Getting Over a Cold, the Tea Leaves and Tweed Way

First, a bit of self-promotion: Please take a minute of time to take a look at my current Volition Beauty campaign. I’ve spent the last few months in discussions with Volition to develop the idea for a dual-targeted, matcha-infused hair multi-masking system and I’m excited that the campaign is finally live. I would appreciate it so much if my readers would help vote this into reality!

So I’ve been a bit quiet lately and part of the reason for that is that I’ve been sick. It started last week with a bit of a sore throat, that seemed to peak and get better by Friday, but then came back, along with congestion and coughing, this past Tuesday. I spent Wednesday and Thursday at home, recovering. I’m feeling better, though still not 100%.

Because the first sign of illness was a sore throat, my regimen of treatment has focused heavily on tea with honey in it. I’ve split my tea between herbal infusions and the occasional cup of green tea. I find that when I’m home sick, it’s very easy to forget to have a cup of something with a bit of caffeine, and a caffeine withdrawal headache is not something I need on top of a bad cold. So I have a bit of a cup of green tea with some honey and then switch to herbals. My favorite this time has been ginger because it both helps soothe a sore throat and helps break up mucus. I apologize, but given the state of things, there was no way I was going to get through this post without mentioning mucus at least once. Twice, now.

At first, rest and honeyed tea were my main remedies, but my other favorite cold remedy is even simpler: salt water. For a sore throat, I mixed up a cup of warm salt water to use as a gargle on my raw throat. Later on, when the congestion set in, I used warm salt water in my neti pot to help clear my sinuses. Of course, I boil the water I use in my neti pot, just in case anything unsavory lurks in my water, and then let it cool until it’s comfortable to pour into my nose. It’s not exactly a fun thing to do, but it is effective.

Other than that, I’ve been getting lots of rest. I’m grateful that most of my job can be done from the sofa, so I’ve worked at home, away from coworkers I could infect. I would get up only to make some soup or some more tea. Luckily, it wasn’t a terrible cold, and I was feeling well enough last night to meet some friends for dinner, so hopefully I’m completely on the mend now and not going to relapse again. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

On Healing, Slowly

I’ve finally hit the tail end of this nasty cold. I no longer sound like a consumptive Victorian lady, for the most part. I do still have to walk around with my face swaddled in a scarf to avoid letting the cold air into contact with my delicate lungs. But I am also back at work. Boyfriend and I took a nice long walk yesterday in the sunshine to make sure I could handle my walk from the train station. I have to say that, while it was lovely to get out of the house and be active, I did feel it.

That’s the problem with being sick. It’s not just about getting better: it’s also about getting back to where you were. It’s been three weeks since I’ve been to my aerials class. It’s been almost a week since I’ve gotten regular exercise. If I hadn’t had to take my medication with food, I’d barely have been eating. As it is, I feel like yesterday was the first day where my appetite was approximately normal.

And that will return, slowly. It likely helps to have this episode at the new year, as I have no temptation to diet or restrict myself with food because I’m in a place where I know I need to be eating more, not less, right now. For now, I’m focusing on feeling normal and good. I did another pampering skin care ritual last night, along with a lovely hot bath, scented with lavender bath salts. I decided to increase the luxury by slathering my face with True Nature Botanicals face oil while I bathed, letting the oil and steam soften my face. After I emerged from the tub, I massaged a generous amount of frankincense-scented lotion into my body. Then, I exfoliated my face with a bit of rice and oat flour, washed my face, toned, and put on a sheet mask. This infused me with a bit of much-needed moisture. Duly moisturized, I patted in the serum, added face cream and topped off with a bit of a massage with my rosehip seed oil. It was lovely. The final touch was to spritz my hair with rosewater and glycerin, apply a bit of a lovely new scented hair oil I got recently, and braid for bed.

While it’s a bit fussy for every night, it certainly put me in the right frame of mind to rest before returning to my daily routines this week.

An Old-Fashioned Remedy for What Ails You

And, no, it’s not alcoholic. While I’m no stranger to the shot of whisky that helps cure a cold, this is something far more restorative. As I mentioned before, I’ve just recently recovered from a somewhat grueling illness that started with a bit of a sore throat, looked like it was becoming a cold, and then turned into the worst sore throat I’ve had in years. It went from the early-cold dull ache to the ragged, razor-y feeling every time I even thought about swallowing. Sadly, the doctor could not find evidence of strep throat (which would have meant antibiotics and a relatively quick recovery), so I was left to my own devices.

