The World’s Worst Cold Season

Hi, friends!

It goes without saying how sad I am that I literally haven’t posted a blog in over a month. This blog is therapeutic for me- a way to process what I am learning, share what I am passionate about and, yes, release a bit of frustration sometimes. Well, that frustration has certainly come to a head in the past weeks because it seems that myself and everyone I know is sick! Seeing this, I thought I would share some steps you can take to prevent and combat the common cold when it has you down and out.

About three weeks ago, I came down with the worst cold I have ever had- I was like a walking Nyquil commercial. I had a sore throat, itchy eyes, terrible sinus congestion, couldn’t sleep as a result, it was just awful. Never had I come down with such a stereotypically miserable cold. It just so happened that I was co-Music Director for that weekend’s Chrysalis Retreat, and the one thing I was dreading was beginning to happen- losing my voice. Well, I made it through- and here are some of the tricks I used to keep my voice and my sanity during those stuffy days:

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Medicinal Teas. My two go-tos were both from Traditional Medicinals: Gypsy’s Cold Care and Throat Coat. Spoiler alert- they both taste kind of awful, but they are both very effective. Gypsy’s lessens general cold symptoms as well as cutting down on the duration of the cold, while Throat Coat is particularly useful if you are prone to laryngitis whenever you get sick, like me. There are mixed views on using Throat Coat when you are sick- especially if your throat issues are sinus related, it can sometimes make you produce more mucus in an attempt to lubricate the throat. Bottom line- use your best judgement. Don’t use it for the first time before a big performance unless you know how your body will react.

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Honey. So much of it. Raw and local is best. Over the course of the Chrysalis weekend, I downed close to a two pound bottle of raw honey (a lot of this in attempts to cover the taste of the Throat Coat tea!). Honey is an antiseptic and a lubricant, which helps both coat and heal your throat.

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Neti pot or other sinus rinse. Yes, this is uncomfortable at first, but you are not only removing excess mucus, but neutralizing PH and flushing out any germs and allergens in your nasal passages. I was doing this upwards of 4x a day when my cold was at its worst.

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BLOW your NOSE. I can’t emphasize this enough! Keep tissues with you all the time- Target sells really cute little ’tissue wallets’ that I should by stock in. The more you can get that stuff out, the better off you are going to feel. Sniffing and swallowing (gross, I know) is only going to keep you sick. It can even give you an upset stomach. Just don’t let it happen.

-Sleep sitting up. Not completely, but prop two or three pillows under your head to keep post-nasal drip at bay. It sicks but you will probably end up sleeping better than you would have originally.

-Check out your environment. We recently discovered a lovely mold infestation in our closet- no wonder we are staying sick forever! Make sure that you don’t have a culprit hiding somewhere…

-Healing baths. This can help any type of sickness- taking a hot bath is like having a self-induced fever- your body temperature rises and your body’s immune responses are heightened, which helps fight off germs. Adding helpful herbs like peppermint, eucalyptus, or rosemary can aid in clearing congestion. If you don’t have a bath tub, put some essential oils in the corner of your shower and inhale in the steam!

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-Steam inhalations– these are my favorite! Boil a pot of water, pour it into a bowl and add some essential oils (eucalyptus is the most effective). Form a tent over your head with a towel and inhale! Have tissues ready because this can work very quickly! I like to do this after I do a sinus rinse- it leaves me clear and feeling good.

-Supplements. Vitamin C is a given, but Vitamin D is also proven to help ward off sickness! Echinacea is an easy-to-find herb that is a powerhouse for strengthening the immune system. It is often paired with Goldenseal. Green tea and other antioxidant-rich supplements will help, too!

-Eat foods that will help your body heal. Focus on getting a plant-based, whole foods diet especially when you are sick. Get away from the processed foods! Dairy especially is a big hindrance to healing and makes you produce more mucus. Red meats take more energy for your body to digest, which pulls energy away from the healing process. Juices are great when you are sick, because they are chock full of nutrients but easy to digest- letting your body focus all of it’s energy on healing! Garlic and Onions are two foods that are especially good for mucus cleansing. Ideally- a whole foods vegan diet. I know it’s hard, but do your best!

-Get your rest. If you are run down, so is your immune response. Get enough sleep and take care of your body, it will take care of you!

Wishing you a health and energy this cold season,

Karli

Staying Healthy on the Road: Tips for Traveling and Eating Well

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part of our travel route home tonight

Two weeks ago, I embarked on a two week journey with my husband and our close friends a the band, Willet, toured around the Midwestern US. At first, this was a difficult transition for me- I love to cook, and really value being in control of my diet and activity level. Being limited with food options, prearranged lodging, and long days got to me, but I quickly realized that I needed to let go of my control and embrace the opportunity. I could still be in control of my body, I just needed to be intentional and careful! So, with that in mind, I want to share some of my lessons learned from my first two weeks on tour:

-It is easy to eat mindlessly, and calories add up faster than you think. While, on the whole, I think that counting calories is a bad idea, I do think that having an idea of what your body needs and being mindful of what you are putting into your body is necessary for everyone. A few days into the trip a few of us downloaded a calorie counting app to aid in that process, which was eye-opening for everyone. We have to think about what our body needs, and what it doesn’t need, and eat accordingly. Which brings me to my next point…

-It is really important to stay true to a whole foods diet as much as possible. Traveling make us especially susceptible to fatigue, illness, adrenal exhaustion, among other things. Processed foods and increased caffeine intake can completely wipe out our immune system, while whole foods can make it stronger and better able to face the challenges of travel.

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we we thankful for a green room with a fruit platter

-Hydration is key, even if it means that you stop to pee more often. Drinking water helps the body naturally detoxify, and the more often you are doing that, the better. Hydrating also makes sure that basic body processes are functioning at optimum level, and maintains an even energy level. Not drinking water just isn’t a good idea.

-Fast food will always be terrible, but anywhere you go, there are at least a few good options, like salads or yogurt parfaits. My personal favorite is Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad-the half portion makes a great meal by itself. Gas stations almost always have a healthy food selection of granola, trail mix, protein bars, fruit, or yogurt. It’s all about willpower.

-You have to be prepared. I hardly ever take conventional medicine, but I use medicinal teas and essential oils frequently. Before leaving, I packed a small bag with a few of my most common remedies, and I was able to continue to avoid conventional meds because I was prepared when I needed something. Sleepless nights were taken care of with lavender oil and chamomile tea, sinuses with eucalyptus, anxiety with kava root tea, and cramps with raspberry leaf tea. There’s something for everything, if you are willing to try!

-Exercise can make or break a trip. I started focusing on doing daily cardio about halfway through my trip and I noticed a by difference in my mood and energy level because of it. I aimed for 30-45min of cardio, and 10-15min of concentrated strength sequences per day. It’s fun to mix it up, too- running in new places, swimming laps at a pool, trying a new class at a gym.

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a pretty stop: st louis, mo

Next week we begin the first leg of a two month tour- and I am sure there will be more lessons to learn! What are your favorite ways to stay healthy when traveling? <