Tag Archives: christmas

3 Ways to Ward off Sickness This Winter!

It’s that time of year…Christmas is in the air, but so are lots of cold and flu germs!

No one wants to miss out on the holiday parties, cookie baking, and gift exchanges, so I’m here to give you my 3 top tips for warding off the germs this season!

 TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHY:

1)      Build your immune system up so you’re better able to fight off the germs. This means eating lots of nutrient-rich veggies, drinking lots of water, and taking your vitamins. Regular exercise also helps equip your body to fight infection.

2)      Keep the sweets to a minimum. There’s no reason to deprive yourself of Christmas cookies altogether, but try not to go overboard. Large amounts of sugar temporarily weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting sick. Enjoy your candy, cookies, and chocolates in moderation – this means eating one or two, not the whole bag or plate!

3)      Get your zzzz’s. It’s a hectic time of year, but make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night. When you don’t get enough sleep….you guessed it, your immune system is weaker! Beginning to see a common theme to these preventive tips? A lot has to do with keeping your immune system strong – i.e., giving yourself a fighting chance in the battle to stay healthy!

Ok….well, what happens when I do get sick??

As much as I’d like to say the 3 tips above will completely prevent a single sick day this winter, it’s just not realistic. Life gets the best of us sometimes, and even the healthiest person will find themselves nursing a scratchy throat and sniffling at a Christmas party sooner or later. It happens. And it happened to me this past week. (Which is largely what inspired me to write this post!)  head cold

 

Wednesday afternoon, my throat started getting sore and I began to feel that dread that comes the night before a cold really sets in. You know that feeling when you just know you’re about to get sick? It’s not fun. And before learning about holistic health, I would usually raise the white flag of surrender at this point, and resign myself to 5-7 days of a horrible head cold. Time to start stocking every room of the house with a box of Kleenex.

However, this time around, I decided I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. The battle was on. It sounds dramatic, I know, but if you understood how much I DID NOT want to get sick this week, you’d be in battle mode too.

So, here’s what I did:

1)      Pumped myself full of immune-system-boosting vitamins! My favorite is Congaplex from Standard Process.    Since this is made of completely natural, whole-foods products, you can take them as often as possible. Whenever I start feeling sick, I pop 2 or 3 of these every hour!

apple cider vinegar2)      Gargled. With apple cider vinegar. It’s not fun, and it’s not tasty, but it gets the job done. Apple cider vinegar is amazing for many reasons (see the graphic on the right), one of which is clearing out the “gunk” in your throat and sinuses! However, not all apple cider vinegar is created equal; it’s important to get it raw and un-pasteurized, so that it still has the “mother” in it . My favorite brand is Bragg’s, which is available at Whole Foods and several other health foods stores.

3)      Drank lots of Throat Coat tea! My chiropractor was the one who first told me about this amazing remedy, and I’ve had a box in my pantry ever since. It’s available at your local grocery store, as well as CVS and Walgreens. I drink Throat Coat tea whenever my voice is feeling a little sore or hoarse, even if I’m not technically sick. It’s great stuff! throat coat tea

4)      SLEPT. I realized as I thought back on the past week that I hadn’t been getting nearly enough sleep, which is probably one of the reasons my body finally succumbed to the head cold boogie monster. Thankfully, I only had one client on Thursday morning and was able to reschedule with her so I could get some more sleep. I slept until noon and woke up feeling slightly better. Even though I didn’t notice a huge difference immediately after my nap, I really think the extra sleep helped me come out on the winning side with this cold. As I said earlier, when your body is sleep-deprived and exhausted, you are much more susceptible to the germs and viruses around you.

Thankfully, my story has a happy ending. By Thursday evening, I was feeling much better and the cold never actually went to my head or chest. The sore throat was annoying for those 24 hours, but I’ll take that over a week-long head cold any day!

I know there will still be times that the cold, flu, or other nasty virus gets the victory over you and me, but why not do everything possible to nip it in the bud and get healthy again as soon as possible? Your body (and your friends and family) will thank you!

Here’s to a healthy Christmas season!

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Ready for Christmas!

It’s beginning to *feel* a lot like Christmas…

1) Christmas shopping is done!!

I finished up the last of my Christmas shopping this afternoon. Yes, I know, I cut it very close this year! I don’t really have a good excuse, except that December seemed to fly by even MORE quickly than usual this year. And I’ve never really been one of those people who starts picking out Christmas presents for people in July. 😛 I’m not a procrastinator in most other areas of life, but when it comes to Christmas shopping, I’m almost always squeaking in at the last minute.

I still have some wrapping to do tomorrow (Christmas Eve, yikes!) but at least everything is bought!

2) Amy and I went on a “Christmas Lights Run” on Saturday evening around my neighborhood, in order to enjoy the bright, colorful displays. Of course, we talked for most of the run so we didn’t really notice the lights a whole lot, but it was still a festive activity to do together. 🙂

3) Christmas cookies have been baked!!! These are just one of the numerous favorites we bake each year. I baked these on Wednesday with a friend, while listening to the Christmas station on Pandora. 🙂

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4) The “Wild Lights” display at the St Louis Zoo! Friday night, I headed down to the zoo with a few friends, as well as my sister and brother-in-law. Although it was bitterly cold, we lasted about an hour (thanks to thick scarves and Hot Hands!) and enjoyed walking through the huge lights display at the zoo!

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5) Watching Christmas movies! On Thursday night, I had a friend over for dinner and we watched A Christmas Carol – the Jim Carrey version, which I had never seen before. I liked it; the CGI stuff was really impressive! I’ve also watched White Christmas and A Christmas Story over the past few weeks, but I have yet to fulfill my annual viewing of my favorite Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life!! I guess that will be happening tomorrow!!

