Frugal (Fun) Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

A cold is bad enough to go through, but getting the flu is worse. So how can you stay healthy when everyone else seems to be getting sick?
It’s true your best defence begins by washing your hands frequently and getting a flu shot, that’s not all you can do to keep those winter germs at bay. Let’s look at the most effective ways to stay healthy during this year’s cold and flu season.

Sing

The Carpenters iconic hit, “sing” can do more for your health than you knew!

Yes, you read that right. I said sing.

Japanese researchers have found that singing helps boost your immune system. When you sing, cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels drop, and immunoglobulin A (responsible for deflecting bacteria and viruses) amounts rise. When you sing, you’re actually strengthening your immune system against cold and flu bugs. So crank the radio and pick up that hair brush. Your audience awaits.

Yin Yoga for Health

Yin yoga, a gentle yoga practice, has been found to reduce the duration and the intensity of cold and flu symptoms almost 50%. And a recent study by Tufts University found Tai Chi had similar benefits. So before you get sick, get in the habit of practicing gentle yoga a couple of times per week.

40 Winks

Sleep is vital for good health and a healthy immune system. People who sleep fewer than seven hours each night are three times more likely to get sick! Studies have shown a reduced number of protective antibodies in individuals who received a flu shot and slept five or six hours a night when compared to flu-shot recipients who slept 8 hours.
A proper night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to arm yourself during the cold and flu season.

Probiotics

Probiotics can lessen cold and flu symptoms by reducing the body’s inflammatory response to respiratory viruses. Rutgers studies found that while people who regularly consumed the probiotics seemed to catch a cold with the same frequency as those who didn’t take probiotics; their symptoms were less severe and the duration of their symptoms significantly shorter. Liquids, powders, capsules, yogurt or other probiotic-rich foods can help keep you healthy.

Check out Dollar Tree for a great deal on probiotics ($1 for 30!)

Don’t hesitate to add fruit, springs of mint, or even frozen grapes to your water

Stay Hydrated

When you think of ways to avoid coming down with the flu, you may not automatically think of a glass of water. But drinking between 8-10 glasses of water each day can help you stay healthy year-round. When our bodies become dehydrated, they draw moisture from the air at a higher rate than usual, and that can pull airborne viruses directly into our body, increasing our chances of getting sick.

Don’t like drinking plain water? Try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber for a refreshing, flu-busting pick-me-up.

It’s no fun being sick, but by taking care of yourself before you get sick, you can make the most out of winter.

Dry Winter Skin? Homemade Lotion Bars Are The Answer

Winters can mean harsh winds that are brutal for your skin! You can slather lotion on your hands every five minutes and they’ll still cry out for more. Thankfully, this homemade rescue for dry, cracked winter skin will get rid of that itchy feeling once and for all. And because it comes in a ‘bar’ form (rather than messy lotions that can drip or spill at the worst possible moment) you can keep one with you at all times. They’re even great to use on winter-whipped chapped lips!

These fun, practical, and economical lotion bars are also a great homemade gifts. I often make several batches during those cold days I refuse to venture outside. And every time I use someone asks me where they can get one. Now I always carry an extra homemade lotion bar for dry winter skin with me, to hand out to friends and family.

With only a few ingredients, even novice do-it-yourselfers can master these use skin-saving bars.

Image by silviarita

For 16 Homemade Lotion Bars You’ll Need:

  • Coconut Oil (1 Litre)
  • Soy wax pellets (500 ml) you can use either pellets or bars
  • Essential Oil/ Fragrance (20 – 25 ml) Anything you like. My favourite combo is Patchouli and Vanilla (optional)
  • A Double boiler (If you don’t have one, don’t panic. You can improvise a double-boiler with a pot and heat-safe bowl)
  • A lotion bar mold (Silicon or rubber muffin pan, candy molds also work great. Metal muffin pan can be used too, just remember to use paper muffin liners or you’ll never get the lotion bar out!)
  • Spoon or spatula for mixing

How To Make Lotion Bars for Dry Winter Skin

  • Clear a workspace in your kitchen and get all your ingredients and utensils together.
  • Melt the soy wax in your double boiler, over medium-low heat.
  • As the soy wax begins to soften, add the coconut oil and stir gently, using your spatula.
  • Once the soy wax/ coconut oil mixture as mostly melted, add in your essential oil if you’re using it.
  • Next, pour the soy wax/ coconut oil/ fragrance combo into the molds and put in the refrigerator to cool quickly, or let cool on the counter.
  • Once the bars have cooled completely, they’re ready to use.

Relief from dry winter skin has never been so easy!

Once thoroughly cooled and firm, wrap your homemade lotion bars for dry skin with a ribbon or wrap loosely in a piece of reclaimed fabric, and they’re ready to hand out to family and friends to show them you care.