Holistic alternatives to staying healthy during this pandemic

Photo courtesy of theinertia.com.

STEFANEE MONTESANTOS | OPINION COLUMNIST | smontesa@butler.edu 

It is day — insert number here — of quarantine. Morale is low and we are all going a bit stir-crazy being cooped up in our houses. Anxiety levels have peaked, and the fear of getting sick is always looming in the air. I know that the only sickness on people’s radar these days is the coronavirus, but you can still catch the flu, get a sore throat or even have severe allergies.  Now, if you do start to experience coronavirus symptoms, please go to your nearest facility to be tested/treated. Your health and safety is what is most important. But, if you simply feel under the weather, need a pick-me-up or want to work on an overall healthier you to prevent said illnesses, you have come to the right girl. 

If there is something to learn during this pandemic, it is that your health is of utmost importance. A healthy body allows us to do what we love and move towards our future — it’s easy to forget this when we are cooped up in our houses every day.

Now, this quarantine does not have a finalized end date just yet, but it will end in due time. Until then, all we can do at the moment is make sure we stay healthy for ourselves and others. Some natural ways to do so are to use vitamins, herbs, roots and essential oils. Nature’s remedies often work just as well as the regular ibuprofen tablets, but are easily forgotten in this time of modern medicine. Again, I am not encouraging people to forgo their medicines. Mother Nature’s medicines are simply supplemental. 

Vitamins 

Don’t you miss the days where your Flintstone Gummies were the best ways to get your daily dose of vitamins? Now that we are old — I know, lame — there is not much that we can get out of those gummies, vitamin-wise. Now there are separate men’s and women’s multivitamins that smell like the earth compacted into a tablet. Not as tasty as a Flintstone Gummy, but they definitely have more of your desired daily intake of vitamins. I know taking your vitamins every day is not nearly as fun as it used to be as a kid, but they are still important to take. There is absolutely no way that your college diet of three cups of coffee a day, some ramen noodles and a scoop of peanut butter for dessert gets you all the nutrients you need in a day. Not to mention the binge drinking on the weekend. 

Now, a good multivitamin never hurt anyone, but during this pandemic, I am sure some immunity-boosting supplements would be helpful. As we all know, Vitamin C is the number one vitamin that boosts immunity. All you have to do is go outside when it’s sunny, eat lots of citric fruits, or mix some Vitamin C packets in your water. Some other vitamins that help your immune system are Vitamin B6, Vitamin E and Vitamin D. 

Herbs and Roots

My favorite way to use herbs is by drinking tea. Steeping a nice warm tea and sitting down to stream my favorite show at night has become a quarantine ritual of mine. They are simple and easy to use. All you need is a tea bag with the desired herbs and some hot water. 

To boost your immune system, any sort of tea with hibiscus and/or rose hips are essential. To help simmer down from a long day of Zoom University, some chamomile tea with honey soothes your throat and your soul. And, if you just need a pick-me-up, some lemon balm tea goes a long way. 

You can also incorporate roots into your teas — ginger and ginseng blend very well with other herbs. I personally find that they taste best when incorporated into recipies rather than steeping in my teas. Ginger and turmeric can soothe a sore throat, along with boosting your immune system. Not to mention, they taste great in soup. Ginseng is a perfect antioxidant to add to your juices or a smoothie. 

And my personal favorite, cinnamon, is one of the best immune-boosting antioxidants to add to just about anything — oatmeal, pancakes and toast. 

Essential Oils 

Unlike vitamins and herbs, essential oils should never be ingested. They are for topical use and aromatherapy. If you have a diffuser, that is perfect. They are super simple to use, and really help lift the spirits of a living space. If you do not own a diffuser, don’t worry, there are other ways to disperse the smell of certain essential oils. 

Boil some water in a pot, let it settle into a simmer, then add a few drops of your desired essential oil. If you feel slightly congested, you can use eucalyptus, thyme or mint to clear your nasal cavity. If you want to relax, a little bit of lavender can go a long way, but if you want a smell a bit softer, jasmine works just as well.

I hope that this article finds you well. This is a time of our lives that no one expected. It can feel overwhelming, lonely and heartbreaking, but it is important that we take care of ourselves and others. We may be stuck in quarantine, not able to move forwards towards our desired futures, but we are still able to work towards a healthier and happier tomorrow. So, take a bit of time for some self care, use the resources that Mother Nature has provided, and rest. 

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