I saw in the newspaper last week that the flu has officially arrived in Aspen, so I thought let’s talk flu fighters (not Foo Fighters) today! How do we protect ourselves and boost our immune systems to kick the flu’s behind before it kicks our butts? I’ve got some ideas for you, plus I’ll share what I do this time of year to stay strong.
The flu is a virus, so we’re going to talk anti-viral help, but that virus can quickly lead to bacterial infections, like sinus or lung infections quickly. We need to cover both the bases. A little perspective too, we all have lots of viruses floating around us and within us. It’s when we get depleted that they take hold and triumph. It’s not necessarily that our neighbor or kid or office mate “got us sick”. We got ourselves sick, usually by ignoring the early signs our body was giving us and pushing a little too hard. With the upcoming holiday season of burning the candle at both ends and eating and drinking a bunch of junk we don’t the rest of the year, let’s see what we can do to help ourselves.
First, let’s talk nutrition and hydration. It’s easy with the candy holiday, Halloween, last week to just start letting the floodgates open and saying f#@& it because you know it’s just a hop skip and a jump from candy bowls, to Thanksgiving pies, and on to holiday treats. You know it’s going to be hard and stressful, just let the reins go now because your efforts will be fruitless. January’s not too far away and you can get your act back together then. I get it!
There can be a happy medium between white-knuckling through every holiday party and treat and giving up completely. Keep the white flag in your pocket for now and put your big girl or boy pants on. You can do this!
Drink lots and lots of water. That’s a huge immune, body, health, life support. We all know we should drink more water, but we don’t always get why really. Hydrating your body makes EVERYTHING run better, which includes your immunity. You’ll have more energy, be supporting your lymph in doing it’s immune job better, helping your immune army get around your body faster and better, improve your digestion which is a huge immune boost, and think and feel better. Think of water as your own personal (easy and cheap) super power! Take the time and drink extra water. You’ll eat less, drink less, and crave less.
Eat your greens. Mom was right. Eating greens and lots of veggies will help your immune system as well. You’ll poop more, which is always a big, big help to your health and immunity. You’ll get more vitamins and minerals from sources your body recognizes and can absorb, compared to little pills and capsules made in labs. Vitamins and minerals are what your body needs for all it’s fine tweaking jobs. When you get these important micronutrients in, you crave less junk too. Vegetables do double duty that way, more satiation and less cravings. Fill up on veggies first at a meal, so you know you’ve got some good nutrition in. Then add in the rest with macronutrients of protein, carbs, and fats and you may find a couple bites or a shared piece of pie gives you the holiday fun without the health crash.
Take a break from the sugar, if you feel you’re fighting off a bug. All those cookies, pies, egg nogs, and candy will still be around next week, when you’re feeling stronger again. Sugar really crashes your immune system, so a temporary break can give you just what you need to get a leg up on the flu. Alcohol breaks would benefit you too.
Now, my favorite… essential oils to the rescue. Whenever I feel like I’m getting run down and putting myself at risk of some virus or bacteria taking me down, I immediately start with taking more Black Cumin seed oil. I take it pretty regularly, but I up the dose to several times per day. I love it in a warm tea with some Cinnamon Bark essential oil added in. Cinnamon Bark is an amazing anti-viral and immune boost. Sometimes just a drop swirled around in my mouth and then swallowed will take impending illness right out.
I also start into my lovely respiratory supporters, the conifers (and they smell like the holidays to boot). I’ll use Firs, Spruces, and Pines on my throat and chest, even my belly. They ground me, which I usually need if I’ve been pushing too hard, give my adrenals some love, help me detox, and boost my immunity. Laurel Leaf is another go to, if I’m feeling something taking hold. She’s the lymphatic queen! Lastly, I’ll add some Mugwort to combat any respiratory infections. Plus, she’ll help me move stuck energy and send those flu energies packing. Oh, one more, I love a Lavender or Lavandin to give myself some self-love, as I’ve usually abandoned myself somewhere along the way if I’m getting sick, either through unhealthy food choices, pushing too hard, or emotional stress.
Ok, two more (can’t help myself) – the heavy hitters in our immunity: Oregano and Thyme. If you just need that extra boost or know you’re going to have to keep pushing hard and eating your mom’s insane holiday yule log, then Oregan and Thyme are excellent helpers when you’ve just gotta help your immune system BIG TIME RIGHT NOW.
I’m here to help you figure out your own perfect flu fighter combo, so feel free to reach out. If the flu does get you, everything I mentioned above will help you get better more quickly too. Fight the flu and Happy Holidays! We got this!!