1. Sleep! Sweet Sleep! Adequate rest is one of the primary ways to keep your system in tip top fighting shape. It's so easy to not prioritize this, but do. Pretend you're a bear. Get into bed and hibernate.
2. Turn your head away from the doughnut shop and walk quickly past. Sugar is no friend of your immune system and can make you much more prone to catching a cold. In Traditional Chinese Medicine too much sugar dampens your system, making your digestion sluggish and making you prone to phlegm. Winter is not the time to indulge in sugary treats! Sad, I know.
3. Relax. It's common knowledge that stress creates havoc in your body in a myriad of real and significant ways. It's no surprise that you find yourself getting sick right when you are most stressed. Reel it in if you can. Exercise, take a bath, make a date with an easy friend, create systems that work for you that include time for self care.
4. Take your herbs! We have two distinct camps here at Portland Apothecary. Elie is a big fan of our Fire Cider, which is a fiery brew of herbs steeped in Apple Cider Vinegar for at least a month. We make ours in late summer and bury it in the earth to steep until Autumn. Fire Cider will make your nose run and your hands hot - a great kickstart for your immune and circulatory system. I'm in the other camp, Elderberry Elixir. A proven anti-viral elderberry has been shown to be just as effective as it's pharmaceutical counterparts like Tamiflu. Our particular elixir has cinnamon, rose hips and Asian pear in it as well so is particularly delicious, as well as high in Vitamin C.
5. Visit your acupuncturist! Acupuncture is an amazing ally in fighting off impending colds/flus and is a good way to stay out of the fight entirely. Yin Qiao San is a common herbal formula used by acupuncturists during cold and flu season and you can usually find this over the counter. Gan Mao Ling is another formula to take at the first signs of feeling the oncoming crud.
6. Ginger, Lemon, Cayenne and Honey tea. Same idea as fire cider -- gets all systems going!
Hope this list was helpful! It's hard to stop, I could add fermented foods for probiotics, echinacea, astragalus, medicinal mushrooms, obsessive hand washing while avoiding antibacterial soap...but let's stay with six for now!