6) Treasuring time with family and friends:

Because my sister and brother-in-law will be with his family on Christmas Day, we decided to have a special family celebration TODAY that lasted all day long. Since my best friend Amy is practically family, we invited her to join in the festivities too. 🙂

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We started off with church at 11am…our church always does an amazing Christmas service and they definitely did not disappoint this year! The message was really good and the music was incredible. They sung my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night, which always gives me goosebumps.

After church, we visited with friends for a little bit and then headed over to TGIF’s for a delicious lunch. We have a family tradition of eating at TGIF’s on the Eve of the Eve every year (the 23rd). I ordered the cobb salad and also nibbled on some of Amy’s sweet potato fries. Love me some sweet potatoes!

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After lunch, Amy and I finished up my Christmas shopping and then met my family back at our house for some games and relaxation. We also gave our presents to my sis and brother-in-law and opened theirs in return. Around 6pm, everyone started to get a little hungry and Mom brought out some smoked trout, cheese and crackers, cocktail shrimp, and other munchies for us to enjoy. Then we migrated into the family room to watch A Christmas Story, which I had never seen before! It was definitely a very unique movie…not my favorite, but it did make me laugh several times. 😉

Amy just left and now we are relaxing some more and watching football. 😀

So excited that Christmas Eve is tomorrow!!

I hope you’re enjoying these final hours before the holiday! 🙂

How is it already December 18th?! This season has flown by so quickly! Christmas parties are happening, cookies are being baked, and presents are being wrapped! I still have some Christmas shopping to do, as well as several other “Christmas activities” I want to squeeze in before the 25th! I have yet to do a “Christmas lights run” or go to any drive-through lights displays. I haven’t watched nearly enough Christmas movies or gotten tired of Christmas music yet. I need this month to sloooow down!

This week I’ve been dogsitting for a family friend while they are in Florida! I’m staying at their house, which happens to be 2.80 miles from a beautiful state park! I know this because I ran there on Sunday morning before church to explore! However, I had just down P90X Plyometrics the day before and my calves were pretty tight, so by the time I got to the park, I was pretty tired and decided to turn around and save the exploring for another day. My route back was a little bit longer so I ended up with exactly 6.00 miles when I got back to the house! We’ve had crazy-warm weather here in St Louis lately, considering it’s December, but I’m not complaining! I love being able to take off on a run without 5 layers of thermal shirts and leggings. 😛

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This morning I headed back to the park to tackle the trails! I had such a great time exploring the cliffs and bluffs and jumping over tree roots and rocks. Every time I do a trail run, it makes me wish I had access to more trails near my house! Trail runs are a great way to get out in nature, enjoy the peace and quiet, and disconnect from phones and computers. I always feel so refreshed after a trail run, I love it!

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About a half mile into my run, I spotted a beautiful doe just 20 yards ahead of me on the trail! The trails were hilly and muddy, winding through the woods and ravines. I felt adventurous and free as I powered up the hills and flew down the other side.

I’d accidentally left my earbuds at home so I didn’t have any iPod accompaniment on this run, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I also didn’t use my GPS watch at all, so I had no concept of pace or time. Amazing. I need to unplug more often for “naked runs” because it’s always so cleansing and relaxing!

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When I did finally make it back to my car, I was covered in mud, but happy and content. Settled. Peaceful. Refreshed. Is it possible that a simple run in the woods can do all of that for me? I’ll take it! 🙂

I’m off to study for the afternoon with a doggie on my lap and a mug of Candy Cane Green Tea beside me. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The Christmas season is here in full force! Every year, December flies by way too quickly and this holiday season is over before I know it. I wish there was some way to slow this month down…there is so much to do and so much to enjoy!

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Things about the Holiday Season this year:

5) Christmas music everywhere! I’ve never heard a Christmas song I didn’t like. Oh wait, I take that back…Santa Baby.  Haha, never been a fan of that one, for some reason.   😛 As much as I do enjoy the holiday tunes, I don’t usually start listening to them until after Thanksgiving, because I like to give each holiday it’s allocated time for celebration.  😉

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4) Looking at Christmas lights displays! There’s something about glowing multi-colored displays of Christmas cheer that I can’t resist. I love to drive around nearby neighborhoods in the winter evenings and look at all the lights, and I also try to visit at least one drive-through lights display at a park each year…

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3) Baking Christmas cookies! Although I haven’t baked any official Christmas cookies yet this year, I did whip up a batch of these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies a few days ago, for a dear friend of mine. I didn’t try any (hello, gluten!) but the ones I left at home for my family didn’t last long at all, which I always take as a good sign. 😉 Hopefully in the next week or so, I’ll get around to baking some legit Christmas cookies, like these guys!

2) Sharing holiday cheer with random strangers! I love how everyone seems to be in such a great mood in the few weeks leading up to Christmas. In stores and restaurants, people strike up conversations about their plans for the holidays, their Christmas shopping, or share a “Merry Christmas!” greeting with each other. I’ve even caught a few people humming Christmas songs in the check-out line at Walgreens! Love it. 🙂

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

1) All the special little things that make up this season. Sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fire, singing Christmas carols around the piano, cutting down a tree at the Christmas tree farm, celebrating with out of town relatives, taking walks in the snow (really hoping we get some this year in St Louis!), attending Christmas productions like The Nutcracker, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and having an extra excuse to get together with friends!

Andy Williams truly got it right with his song…It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I hope you’re enjoying this Christmas season! 🙂