It’s October, and the crunch of fall leaves is met with a cacophony of sneezing and coughing. You swore you wouldn’t get sick, but after both your roommates contracted the same horrible illness, your days were numbered. A tickle in the back of your throat becomes a nightmare consisting of (a) clogged sinuses, (b) disgusting, phlegmmy coughing through the night, (c) mountains of Kleenex piling up next to your bed, (d) a general feeling of death, or (e) all of the above. But your Mom is like, way too far away, plus you don’t want to bother her. Here are our best tips for fixing yourself, like the strong independent woman you are.
1. Make some healthy chicken noodle soup now, then freeze it. The last thing you want to do when you’re sick is make food but you need to eat something. Rather than stock up on canned goods, prepare a big batch of your favorite homemade soup and freeze it. Your sick self will thank you later.
2. Try some homeopathic remedies. Fill a bowl full of hot water and and drop some eucalyptus and rosemary oil in it. Put a towel over your head and breathe in, it will help clear your sinuses and your breathing. You can also put some on a hot wet cloth and put it on your face to help ease sinus pressure and headaches.
3. Actually get some rest. It’s so hard to “turn off” these days between work, your social life, and various other obligations. But when you are sick, your body needs to heal, and that means you should put on some PJs and start binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. If you fall asleep, you can always replay what you missed later, while you are still resting.
4. Up your liquids intake! Make sure to drink plenty of water and juice. Green Tea is also a good choice.
5. Sore throat? Try an old (alcoholic) remedy. In a big mug add a big dollop of honey, squeeze a big slice of lemon in, and add a hefty dash of whiskey. Then add a tea bag and pour in boiling water. Let it steep and then you’ve got an amazing throat coating (and delicious) drink.
6. Get a neti pot. They take some getting used to, but they do a really good job flushing your sinuses—especially when you use a saline solution.
7. TEA TEA TEA. Earl Grey with a spoonful of honey works wonders for sore throats and stuffy noses. Also, keep Celestial Seasonings “Sleepytime Throat Tamer” or Yogi tea “Throat Comfort” tea on hand during typical cold and flu seasons. The warmth of hot tea soothes your throat and the blend contains licorice root and elm bark, which coat your throat and help temporarily soothe pain. Drinking fluids is the best way to combat colds so you might as well indulge in a hot cup of of tea while you battle against congestion.
8. Don’t underestimate the power of a hot shower. The steam can help clear sinuses, and it may be just the thing you need to help relax and get some rest. If you prefer baths, try a bath soak! Add a cup or two of epsom salts and a few drops of an essential oil such as eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender to a warm bath. Pick one or combine them all to help you unwind. Or a bath!
9. Eat a clove of garlic with some olive oil or brew some “garlic tea” (one clove of garlic to one cup of hot water). Garlic is super anti-bacterial (and delicious) and will help kill infections.
10. If you’re not getting better, go see a doctor. You could have an infection that you won’t be able to cure by yourself. Something like strep can cause serious health complications if left untreated. It’s important to recognize when your self-care needs a little bit of professional help.
11.Take targeted medications rather than all-in-one miracle brews. If you’ve only got a sore throat and headache, you don’t need to be taking medicine that also includes cures for 10 other symptoms. Save the strong medicine for when you really need it, and take care of your body by being in touch with what’s really going on!
12. Avoid sugar and dairy if you’re stuffed up. It might be tempting to snack on junk food, but your body really needs a boost from healthier options, and dairy will only make your congestion feel worse.
13. Emergen-C. Maybe it’s psychological, but the immediate dosage of 1000 mg of vitamins offers a much-needed boost to your immune system. Mix with orange juice or water!
14. Stomach feeling funky? Ginger is good for that. Try it in tea, ginger ale, or chop some up into a dish or smoothie (which also provides lots of vitamin C).
15. Make a box ahead of time with your sick-day supplies. Stock it with small bottles of Gatorade, Sprite, saltine crackers, your favorite tummy-friendly soup, Tylenol, Advil, Tums, Pepto, Mucinex, bandaids, Immodium, Kleenex, etc. Take it from someone who got a really nasty case of food poisoning freshman year (like tallying number of times she went diarrhea per day)—having to drag yourself around when you are actually sick is so awful. Be prepared. Get better quicker.
16. Call your mom. Even if she’s not there in person, you’ll probably feel a whole lot better after hearing that you’re doing everything she’s taught you.