For the past couple years, I’ve been super healthy! Didn’t catch a single cold or flu bug. And if I felt like I was coming down with something, I had a superpower foolproof protocol I followed every time that helped me knock it out before it ever became a full blown illness.
But this week, it got me. Bad!
I was hit with a horrible sinus/upper respiratory/feverish/terrible/no-good/felt-like-death something ‘er other and it took me DOWN for 4 straight days. 4 days! In bed! Too sick to do anything other than stare at the ceiling and think. It was baaaaaaaaad! But I had to merge into full surrender mode and just focus on recovering.
I’m on the mend now, hence the blogging! ;) But since we’re approaching cold and flu season, I wanted to share my superpower tricks for warding off illness when you feel it coming on.
First: you must be tuned in to your body. (I missed this clue myself over the past 2 weeks - lesson learned!)
But if you’re really tuned in, you can feel your body sending you little signals early on, like muscle soreness or fatigue, headaches, a tiny tickle in your throat, a sense of feeling foggy or off balance, a crabby mood, short fuse - there are a lot of little signs if you’re paying attention.
Your body will tell you when it’s not operating at 100%. If you ignore it and keep pushing, you might push yourself right over the tipping point. But if you catch these little signs early you’ll be likely to ward off the terrible no-good horrible bugs and germs that can TAKE. YOU. DOWN! Trust me!
Here are my 9 best superpower tips for warding off illness this cold and flu season...
1. Wash your hands. This is the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy. Get in the habit of washing your hands as soon as you get home and before you prepare food or eat food.
2. Go to bed earlier than normal. Going to bed earlier helps you get more delta wave sleep - the most restorative form of sleep.
3. Avoid sugar, alcohol and junk food in general. This is the time to flush your body with water and eat immune boosting natural whole foods like all citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, dark leafy greens, eggs, green tea, kefir (and some yogurts low in sugar), garlic, ginger, tumeric, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, legumes (beans and lentils), broth, bell peppers, avocados, salmon, nuts and seeds - particularly almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin and hemp seeds. These are a combination of the 16 superfoods and the best immune boosting foods! Load up on these and you’ll be feeling better fast. If you’re looking to make a soothing warm drink - fill a medium sauce pot with about 6-8 cups of water, chop up a big hunk of ginger with the peels on, juice a whole lemon or two and toss the lemon rinds in the pot and add in honey to taste. Bring to a boil, then turn off, strain or don't strain and pour in your favorite mug, sip and enjoy!
4. Salt water is your friend! Use a basic salt water nasal rinse each day to keep nasal passages clear. Gargle with warm salt water if your throat feels scratchy or sore. Or just gargling with plain warm water once a day is also shown to have good effects on keeping your throat healthy and clear. Soak in an epsom salt bath before bed to soothe sore muscles and help promote good rest.
5. Pump elderberry! You can now find elderberry products everywhere in gummy or liquid form. But beware of the gummies that are coated in sugar. Why do they do that? The plain elderberry gummies taste great on their own - who needs the extra sugar? When I start to feel like I’m getting something, I take the maximum dose of elderberry for a few days and it usually does the trick.
6. Skip the airborne and emergenc-C products. They have a lot of sketchy additives. Instead get your vitamin C from real citrus fruits and combine it with Vitamin D to get the maximum effect.
7. Decrease stress and change your mindset. When you think you’re getting sick, cut out everything unnecessary from your schedule. Reduce stress and flip your mindset to one of positivity, gratitude and abundance. Repeat the mantra “I am healthy and strong!” The mind can be highly influenced by suggestion. I’m telling you - can’t hurt, might help!
8. Change your toothbrush head or replace your toothbrush. When was the last time you did this? Can’t remember? Then it’s time!
9. And on the prevention end for staying healthy, make sure you’re getting enough exercise. This is one of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system. Don’t overexert yourself though if you’re feeling run down. Tune in to know if you should exercise or rest when you feel something coming on.
Sometimes, despite all our efforts, a bug gets ahold of us anyway. And when that happens, it’s best to surrender, pamper yourself, get tons of rest, push fluids and ride it out so you can #thrive again!
Megan Gunnell, LMSW Founder & Director of the Thriving Well Institute, psychotherapist, retreat leader, speaker, writer and entrepreneur. Loves to experience the world through food, culture, art, music and travel. Believes whole-heartedly that practicing gratitude, self-care and mindfulness are the foundation of thriving and living in joy.