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The All Natural Sick-Day: 6 Smart Ways to Recover Faster

My summer holiday plans were ruined by 3 of the most aggressive sick days of my life. Yes, I know, waahh wahh... poor me, like I'm the only person who gets sick. But here's the thing -- I like to think of myself as some sort of special health unicorn, who hops over illness at every turn, just defusing it with magical glitter sparkles. That's what you get for working in the health and wellness field. You do tend to be healthier, but when you eventually get sick (I'm apparently not a unicorn 100% of the time) you're completely ashamed.

My inner monologue during this 3-day barf bender:

"HOW COULD I HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN?!?! Did I slack on my supplements? It's probably because I skipped the gym... I DID use toxic nail polish the other day, and it probably killed some immune cells. This is all my fault."

Did I mention my conscience is a nerd too?

Even worse is having to cancel plans with your friends and family. "Are you guys coming this weekend?" "We were going to, but SHE'S super sick." ... my husband says over the phone as I hide in the corner (because everyone either assumes I'm lying on my death bed... or just lying).

BUT ENOUGH OF THE SAP STORY. The point is, that I do sick days a little differently than you might. Here's what I do instead of running to an urgent care:


1. I avoid sugar.

I have no sweeter memory than being sick as a little kid, and my dad bringing me 7UP or Sprite in a cup with a bendy straw. I basically melt thinking about this scenario (and the time he brought me brand new Legos I didn't have to share), but I've made one minor change as an adult. Since sugar feeds bacteria that may very well be the source of your illness, swap the soda for carbonated water. That same mild bubble taste, but without the corn syrup. I also ditch desserts, dairy, and strange enough orange juice, as they're all pros at feeding bacteria and creating mucous and inflammation in your body. 

2. I get acupuncture.

It's a little sad to say, but even as full defender of alternative medicine, I can't explain why acupuncture helps so much. Trust me, it's on my to-read list, but for now all I can do is swear by it. I do know it's been helping people for thousands of years, and it can help bring energy in your body to or from certain areas. ESPECIALLY if your sick day is filled with sinus-y symptoms (runny nose, fever, congestion... etc.) acupuncture is amazing. When I was 19, an acupuncturist put a tiny needle in my neck, and said "your fever will break in a few hours"... she was right. It blew my mind, and now it's one of the most comforting treatments I can get during a rough patch of illness. It's helpfulness is not limited to heartburn, nausea, headaches, joint pain, etc. 

3. I get adjusted. 

Yes, I'm a little biased, but it's proven that getting adjusted by a chiropractor boosts your immune system. On a chemical, and neurological level your body is better able to cope with whatever illness you've got cooking. Research shows that you literally make more illness fighting cells right after you're adjusted! Not to be gross, but during this most recent illness I threw up so hard that my sternum when out of place. Having it adjusted changed my whole day, and maybe my perspective on life. It isn't uncommon for our spines to be especially stressed when we're sick. Think of all the weird positions your body's in when you sit, nap, cough, sneeze, or throw up. It's all physically stressful on your spine, ribs, and muscles. Treat yo self to a normal feeling body during your day off!

4. I bump up my intake of 3 key supplements.

Antioxidants, Vitamin D, and probiotics have a HUGE say in our immunity. They are the all-natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial warriors of the supplement world. Antioxidants have gotten the immune system glory for a long time. After all, who hasn't seen someone chug down a bunch of emergen-c packets on a plane? The combo of additional antioxidants (vitamin A & E, and selenium) and a handy power charging amino acid (like alpha lipoic acid) will make vitamin C even stronger. This is why our Power Antioxidants would beat those little powder packets in an arm wrestle any day. Super great antioxidants shouldn't over shadow the shine of Vitamin D when it comes to getting healthy. After all, we've told you about it's endless super powers before. Especially when plagued by the flu, vitamin D has been shown to be exceedingly effective. Round out your sick day supplements by getting more good guys on your side. That is, good gut bugs, or probiotics. A healthy gut helps make a healthy body. If you're having trouble keeping down your usual vitamins, focus on these 3 until you get back to normal. The joy here at Well Labs is that we have a powdered probiotic, and a liquid vitamin D so you can completely avoid swallowing capsules if you can't handle that idea when you're on the down and out.

5. I get a lymph drainage massage.

A whaaaat?  Ok this is the weird one. You might not know a lot about your lymphatic system, and that's ok (it's not offended). What you should know is that your lymph vessels are where your immune system lives (aside from the part in your gut). When you get sick your immune system is working over time, and your lymph vessels (they kind of look like blood vessels) can get clogged up. A lymph drainage massage will be lightest pressure massage of your life, but it has a very different goal than a deep tissue muscle massage. The therapist presses on lymph nodes in a certain pattern, acting as a squeegie to each lymph node to help it drain in the right direction. Lymph work is usually reserved for post-surgical patients, or people with huge amounts of swelling, but I use it for even the most mild cold to speed up the healing process, and kick the gunk out faster! Added bonus... multiple times I've gotten rid of enough excess fluid that my pants fit better when I got off the table. Thank you sweet, sweet, lymph massage.

6. I dive into the world of homeopathic medicines.

One of my favorite homeopathic companies is Boiron. You can find their medicines online, or at your local health food store. Homeopathics are super diluted combinations of herbs and ingredients that tell your body to "kick it in gear!" and get over whatever symptom you're feeling. The're like a motivational coach you don't have to listen to, and tend to taste like candy (most are safe for kids to use too). Oscillococcinum and Nux Vomica are the unsung heroes of cold and flu recovery. Pro-tip: they're also great if you have a hangover, but who needs to know that... ;) Don't know where to start? It's best to find a naturopath, herbalist, chiropractor, or functional medicine doctor that has experience with homeopathic medicine.



So... no. It's not your average sick day (or days, if you're unlucky). These all-natural sick day swaps are focused towards boosting your body's already killer healing powers. Instead of covering up symptoms with medications, consider this more gentle and natural approach to getting well. If you need me, I'll be over here working back to magic-health-unicorn status...

Hannah Anderson
Hannah Anderson