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Common Sense Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season

Common Sense Ways to Beat Cold & Flu Season

Fall is here which makes for colorful trees, cozy cardigans and comfort food. Unfortunately, it also means flu and cold season is about to hit.

Every year without fail my daughter’s class gets overrun with the sneezing, coughing, running nose pandemonium. No parent wants to see their child miserable with the cold or flu.  Add the necessary day taken off of work with your sick child to the mix and it becomes an even bigger dilemma.

And, if you didn’t know, it already is a big dilemma. The 2014-2015 flu season reached epidemic status. It was one of the worst on record and teachers can only do so much to keep the classrooms sanitized in a sea of runny noses. A University of Arizona Study showed that when someone is sick in an office it only takes four hours for it to spread on surfaces around the office. Transfer this same idea to a classroom with several little hands who are probably not as hygienically conscious as the typical adult and we have kids who don’t typically like sharing joining in.

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Instead of waiting until the inevitable and working against the symptoms, and with all of the conflicting ideas about the flu vaccination, here is a great list of preventative measures you can take.

Diet

Most people know that their diet has a huge effect on their health, but paying extra attention to it during winter months is the key to beating cold and flu season. This is often a time when people start eating heavier meals and the holidays bring many tasty additions. During this time making sure both ourselves and our children are still getting all of the proper micro-nutrients necessary for a healthy immune system is very important, and guess what large orange vegetable has vitamins A, B, C, potassium, copper, magnesium and iron all in one? Pumpkins! Just in time for the holidays. You can add pumpkin to chili, soups, stews, and smoothies.

Another way to help the little ones’ bodies fight off the bad guys is by adding probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are a natural way to boost your immune system to help keep those pesky cold and flu bugs away. One great source is yogurt, most importantly Greek yogurt. Try adding yogurt to your chili and stews in place of sour cream. Other great probiotic choices are sourdough bread and miso soup. Yum.

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While we’re talking comfort foods, adding something sweet to the list is a must. Honey is another food that has been proven to have natural microbial and antioxidant powers. Add a little to your kid’s cereal or oats in the morning or even some yogurt for an added sweetness.

Another large natural preventative vitamin that the family can get through a healthy diet is zinc. You can get large amount of zinc in pumpkin seeds! Another reason for all things pumpkin this season. You can also get large amounts of zinc in mushrooms, spinach, and chickpeas (great in chili).

Sleep

During the fall and winter months it gets dark earlier so making bedtime a bit earlier for the little ones should not be too difficult. Moving bedtime up even one hour gives both you and your little ones more time to rest. A fatigued and burned out body will have to work harder to fight off a cold or flu. Lack of sleep contributes to an unhealthy immune system so making sure to stay well rested plays a key role in helping you stay healthy.

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Cleanliness

Easier said than done with most kids, but this is by far most important factor in keeping the germs from school from getting back into your home. Having to remind the kiddos to wash after using the restroom can get rather repetitive quickly. A great way to remedy this is with notes. In my home a simple sticky note next to the sink, “Don’t forget to wash your hands” works wonders.

Another great preventative measure is hand sanitizer. At school kids don’t have mom or dad there reminding them to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they sneeze and blow their nose properly. It is just the way of things, so I send my little one to school with hand sanitizer as well. There are some great tutorials for natural hand sanitizers you can make right at home.

Lastly, noses are like filters that trap debris. For very young kids this won’t do but once they are old enough to blow their own noses a simple neti pot is a great way to clear out all airborne organisms or bacteria as well as moisten the nasal passages during the dry months.

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All in all it comes down to paying attention to the smaller details, the things that we overlook or simply are too busy to pay close attention to. This flu and cold season focus on these natural preventative measures. Making an extra initiative to eat healthier, sleep better and watch for germs could work for you. Chances are someone in the family will still catch a cold or flu but instead of counting on over the counter help when signs of illness start creeping up using preventative measures decrease the seriousness and length of the cold or flu if caught after all as well.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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