. Also, humid air is toxic to viruses, which is why humidifiers are so helpful in relieving those awful cold symptoms.
5. Grab a few extra pillows
Prop yourself up and keep your head slightly elevated throughout the night to improve the drainage of nasal passages. When you lie flat on your back, sinus and nasal blockages have the ability to settle in more heavily. Sore throats can also be avoided by elevating the head, as this prevents mucus from dripping back into the throat.
Not only is acupuncture a common method of pain relief, but it is also a natural way to boost your immune and lymphatic systems. Acupuncture allows pathogens to be expelled quickly and increases the production of natural killer cells, which are our body’s main defense against illnesses. Acupuncture works by supporting energy (chi) flow through the vital meridians in the body.
7. Break a sweat
Diaphoretic therapy, more commonly known as sweating, is an easy way to expel pathogens through the exterior of your body and reduce any chances of you getting a fever. Don’t overdo it if you are feeling weak. Listen to your body! If you’re not feeling the best, but are craving a sweat, simply do something light to like take a gentle yoga class or sit in a sauna.
8. Try an ancient healing tradition
Neti pots are nasal irrigation devices that help to combat stuffiness and congestion by clearing the nasal passages, removing excess mucus, and reducing pollen and allergens in the nostrils. It’s safe and user friendly. Give it a try and you may find yourself amazed at how clear your nasal passages are in the midst of allergy season while everyone else around you is sniffling and sneezing!
9. STOP – Sanitize!
Be sure to wash your hands regularly. Soap and water is best, but using essential oil based anti-fungal, anti-bacterial sanitizer is also a good option to use regularly. Just lathering with soap and hot water is an easy way to keep a cold at bay, yet so often overlooked-especially in New York City! If you are using anti-bacterial soap or sanitizer, be sure to check the label for ingredients. Stay clear of products that contain triclosan!
10. Gargle with salt water
“A saline solution can draw excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat, making them hurt less”, advised Dr. Philip T. Hagen, editor in chief of the “Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.” Incorporating salt water gargles into your morning and nightly routine before brushing your teeth can help release any tension in the throat and prevent a cold from starting or getting worse. We use organic sea salt instead of regular table salt because it does not have additives such as iodide or anti-caking agents.
11. (Bonus!) Let your body talk
Most importantly, listen to your body. Working out and staying active is one of our favorite ways to flush our lymphatic system and prevent getting sick, but we always listen to our bodies when they tell us to take a rest. We love salads and raw food, but we are huge advocates for having hearty meals when we need extra nourishment and warmth. We love staying up late to watch our favorite shows or going out on the town, but we know that our bodies function best when we get a solid night of sleep. Just listen to what your body is telling you and you will always know exactly what you need to feel great.
These tips can keep you feeling great, but there are plenty more! If you are conscious of the little things you can do throughout the day to prevent a cold, you can avoid the doctor’s office and the pharmacy, which your body and mind will thank you for. We all know that when you’re healthy, energized, and feeling your best, you can accomplish anything!
Sarah Anne Stewart + Fern Langham