As the flu season hits us like few others that have come before, we find ourselves reaching for innovative ways to uplift our spirits and get our health back on track. It is to be expected, of course, that our immune systems aren’t as robust as they once were, and this year we need a little extra TLC to keep our health flourishing. These are the winter wellbeing remedies we’ve been leaning on at Denizen to help get us through — we hope you find a little goodness for you too.
IV Vitamin Therapy
When it feels like moments away from everything crashing down around you, with little to stop you from sinking into bed and letting sickness take over, let a banana bag be your friend. There is much to be said for the incredible benefits of modern medicine, and having IV vitamin therapy on speed dial can really leave you feeling like a million bucks in mere minutes (or hours). Depending on your symptoms, you will find a cocktail of nutrients best tailored to you — but you can never go wrong with some high-dose vitamin C at this time either. Our favourite local purveyor of this helpful service is Drips NZ, who offer a comprehensive menu of vitamins to suit any kind of need and an easy mobile IV service that comes direct to your house. Administered by a registered nurse and only requiring about an hour of your time, Drips is as straightforward as it is life-changing.
Daily Zinc Dosage
Equally as important as vitamin C for immunity is the essential mineral zinc. This natural compound is often looked to for skin health, for its role in protecting you from acne and blemishes. Zinc acts as a barrier in the body, preventing pathogens and viruses from entering the cells surrounding your organs. It’s a lot of science-speak, but the key takeaway here is that there’s no such thing as too many zinc-rich foods like oysters.
Gargle Saline Solution
On advice from my naturopath (and years of watching my mother, who is rarely sick), saline solution is the trick to fighting sickness. It doesn’t need to be a complex or costly process either; simply dissolve salt in a glass of warm water, gargle a mouthful, and repeat until it is all done. This creates friction in the throat, making it challenging for viruses to cling on and remain stable. Instead, they are sent to the stomach, where they can be dealt with by all the good bacteria — preventing illness before it arrives.
Steam inhalations will be your new best friend when the scratchy throat starts to become somewhat stuffy. Best performed first thing in the morning, and as you go to bed at night, the inhalation routine involves tea tree oil (I love to use Olbas Oil), boiling water, and a towel over your head. I recommend using the 10 minutes (which can drag on) to sink into a podcast or a quick meditation. Alongside shifting any congestion through your sinuses, it also removes any impurities in the skin while giving them a hydration hit — it’s a win, win, win.
It has often been reflected that you are what you eat, a notion that certainly rings true in winter. Now more than ever, you want to be eating some of the most wholesome, nourishing foods that are seasonally available, like soups and soul-warming spicy dishes. This time of year also calls for the welcome addition of immune-supporting foods — those that promise to act as both medicinal and culinary delight.
Saunas & Ice Baths
If you’re feeling up to it, a little hot and cold therapy goes a long way in safeguarding your immune system for the future. A gentle sauna could be just the ticket to help your body sweat out all the nasties (while leaving you feeling revived), but if you’re more advantageous, following it with a plunge in an ice bath to test the strengths of your immunity. See for yourself what happened when our editor-in-chief took the plunge with some contrast therapy at local spot, Hana.
Gentle Hot Yoga
If you’re someone who prefers to stay a little more active, even when you’re craving rest, a restful hot yoga class can go quite a long way. These sessions don’t always have to be power or Bikram, but studios like Basecamp and Studio Red are known to offer more gentle, nourishing fusion and yin classes in their heated spaces.
Rest & Sleep
It is no secret that ample sleep is the most potent remedy, and when it comes to keeping any winter bugs at bay, an entire eight hours is essential. Yet when the stress of the day becomes apparent, or you are tempted to stay up late catching up on new episodes of whatever show you’re addicted to, a little natural support may be needed too. We are very excited about Two Island’s new sleep-inducing herbal elixir, Night Cap, as well as Jeuneora’s latest release, Beauty Sleep, a plant-based adaptogenic hot chocolate superpowder that makes a strong case for hot cocoa before bed.
With these natural remedies at your beck and call, winter illnesses and lingering flu cases stand little chance of bringing your health down to its last leg. Instead, winter can be a season where you can actually thrive, should your body be given the best chance to protect itself.