This time of year is very pretty to witness. Although I am not a fan of the drop in temperature, I can appreciate the transition into winter, and it is a delight to have front tickets as Mother Nature proudly displays her Autumnal colours. Tree’s begin to look bare as the green leaves fall off turning yellow, red, orange and brown. On the way to the gym last week, as I crunched dried leaves under my shoes I saw lots of different sized brown shiny conkers. I collected a few to display on my dressing table. Our strawberry patch has dried up completely and the leaves look nothing like their former fan shaped lush green selves. They are now skeletons of the leaves they once were… and look hauntingly beautiful.
The Autumn reminds us its time to harvest our crops, butcher animals and buckle in for the winter months. Conserve energy and hibernate until the spring. For us that means switching from Summer wardrobes to Winter, getting the shopping in and turning the heating on. We’ve had the heating on perhaps since late September – dad and I always argue when the heating should come on. For me it’s as soon as the temperature outside drops to 16 degrees. For my dad – it’s when the temperature inside drops to 18 degrees. This means the Autumn/Winter is a constant battle between me and my dad about the heating. It’s become a fall ritual!
Colds, Flu and a change in Hue
This time of year is also when some humans turn. The change in weather brings about a change in the human complexion, as we loose our healthy dewy bronze glow and our condition deteriorates. Yes, that’s right – I am talking about the common cold. That drains the colours of life from our faces. It can range from a little sniffle, to a full blown assault on the senses. Runny noses, sore throats, horrible coughs… and then it all gets a little more sinister. The congestion starts to build in the front part of the head blocking our sinus’ cause horrendous headaches. The infection sits on your chest making it hard for you to breathe. You’re coughing and spluttering everywhere and blowing your nose 50 times a day. The side of your nose turn red from the constant wiping. The infection turns, from clear to yellow to green…
I have just about recovered from such a cold. It lasted 3 weeks. I tested for covid; lateral flow tests and PCR’s which all, thankfully, came back negative. But it was not nice and I didn’t feel like myself. I hated going into work as I coughed up my guts in the corner between takes. The poor crew all thinking “we hope we don’t catch what she’s got”. That made me feel a little ‘othered’ and perhaps I should have called in sick but that would have meant a huge disruption to filming schedules. And we were told “as long as it’s not covid, you should come in”.
I also am the type of person who doesn’t like taking tablets for a headache let alone getting antibiotics to pump through my system. I prefer the natural process of building up my resilience to the infection and as a result I very rarely get ill.
About 5 years ago I was in a show and was attacked by a virus worse than described above. I was so congested, I could not hear, had blurry vision and my ability to think had vanished. I’d lost my voice, the mic made no difference, the gallery could not hear me. Every time I coughed I thought my head was going to explode. The invasion of infection had completely taken over and I just wanted to curl up and sleep till it was over. However, there was no understudy and cancelling the show was out of the question. This was a huge touring show by a West End producer and the show would go on matter what. I had to get better.
With all that said I thought I would share my favourite home remedies. Ones that have kept me going and that I absolutely swear by.
One of the actors in the show let me into a little secret. The juice of two lemons, a levelled teaspoon of baking soda, and a little water – if you want. It is said that this little concoction helps sooth sore throats and eases symptoms of a cold. Baking soda helps kill bacteria and keeps it from spreading. It can also help break up mucus that is stuck in your throat and on your chest. Loosening it up means it has more of a chance of coming out of the system through coughing or blowing your nose. I did this twice a day, and perhaps this little remedy plus doctor theatre helped me get better! Lemon is also good a source of vitamin C which helps keep our immune system fighting fit. Make sure you drink it quickly because the baking soda fizzes up as soon as the spoon hits the lemon.
Honey is also said to have a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey in tea with lemon can ease sore throat pain and can also be effective in reducing symptoms of a cold over time. Honey can also be an effective cough suppressant, too. Taking a spoonful of honey before you go to bed eases the cough.
Steaming is also said to help loosen and shift the infection. I found steaming in a bowl, with a little eucalyptus and lavender oil incredibly soothing. It helped clear my sinus’s for the night, at least so that I could breathe and get as good a nights sleep as much as the cold/flu would allow. Again doing this twice a day is reported to have huge effects on opening up the airway passages and relieving the symptoms.
Of course this is just what has worked for me in the past and as we have acknowledged I am not a fan of modern medicine. If your conditions persist – please do see a doctor.