Thankfully, I don't get sick very often at all. Oh, but when I do happen to catch a cold, I would have to say that probably the worst part about it is the fact that when my nose is all stuffed up, it can be hard as hell to get a good night's rest because breathing through my mouth is annoying. Like, super annoying. So, since it is officially cold and flu season, I think we all know that this is the time when we're more susceptible to catching the virus known as the common cold than ever. As far as preventative measures go, it's important that you strengthen your immune system, that you wash your hands every time you come into your house and prepare to have a meal and that you get plenty of rest (no less than six hours of sleep a night, if you can).
Yet what if you already have a sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, headache and/or some fatigue going on? While (amazingly) there is still not an official cure for the common cold, one of the best things that you can do to reduce the amount of time that you have to endure the virus (because most colds stick around for between 7-10 days) is to get several consecutive nights of sound sleep. And how can you pull that off when you have some (or all) of the symptoms that I just mentioned? Hopefully these 10 hacks can give you some of the relief that you seek.
1. Eat Something Spicy and Drink Lots of Fluids Throughout the Day
Now here's something that just might surprise you. If spicy foods are so your thing, use your cold as an opportunity to treat yourself. The reason why I say that is because a lot of spicy stuff contains some amount of chili peppers and a bioactive compound in those is capsaicin. Capsaicin is great because it helps to break up any congestion you may have. Not only that but spices like turmeric contain anti-inflammatory properties too.
Just make sure that if draining mucus is bringing gastrointestinal issues along with eating spicy things that you don't follow through with this first tip. The reason why is because, if your tummy is upset, spicy foods can make matters somewhat worse.
Speaking of things that you should consume, it's definitely important that you drink as much water as possible. Water helps to flush out your system, regulate your body temperature and keep you well hydrated. On the topic of drinks, you should keep caffeine at bay. Since it has a mild diuretic effect on your system, drinks like coffee should wait until you're feeling much better.
2. DIY a Saline Rinse
At the end of the day, saline is simply a mixture of salt and water. The reason why it can be super beneficial when you have a cold is because this combo has the ability to literally thin out the mucus that is clogging up your nasal passages. Also, if there is anything in your nose that is irritating it (to the point where you are constantly sneezing or feeling like you need to do so), saline can help to rinse that out as well (because there is nothing worse than sneezing or coughing throughout the night, chile). While there are saline nose sprays that you can easily find at your local drug or grocery store, you can also make your own solution by combining distilled water and non-iodized salt together. For step-by-step instructions, Medical News Today has your back. You can check it out here.
3. Also Make Your Own Eucalyptus Oil Rub
Some of us have semi-fond memories of our parents (or grandparents) putting Vicks VapoRub onto our chest when we were congested. While I have nothing against Vicks personally, I prefer going the all-natural essential oils route by combining some eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil like sweet almond or coconut. Eucalyptus is dope because it's loaded with antioxidants. Plus, the properties within the eucalyptol that's in it can decrease bodily inflammation, break up mucus and even slow down coughing. So, if you're looking for some Vicks-like relief, give your own eucalyptus rub a shot. The results that it provides just might surprise you.
4. Gargle with Some Baking Soda
Sometimes, when I feel the beginning of a sore throat coming on, I will pour a little bit of hydrogen peroxide down my ears. While the fizzing is triggering as all get out, it does seem to nip the throat discomfort within a day or so. There have been times when I've gargled with peroxide too, although I think that gargling with baking soda is just as, if not more, effective. The belief is that sodium bicarbonate is able to provide an alkaline effect to your system which causes the virus to decrease in its potency. So, before turning in, take a stab at making a mixture that consists of one cup of water, ½ teaspoon of baking soda and (if you wish) a couple of sprinkles of sea salt (which detoxifies). If you gargle this for five minutes at night and again in the morning, at the very least, your throat will feel better. As a bonus, your cold symptoms may start to go away sooner too.
5. Take a Shower Before Turning In
When it comes to the viruses that cause a cold, do you know what they enjoy? They like to play around in environments that consist of low humidity. One way to combat that is to take a nice hot shower. While typically, it's best to shower in warm water (because it doesn't dry out your skin), the more humidity that you can drum up when you're congested, the better. Just make sure that you "seal your skin" as soon as you get out by applying your favorite oil (maybe sweet almond, grapeseed or jojoba) before your towel off; that way, the properties from the oil will "lock the moisture" into your skin so that it stays nice and smooth.
6. Drop the Temp in Your Bedroom
Germs thrive in heat. That's why, if you have a cold, it's best to keep your bedroom at around 65-69 degrees, if you can handle it. Besides, is there anything better than curling up underneath some of your favorite blankets? Absolutely not.
7. Use a Humidifier That Comes with a Diffuser
Remember how I said earlier that viruses loathe low humidity? This is why it's such a good idea to invest in a humidifier (because it creates a mist that increases humidity levels in the room that it's in). Oh, and if you really want to piss those viruses off, get the kind that comes with a diffuser too so that you can reap the benefits of certain essential oils that also work overtime to keep viruses at bay. Some of those include peppermint (it's a decongestant and fever reducer); oregano (it kills germs); cinnamon (it's loaded with antioxidants that help to strengthen your respiratory system); lavender (it lowers your stress levels); sandalwood (it's a natural sedative that helps you to sleep more soundly); tea tree oil (it contains potent antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties) and frankincense (it calms coughing and even aids in healing bronchitis).
8. Slightly Prop Up Your Pillow
When it comes to this particular point, think about it — when you have a cold, doesn't it seem like your nose is so much more stuffed up when you're lying down? While it's actually the inflammation of the lining of your nose that is causing the biggest part of the congestion problem, if you prop your head up with an extra pillow and then lie on your side, this also can help to bring you drainage and some much-needed relief.
9. Treat Yourself to a Hot Toddy
While it tends to come with some variations as far as ingredients are concerned, the simplest way to explain a hot toddy is it's a drink that consists of whiskey, honey, herbs, spices and sometimes some lemon. Although the heat of it alone can do wonders when it comes to soothing your throat, believe it or not, the properties in whiskey are able to help to dilate your blood vessels and reduce any congestion you might be experiencing.
Plus, when you add to it things like cloves (which contain anti-inflammatory compounds), ginger (which has medicinal properties to reduce inflammation and help to heal a sore throat) and lemon (which is loaded with antioxidants), it's pretty easy to see how it could be a signature drink, at least one of the nights, while you're trying to get over a cold.
10. Or Drink Some Chamomile Tea and Honey
If you'd prefer to go the non-alcoholic route, how about a cup of chamomile tea? As far as fighting colds go, it contains properties that help to reduce inflammation, decrease anxiety (so that you can fall and stay asleep faster) and fight cold-related symptoms. If you add some honey to it, the texture of it will help to coat your throat as its properties will aid in suppressing your cough and speeding up the overall healing process. You'll feel less "cold-like" within an hour or so, so that you can get the kind of sleep that you need to get over your cold so much faster. Sweet dreams, sis.
For more inspiration, self-care, and health tips, check out xoNecole's Wellness section here.
Featured image by Getty Images
- Natural Remedies To Try Before Heading To The Drugstore ... ›
- 10 Natural Wyas To Heal From A Cold - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by JD Mason/ Unsplash