What's in my Winter Wellness Kit?

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The flu season of 17’-18’ what a doozy! Don’t let the fear mongers get to you this year. Yeah it’s a bad one but you have options. The instinct may be to run to your nearest health care provider but stick with me for a moment.

 

I feel like my family and I are just holding on by a thread. I know our immune systems are not as strong as they should be so at this point I’m just struggling to stay a step ahead of it. So far we’ve all been through coughs and runny noses. My littlest had a pretty good fever for a day and I’m struggling with a head cold and on and off aches. Unfortunately we all must keep moving. I’m still working crazy shifts, my husband still has to go to work and breath in who knows what at his not so green clean job.  So under these circumstances we do the best we can.

I rest when I can, even though my to do list is not getting any shorter I understand how important this rest is. Our house and my work bag are stocked with my wellness tools.  I’d give my husband a wellness kit to carry, but he’d never use it so I just force it on him when I’m at home. Hehe.

Today I want to share with you some tips to stay well or get well this time of year.

Basics of staying or getting well.

Hygiene

WASH YOUR HANDS! All day everyday, wash your hands! This is the number one most effective way of staying well. Good hand washing is very important to staying well. People are coughing, hacking and sneezing all over every possible surface so wash your hands often.

Wash for as long as it takes you to sing the ABC’s. Use soap, water and lots of friction to get your hands clean. If you use hand sanitizer, every third time you use it you need to add in a hand washing session.

Also cover your coughs with your elbow pit, use a tissue and avoid being around anyone ever! Ok just kidding on the last one. You have to go out in public, I get it. But if you have a choice to avoid areas full of people do it. This includes going to the clinic or Emergency Room prematurely. 

Aches and a fever are no reason to run to the clinic. Confusion from a fever, difficulty breathing, dehydration from multiple episodes of vomiting or diarrhea are good reasons to go to the clinic or ER. 

 

Rest

Rest is important whether you are well or fighting an illness. It may be easier said than done but getting a good night’s sleep is important to maintaining your wellness. Sleep is a time for your body to recover from a long day. Sleep is restoration time for your body. Muscle growth, tissue repair and protein synthesis occur in great amounts while you are sleeping.

For good sleep you need uninterrupted sleep so please put your phone in another room. I keep mine outside my bedroom door. It’s close enough for me to hear the alarm but far enough away that I can’t check it easily while I’m half asleep. Some nights I don’t even want to get out of bed for another blanket let alone leave the bed to answer a text or check a facebook notification.  

If you do feel like you are coming down with something rest often throughout your day. Whether you work from home or only have a few hours after work, take that time to sit down and relax. Don’t push yourself to do one more thing. Let the kids run wild, have sandwiches for supper or a simple soup from the freezer. Take a nap or curl up on the couch. Give yourself a break and your body will have time to heal. If you don’t take time to rest then your body will find a way to make you. Possibly in the form of a more serious illness.

 

Hydration

Drink your water, flush your system. When cold or flu is in the air, stay hydrated through water and other nutritious drinks such as herbal teas. I also make sure to drink my nourishing infusions every day this time of year.

Don’t turn to sugary drinks to quench your thirst and avoid sports drinks they will give you more sugar than actual nutrients. If you are trying to stay well water will help your body detox and keep your immune system strong. If your sick and trying to get well water will help your body stay strong enough to fight away the bug by staying hydrated.

 

Nutrition

Staying well nourished is extremely important this time of year. Eating foods full of nutrition such as homemade bone broths and seasonal fruits and vegetables, along with good proteins will keep your immune system strong. A strong immune system is needed to defend against the germs floating around. Don’t over do it on the fruits however because they contain quite a bit of sugar. And on that note, avoid eating too many sweets and sugars this time of year.

Sugar interferes with your immune system’s cells ability to fight the invading bacteria for a couple of hours after intake.

When these cells can’t attack bad bacteria it allows the bad bacteria to take over making it easy for you to become ill. This is why you should not hydrate yourself with sugary drinks. Even fruit juices are not recommended because of their high sugar content.

If you do become sick keep your foods simple. Think homemade bone broths, and other nutrition packed foods. If you don’t feel up to eating, don’t. Your digestive system sometimes needs a rest. Stay hydrated through small sips of healthy liquids and it should be enough to get you through until you are well enough to eat.

 

Build a wellness kit.

There are tons of options of great healing things to put in a wellness kit. I’m sure all herbalists have a list and I’m sure each is just a little different. My kit is built around things that I have local to me. Most are from my backyard.

I actually have two kits. One stays home (unless I feel I’ll need a bigger arsenal at work and no body is at home) and a smaller one travels with me.


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So what is in my wellness kit?

Echinacea tincture. When I need to boost my immune system because I’m feeling ill or I’ve been around other sick folks I will take 15-30 drops of this ever 2-3 hours. If I’m not the sick one I’ll take it a little less often. I will only do this for about 5 days giving it a break so my body doesn’t get too used to it.

Echinacea Throat spray. This is my go to if I start having a sore throat. You can read more about that here.

Yarrow tincture. I start taking yarrow if I feel the aches coming on or if I am running a fever. I’ll add 15-30 drops to a cup of warm water or tea. I drink this every few hours until my fever breaks or I’m feeling better.

Herbal teas. When I’m on the go I have a few store bought teas that I’ll use. My favorite go to is the variety pack of Traditional Medicinals herbal teas. It has teas such as gypsy cold cure, throat coat and Echinacea Plus. I’ll add my tinctures of choice to this and drink up.

At home I use the herbs I have on hand such as a warm tea of mullein when I’m congested and need help coughing up the junk.

Winter Cider. This is actually a recipe from Rosemary Gladstar called Fire Cider. Mine is not exactly like her recipe and that’s the beauty of this recipe. You can make it with the ingredients you have available to you and it will work. I’ll take a shot of this to take the edge off the aches and to burn whatever bacteria is trying to take over. Burn is not actually the process but that is what it feels like. It burns so good! I just forced this on my husband yesterday and found him later taking it voluntarily.  

The recipe I use along with other cold and flu tips can be found in my ebook The Common Herbal.

Bone broth and my husband chicken noodle. My husband is a wiz at making noodles from scratch. Now I know the noodles may not be extremely nutritional but when made with our homemade bone broth and some pieces of chicken it is perfect. When I’m feeling my worst I’ll sip the broth and just eat a noodle or two but it really hits the spot.

Nettle infusion. This is an infusion that I have whether I’m well or ill. It’s a nutrient powerhouse. So if I’m not drinking my water I’m sipping my daily infusion. You can read more about that here.

Couch, Blanket, Netflix. If I’m able, I will curl up with my big comfy blanket, on my big comfy couch, turn on Netflix, sip some tea and when the tea is done I’ll slip into a nice rest. Sometimes I’ll skip the couch and Netflix and crawl into bed. It really depends on the day. If my husband isn’t home the couch is the best place so I’m still available to my kids. If he is home, it’s off to the dark, quiet bedroom for me.

 

There are other great things to add to your wellness kit and I am sure I will continue to grow my list. I want to work elderberry’s into my get well routine I just haven’t got there yet. =

How about you? Do you have a wellness kit? What do you grab when you are feeling ill? What do you do to stay well this time of year?


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