Now, lemon and honey and vinegar and echinacea have their places in my arsenal of illness fighters, and they all came into play. Cayenne, oddly, became my throat-soother of choice, as a spicy-sweet brew of raw honey, vinegar, and cayenne in water, gargled often, left my throat feeling much better.

But by far my favorite remedy was good old fashioned broth, or rather garlic broth. I found a company that makes traditionally-simmered bone broths and sells them vacuum packed in pouches in the freezer section at my store. I prefer the chicken broth. I defrost and simmer one cup of broth. While that simmers, I peel and finely grate one fat clove of garlic (or two smaller ones) into a mug. When the broth is hot, I pour it over the garlic. It’s not exactly raw garlic, but it still retains some of the heat and bite of raw garlic. I sip this and feel my throat feel almost instantly soothed. It’s also nourishing and restorative, particularly at a time when one finds oneself unable to eat much of anything solid. The broth contains protein and makes a welcome break from sweetened teas. And there is some evidence that chicken broth may actually have some true use against the common cold.

Whatever the science, I know this will become a go-to remedy, and even though I’ve started feeling better, I will probably continue my morning mug of broth throughout the winter.

A Short Break

As mentioned in my last post, I spent the week before last struggling with an illness. Just when I thought I was feeling better, and even had made it back to work, it hit me again. I only recovered in time to fulfill my duties as a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding that weekend. But from there, I practically got straight onto a plane to go on a trip for work.

So, worn from illness and the stress of a long day at the wedding, I immediately stressed my poor body further with travel, and then with the rigors of a conference, which often involves late nights and more to drink than I generally have. Of course, I’d used up any buffer of posts during my illness and did not have my computer or camera with me to post while I was away (which is a shame, as I encountered some beautiful pastries!).

But, I managed to keep myself up, perform my nightly skin care ritual, and swipe on my red lipstick at the conference. I found that my favorite wrap-front dresses were a godsend for traveling. I managed to travel in vintage-inspired style and made it home safely. So now I’m back, and I have some work to do getting myself fully healthy and rested and stress-free again. I hope all of you had a lovely week last week!

On the Importance of Beauty During Sickness

A short post today, just a quick musing. You see, I’ve been sick the last couple of days, and I’m not yet feeling 100%. I was hit rather suddenly Tuesday afternoon with body aches and later a bit of a fever. I suppose it was a kind of flu. I was able to drag myself into the office for an hour yesterday to take care of things that needed taking care of, but otherwise, I’ve spent most of the last day and a half on the couch, with lots of fluids and Advil.

Today, I am back at work. And because I still wasn’t feeling in tip-top shape, I’m dressed a bit nicely. I’m wearing one of my effortless Ellaina Boutique dresses and put a bit more makeup on than usual. Some days I skip blush and undereye concealer, but not today. And I’ve decided to go with pink lipstick rather than a red that makes me look porcelain on a good day, but wan on a bad.

Personally, I find that taking a shower and doing a little something with my appearance does me a world of good when I’m getting over an illness. It’s that in-between time, when you feel good because you feel so much better than you’ve been feeling, but you know you don’t feel like normal again. And I’ve generally found that when I feel like my normal self, I tend to look a little under the weather. Or as my coworker said yesterday, “Yeah, you still look a little green,” which I imagine was a metaphorical reference to my gills. But yes, I did likely look quite a bit off yesterday, but so far no one has noticed a difference today. Which helps me feel like I’ve gotten back to normal.

The other reason I like to look pretty on days when I don’t feel pretty is because having beautiful things around me makes me feel better. Looking in the mirror and seeing rose-pink lips and pearl earrings brightens me spirit on a day when I really need it. I chose one of my fantastic printed dresses so I can look down and feel uplifted by the blues and golds of the print when the work day seems to drag and I want to go home and curl up on the bed again.

What about you? Do you find yourself taking extra time to make yourself look good when you’ve been sick? Or do you like the excuse to go easy on the beauty for a day?