10 ways to stay healthy this season that don’t include a flu shot

The rush has begun.  Not the holiday shopping rush.  Not the rush to buy me a birthday gift (there’s still plenty of time for that since my birthday isn’t until the end of November).  The rush to get a flu shot.  I’ve seen signs around my town and my son brought home a notice to inform us of a clinic that will be held at the school.  I remember last year when they held this clinic, at the most inconvenient time (right at the end of the school day) when the rest of us simply wanted to pick up our children and return home, there was a line of frantic parents waiting and hoping they would get their children poked with the vaccine.  We weren’t in that line.  Nobody in our family received a flu shot last year.  And none of us got the flu.  There are so many things you can do to be proactive this time of year and strengthen your immune system so it is better able to cope when a possible “bug” attempts to slow you down.  Here’s some of what I do:

  1. Drink Echinacea Plus Tea from Traditional Medicinals – I drink this tea when I start to feel run down or if I plan to be in an environment where I’m in close quarters with many other people, such as an airplane. For added benefit and flavor, add a small amount of honey!
  2. Eat lots of garlic – Eating plenty of garlic is one of the best ways to give your body a healthy boost and fighting chance when it comes to the nasty little infections that can travel through our families this time of year.  Don’t want your skin to ooze with the smell of garlic?  Would you rather be coughing and blowing your nose all day long?  Me, I’d rather smell a little garlicky.  Seriously, if you are preparing dinner, chop up 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and add it in.  It’s so simple and inexpensive and your body will love you for it.
  3. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is one you might associate with sunshine and calcium and why the heck would you bother to take it this time of year?  Well, personally, we lose a lot of sun exposure this time of the year where I live so I start to go through a major withdrawal where vitamin D is concerned.  So to during the fall and winter I need to take a vitamin D supplement to support my immune system and, well, my mood.
  4. Essential Oils – I love essential oils and they each offer their own unique benefits, especially when it comes to a healthy home environment.  A small bottle lasts a really long time so the cost is literally pennies per use.  A couple of important ones are tea tree and eucalyptus – they are both always in my medicine cabinet.  I keep a small spray bottle with a mixture of water and these two oils.  Periodically, I spray throughout our home, on beds, doorknobs, and furniture – to ward off the nasties that might try to invade our space.
  5. Drink plenty of water – A hydrated body is a stronger body.  Sugary drinks like soda have no nutritional value and only support the germs rather than fight them off.
  6. Wash the linens – Maybe I’m the only one who does this, but if someone starts sniffling or coughing, I wash their bedding.  At the very least I make sure I change out pillowcases on each of our beds.  Think about it?  Your head spends how many hours a night in close contact with your pillow?  This time of year it’s a breeding ground for all the little yuckies.  Remove the pillowcases, spray with the combination from number 4 above, allow the pillows to sit for a bit, and put on fresh pillowcases.
  7. Get plenty of rest – Our bodies speak to us when we start to feel run down.  We need to listen and get plenty of rest.  This can make the difference between something nasty grabbing hold or keeping it at bay.
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar – This is the best home remedy ever! Not kidding…..and my husband even agrees.  He often laughs and teases me about my “magic potions” for all things healthy, but guess what?  They work and he appreciates it.  I have a bottle of Bragg’s Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar in my cupboard at all times and the slightest hint of something off in my body, I add one to two tablespoons to a warm glass of water and guzzle it down.  Well, maybe I don’t exactly guzzle it, but I drink it.  It isn’t exactly the most delightful cocktail, but you could add something like honey or maple syrup to make the taste a bit more tolerable.  Promise I won’t call you a sissy.  Well, maybe I won’t.
  9. Neti Pot – I know I’ve written about the great benefits of using a Neti pot before, but it’s worth mentioning again, especially during this time of the year.  Keeping your sinuses healthy or battling the germs once they’ve entered your body is really important and a neti pot is a great tool for this.  I have a small bottle of grapefruit seed extract and I add several drops to the salt water of the neti pot when my body starts to feel a bit funky with sinus/cold symptoms.
  10. Exercise – It’s so easy to get lazy with exercise when the weather gets chilly. (I know I don’t want to even walk out to my car once the cold weather sets in, let alone go out for a walk to get exercise.)  It’s so important, though, in keeping our bodies healthy and strong.  Bundle up and get out for a brisk walk, even just 15 minutes, and you will feel so great after breathing in the fresh air and getting your heart rate raised a little bit.

What have I missed?  What is something that you do to stay healthy or fight off the germs when they try to invade you or your family members?

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