How many times a year do you get sick? I used to get sick A LOT. Like at least every month or two, I would get a cold. Winter, summer, it really didn’t matter what season it was.
After a couple years of being sick of being sick, I started to make some changes. And they really seemed to help! Now I only get sick once or twice a year. I didn’t start doing all these things at once, but added them as I learned about them over the years.
Here are the tricks I’ve incorporated into my daily life to avoid getting sick.
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1. Irrigate my Sinuses
I know what you’re thinking. What? And ewww. But stay with me on this. I’ve had sinus issues and allergies for most of my life. About 12 years ago, I heard about a family friend who started irrigating his sinuses every day. It was totally working for him, so I thought I’d give it a go.
The Neti Pot is commonly used for nasal irrigation. I just use a squeeze bottle like this one, and sea salt, to irrigate my sinuses every day in the shower. Honestly, I look forward to it. It helps wake me up, and really makes my sinuses feel cleaner and more open.
Trust me, it doesn’t burn or feel uncomfortable. I never like getting water in my nose when I’m swimming (I always plugged my nose when jumping into a pool as a kid), but this process does not bother me at all. I just add a pinch of sea salt to the squeeze bottle, add warm shower water, and shoot it up into my nose. It doesn’t burn at all like pool water does.
Sinus irrigation has many benefits. It rinses out the dander and pollen that plagues allergy sufferers. It thins mucus and cleans out dirt and the germs that make us sick. It’s great at preventing colds, and easing the symptoms if you are sick.
At least don’t knock it til you try it!
2. Take probiotics
There are tons of great reasons to start taking probiotics. They have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety, restore gut health, assist with weight loss, and strengthen your immune system.
Studies have shown that eating foods that contain probiotics or taking probiotic supplements can reduce colds and gastrointestinal infections by 40%. That immune system boost alone is totally worth it!
Probiotics are in yogurts and other fermented foods, but I find it easiest to buy them in capsule form. My local grocery store, Meijer, carries a wide assortment of supplements. I buy one of their brand varieties, which contains 35 billion CFU. I always buy it when they have a BOGO vitamin sale, and take one capsule daily with breakfast. You can buy probiotics on Amazon for a good price too. You don’t have to go to a fancy vitamin store.
It is best to consume at least 2 billion CFU daily. It takes about two weeks of daily use to become effective.
3. Natural Calm
Ooh I love this stuff! Someone at the gym recommended Natural Calm to me last March, and my husband and I have taken it nightly every since. It is simply magnesium powder that you mix with water and drink. It is great to improve sleep quality, and reduce anxiety, muscle cramps, constipation, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Last March I was having some issues with racing heart beat and abnormal rhythms when I tried to fall asleep. That all went away after a couple days on Natural Calm.
It is very difficult to get as much magnesium as we need through diet alone, and most Americans are magnesium deficient. It is an essential mineral, and supports a healthy immune system. I’ve only gotten one cold since taking Natural Calm, and it wasn’t very severe at all. It is sold at vitamin and health food stores, but I always order it on Amazon.
I take 2 teaspoons of the Lemon flavor, mixed into a very little bit of water about an hour before bedtime. My husband adds more water to his than I do, because I like the strong lemon flavor. It is fizzy, so I give it a couple minutes to settle before drinking it.
Disclaimer: If you take too much magnesium, it can cause diarrhea. I would recommend you start with a half teaspoon, and increase it from there til you find the right dose for you.
4. Take a Multivitamin and Vitamin C
I started taking a daily multivitamin about ten years ago, and noticed an almost instant decline in the number of colds I got. I buy the Women’s Daily variety and like to stock up when it has a BOGO sale.
The multivitamin does contain some Vitamin C, but I also buy a separate chewable tablet. I don’t take it every single day, but during cold and flu season I do. Or if I’ve been around someone who’s sick. Often times, if I start feeling a little sore throat starting, I take 4 chewable tablets, and never end up getting sick.
Vitamin C is water-soluble and not stored in our bodies, so we need a continuous supply of it. That also means that we can’t become toxic by taking too much, so no worries there. When I do have a cold, I take upwards of 10 chewable tablets (500 mg each) per day, and my cold doesn’t usually get very severe.
5. Don’t overdo it
This trick is a bit harder to gauge, and not quite as easy as popping a supplement, but is SO necessary. We all have times when we run ourselves ragged, over-scheduling our lives, trying to do too much, and not getting enough sleep.
I always get rewarded for my madness by getting sick. It’s definitely an unfair price to pay for all that we tried to accomplish with the best of intentions. I’ve had so many times when I thought I could plow through fatigue and feeling unwell, planning to rest when things ‘calmed down.’ Then I’d get sick and be laid out for five days, feeling too ill to accomplish anything at all.
Know your body, and know when you’re overdoing it. Listening to your body is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
I really hope you consider trying some of these tips, and that they help you avoid getting sick as often.
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What tricks do you use to keep sickness away?