$ense & $ensibility Mondays: Sick Sense

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For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere*, it’s that time of year again: cold and flu season. It seems there’s a cold snap across the hemisphere right now and I know my sinuses are feeling it. I hope you all stay healthy this winter, but if you don’t, maybe some of the following tips can help you. I probably should state that I am in no way a physician, and you should always check with your doctor when it comes to your health and well-being. So, here are a few remedies that won’t break the budget, but will hopefully have you feeling better.

I love tea when I’m not sick, but it’s a godsend when I’m ill. My usual morning coffee can sometimes make me feel sick to my stomach when I’m ill, but a mug of black tea is just the thing. I tend to drink it throughout the day to help with any sore throat issues that might arise (honey in the tea helps with this as well). And when winding down for a restorative sleep, a cup of chamomile with a touch of honey helps soothe my mind and clear congestion a bit.

Get Moving!
Sometimes your body really just needs you to lie in bed and sleep. If that’s what it wants, honor it and give yourself some rest. But if you’ve been cooped up for a while or don’t feel quite that bad, a bit of movement can help. Bundle yourself up and go for a walk – even a slow meander around the block can make you feel better and get you some much needed vitamin D from the sun.

Yoga can also be just what you need. Poses as simple as Tadasana engage your muscles and get your blood flowing, helping aid your recovery. Just beware: if you’re congested you might want to stay away from any inversions that could make the congestion worse. Some restful positions, such as Savasana and Supta Baddha Konasana can be tried with support under your shoulders and head if you’re too congested to lie flat.

Smell the Flowers and Mint
When I was a kid, my mother used to slather my chest in a menthol vapor rub to help relieve my congestion and stave off my coughing. I admit, sometimes I still slather the same rub on myself. However, you can get the congestion relief found in menthol rubs in other ways.

Try a steam by pouring boiling water in a bowl, adding a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to the water. Place your face over the bowl with a towel covering your head and the bowl. The steam and the scents will combine to help thin-out congestion.

You can make your own chest rub by combining a drop each of lavender, tea tree, and sandalwood oils with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil.

After blowing your nose for the 100th time, I’m sure your nose is feeling a bit raw and red. My trick is to always have an extra lip balm around (marked “nose-balm” so there’s no confusion). A little bit applied to the raw skin around my nose makes a world of difference in allowing myself to relax when sick.

*For our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, you can use these tips for summer colds. Or, just come back to this post in 6 months!

Katharine Albritton is an art market specialist and writer. Read her art market blog and follow her on twitter.