My Cold Survival Kit!

Life, Running / Saturday, November 11th, 2017

Hi Friends:)

It was physically challenging for me to type that happy face after my greeting because I assure you my face is not so happy right now. I noticed a little soreness in my throat on Wednesday, and by Friday I woke up with a productive cough and a fuzzy brain.

I HATE getting colds. Hate it. Colds mess with my whole system and throw my schedule out of whack. A few years ago, I would just pretend like I wasn’t sick whenever I came down with a cold; I’d keep on exercising, staying up late, and stressing myself out. And so for years almost every cold I caught turned into bronchitis and/or ear infections, and I’d wind up on antibiotics in the end.

Nowadays, I try to be a little bit kinder to myself when I’m not feeling too well. It’s hard for me to slow down, as you can probably tell from my weekly workout schedule and numerous side-jobs. But slowing down is what allows my immune system to do its job when things get tough. I’ve also figured out which home remedies work best for me when I’ve got a cold, and I’d like to share those with you today.

Now, as much as I like to be all natural, I (admittedly) don’t have the time, equipment, or funds to brew every Pinterest-perfect cold remedy from scratch. So just know now that this is far from an organic list of cures.

  1. Zinc Supplement: I used to spend $10 on Zicam tablets every time I got a cold…then I realized that I could get the same amount of zinc in pill form for much cheaper and with far fewer additives. I picked my bottle up at Wegmans, but you can find zinc vitamins in most pharmacies and grocery stores.
  2. Green Tea: I live off this stuff anyways since I recently gave up coffee. But it’s even more clutch when my throat is sore. I sometimes add a squirt of condensed lemon juice, too. The warmth soothes my symptoms, and the little burst of caffeine energizes me to push through my day.  I buy my organic Bigelow green tea in bulk at my local warehouse store, and it’s my favorite.
  3.  Halls Sugar-Free Honey Lemon Cough Drops: So, I have tried all the natural, organic, home brew versions of cough drops. Honey messes with my GI tract, though, and to be honest none of those remedies were effective in alleviating a really inflamed throat and settling a chesty cough. I buy a big bag of Halls at the beginning of every cold season, and use them liberally. They taste pretty awful, but they do their job!
  4. Eco Sinus Clear Essential Oil: I got this bottle in a travel set for my birthday. When I’m congested, I use it all over the house! I put a few drops in my tub when I take a shower, I use a diffuser in my bedroom, and I even throw a few droplets into the medicine cup of my humidifier. It really does help open my sinuses and it also smells truly wonderful!
  5. Emergen-C Drink Mix : I start taking one of these packets each day when I first feel a cold coming on. It tastes nice and sweet, which inspires me to drink a little more water (another essential step to getting well again) and gives me a bit of an energy burst, as well!
  6. Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier: I ordered this humidifier from Amazon about 5 years ago in an effort to put an end to my embarrassing (and nerdy) wintertime nosebleeds. It’s super effective, easy to clean, and works just as well today as it did back then. I put a bit of vapor oil or essential oil into the medicine cup when I’m sick, and it always seems to loosen up a tight chest and help me sleep through the night without coughing.
  7. Hot Water+ Lemon: I keep condensed lemon juice on hand at all times. When I’m congested, and sometimes just when I am chilled after a winter run, I put a few droplets of lemon juice into a mug of hot water and sip at it as I lay around.
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar: I feel like a total Pinterest weirdo advocating for this stuff. Seriously, everyone on Pinterest seems to believe that drinking ACV will make them skinny without having to change their diet or activity patterns. ACV isn’t THAT kind of miracle product, but vinegar does have anti-bacterial qualities. I like to put a capful of apple cider vinegar in my first cup of tea in the morning when I’m not feeling my best, and it seems to help break up any gunk that’s sitting in my chest from overnight. (TMI?)
  9. SLEEP: Sleep is our body’s best defense against illness. I try to get to bed super early and take some power naps throughout the day when I am sick.
  10. Chicken Broth: I know I should make my own broth, or whatever, but I don’t have the space, time, or like, knowledge to do that too well. So I buy the (low-sodium) boxed kind, and heat up a mug or two of it throughout the day. My mom is a nurse and told me to do this during college when I’d get bronchitis repeatedly every winter (because I was stupid and took terrible care of myself). It’s super soothing and studies have shown that chicken broth has actual chemical properties that can be beneficial for people suffering from congestion.
  11. Roku: I don’t have cable because I am too thrifty for that. But without exercise I get pretty bored, so my little old Roku box becomes my best friend. When I am binge watching, I feel no pressure to get out the door and into the gym!
  12. Sunbeam Heated Electric Throw: My apartment is actually in the attic of a charming old Victorian house in Boston. It’s quaint, and pretty and so, so poorly insulated. I got this fluffy heated blanket as a gift when I moved here, and it’s been so clutch. I basically live beneath it when I am sick.


I’m hoping to kick this cold within the next few days, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to be beating last week’s running milage (14) this week. That said, I think a bit of a down week will be good for me; our body sends us messages in lots of different ways, and this is just a signal that I need a week off. Lucky for me, I stated SUPER early with my marathon training, so there’s really no pressure to log miles if I’m not feeling up to it.

Next week, my goal is to run 16 miles; we’ll see how it goes!

Now You Tell Me…

  • Do you have any cold remedies that you swear by? 
  • Any Netflix recommendations?

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