Please note: Some links within this post are my affiliate links. This means that I may receive some compensation should you choose to make a purchase after clicking one of these links. There is no extra cost to you for using my links to make a purchase. Read my disclosure policy here. Thank you for supporting Joyful Thrifty Home!
1. Boost the Immune System
A healthy immune system is important your overall health. When you feel like you are getting sick, it’s likely that your immune system is weakened and compromised. So one of the first things to do is work on boosting that immune system!
- Drink herbal tea. I drink a variety of herbal teas but when I feel like I am getting sick I reach for Echinacea immune support tea. Echinacea is known for its immune boosting properties so it’s a good choice to help combat sickness. Along with Echinacea the tea also has a blend of other herbs including elderberry extract, mullein leaf, peppermint, lemon-grass and rose hip. I also have an immune support dietary supplement from Tri-Light Health that I add to my Echinacea tea.
- Increase your vitamin C intake. The easiest way to do this is to drink some orange juice or eat fruits or vegetables known to be high in vitamin C. Some of the best sources of vitamin C are oranges, red or green bell peppers, strawberries, kale, broccoli and papaya.
- Reduce stress. Heightened stress can be rough on the immune system and can actually make you more susceptible to getting sick. Try simple deep breathing exercises, go for a walk or do some stress relieving exercises like yoga. As another stress reliever, I also like putting a little lavender essential oil on my wrists or spritzing a mixture of diluted lavender into the air.
- Get some probiotics. The easiest way to get probiotics is in yogurt with live and active cultures. I like Greek yogurt because it also has extra protein.
- Eat some garlic. Garlic is great for your overall health as it is a natural immune booster and has antimicrobial properties. So use it in your cooking when you can. For best results when fighting off sickness, you should eat garlic fresh and raw. Leigh Ann of Intentional by Grace has a list of seven ways to eat raw garlic if you need some help deciding how to get it down.
2. Soothe a Sore Throat
A sore throat can often be the first sign of a cold so it’s good to have a few ways to soothe it naturally.
- Honey. Take a spoonful of honey for quick relief or make a cup of tea and mix the honey in. For an extra bonus add some lemon juice to your tea too! Raw and local honey is best but I haven’t taken the plunge yet so I am still using the cheaper store-bought stuff. It will still work for your sore throat but you may not get some of the other benefits of raw honey.
- Gargle salt water. Just mix about half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and gargle for a minute or so then spit out.
- Eat a bowl of hot soup. You probably typically think of chicken noodle soup when you are sick which is a good option. I recently had some homemade tomato soup (recipe coming soon!) when I was sick and loved how well it soothed my throat. Something about the tomato, garlic, onion and carrot mixture with a little heat from red pepper flake worked wonders on my sore throat! Plus the extra veggies are good for you too.
3. Treat Sinus Pressure and Congestion
I often get sinus congestion and pressure when the weather changes so I like having a few ways to treat it before I decide to reach for the nasal decongestants, which admittedly if it is bad enough I do still use. I would like to eventually be able not rely the decongestants at all but I do use it sparingly.
- Get some steam. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to just simply take a hot shower or sit in the bathroom while you run the hot water for 5-10 minutes. The warmth and steam will help clear up some of your congestion. You’ll also be able to blow your nose a little easier. Another way is to bring a small pot of water to boil in the stove. For an added bonus, add a few drops of eucalyptus or RC essential oil to your water. Take a towel and put it over your head and place your head over the water. Be careful not to get too close as it can get very hot and you don’t want to burn yourself. If necessary, turn the heat down a little. Take deep breaths and allow the steam to soothe your congestion.
- Try this trick. I don’t even remember where I found this, but I was desperate one day looking for a way to ease my sinus pain and stumbled across it. The trick is this; push your tongue onto the roof of your mouth for a few seconds then release. Once you release your tongue, press your finger on your forehead between your eyebrows. Alternate this for about 20 seconds or so. it sounds weird, but it really does help relieve some of the pressure and drain your sinuses.
- Use essential oils known to improve respiratory function. Mix one or two drops of eucalyptus or RC essential oil with a small drop of olive or coconut oil then spread onto your face under your eyes where your sinuses are located. You can also put some under your nose and inhale. Another good place to apply the oil is your throat or chest. If you don’t want to apply the oils topically, you can simply hold one nostril closed and take a deep breath with the open bottle up to your nose then do the same to the other nostril
4. Tackle a Headache or Soreness
Sickness is often accompanied by sore muscles and headache. These are my go-to headache and soreness relievers.
- Apply peppermint essential oil to ease headaches and tension. Mix about 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil into a small jar with about one-quarter of a cup of coconut oil (alternatively you could mix a drop or two with a small amount of coconut oil in your hand). Lightly dab your finger into the jar and apply the mixture onto your forehead, temples and at the back of the neck. For added benefit, gently massage your temples. Peppermint can be quite strong so don’t be surprised if your eyes water a little. Peppermint is also good for sore muscles so apply wherever soreness or stiffness is present for relief of that as well.
- Stretch. Soreness and headache can be brought on by stiff muscles as well so doing some simple neck and back stretches can help ease the pain as well.
- Use a foam Roller. I recently got a foam roller and have used it to ease tension in my neck and back. To use it, place it on the floor and lower yourself on top of it so that it sits on your lower back. Use your feet to push yourself over the roller so that it goes up and down your back. There are lots of other uses for foam rollers as well as exercises but so far this has been the main way I have used mine. You can get one fairly inexpensively at places like Target.
- Use Lavender to soothe soreness. Lavender essential oil is not only good for stress relief, it’s also good for soothing soreness and tenderness from cuts or abrasions. The skin on my nose has become raw and irritated from using so many tissues to blow my nose (I’m pretty sure I have gone through a box and a half in three days!) so I have put my lavender to good use. To use, do the same thing I described above with peppermint, except apply it wherever you need to soothe your rough skin.
5. Keep Up Healthy Habits
It is especially important when sickness is looming or already upon you to keep up some good habits. Here are the main ones that I am working on.
- Get plenty of water! Drinking a lot of water is essential to optimal health but is even more important when you’re sick. For added benefit, add a drop or two of lemon essential oil (be sure that it is the kind of oil allowed for internal use) to your water. If you’re adding essential oil, also make sure you’re using a glass cup or glass water bottle.
- Get adequate rest. Getting enough sleep is necessary to proper functioning. I’ve had lots of struggles getting good rest due to some other physical concerns but I notice such a difference in my overall health when I am able to sleep well.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and all the more important to help with treating or preventing illness. If you need to get more in your diet, try drinking more smoothies and looking for other ways to consume them more often. Try this chicken fried rice for a vegetable packed dinner as a way to get more veggies.
So the next time you feel like you might be getting sick, try out some of these tips before you automatically reach for the drugs in your medicine cabinet.
The list above isn’t an exhaustive list, rather some ideas based on what I have done. So I would love to know…
What are some ways that you treat or prevent illness naturally?
Do you do any of the things listed above?