Every second person is coughing. Or sneezing. Or apologising profusely for their symptoms as they breathe into their scarf. There's lots of bleary eyes, huddled shoulders and general malaise.
The change in season will do it every time but this year it's made worse by the fact that we skipped the transitional autumn and fell from an Indian summer straight into winter. I'd become so complacent with the mild weather that I wasn't really prepared for the turn, hence I was madly rifling through the kids' wardrobe on Monday morning, searching for wool socks and layers.
(...touching wood as I type this...) So far, we've managed to steer clear of the recent bout of bugs. Che had a dry, irritating cough a few weeks ago which I treated with eucalyptus balm, plenty of water and this remedy from Brauer which worked immediately...as in, the cough completely subsided one hour after the initial four doses. Amazing! But now I'm feeling like we're in a vulnerable place. Che returned home from camp a little damp after being caught in a downpour, Daniel is teetering on the edge of sickness and I woke this morning with a scratchy throat and a grumpy disposition (5am is not on, Percy).
I have my go-to remedies to keep us all healthy and at this time of year I'm extra vigilant about eating well and staying cosy. I bellow from sun-up till sun-down about feet staying warm and lower backs being covered. Call me an old wife - I take no offence. No one gets away with bare feet or an exposed lower back under my roof!
I aim to establish a seasonal ritual to ensure I stay well during winter. This includes:
Immune boosting supplements : I take iron and a probiotic to keep me energised and well. If I'm particularly run down I'll take olive leaf extract, too. I regularly see a naturopath and have been doing so for years and I usually have a herbal tonic made especially for me. I'm still breastfeeding Percy so I need to take extra care to supplement my stores that are currently quite depleted.
Epsom salt baths : I take a few baths a week and use epsom salts to increase circulation (making it easier to stay warm) and magnesium levels.
Drinking room temperature water : it's easy to drink less water in winter when, in fact, we should be drinking more. My skin gets really dry as soon as it gets cold but regular water breaks keeps the skin sensitivity to a minimum. In the morning I drink one big glass with fresh lemon to kick start the body (and my sleep deprived brain).
Early nights + chamomile tea : it's the best medicine and regardless of the fact that Percy still feeds through the night, I find that a cup of chamomile keeps me calm and relaxed when he wakes. Currently drinking Serenity Tea from this divine pack.
Garlic : you can never have enough and I add it to every meal - in abundance. Usually I add it at the beginning when I'm sautéing onion but Jo, a naturopath from Franjo's Kitchen, recently advised me to add it at the end of the meal so it remains potent when eaten.
Broth : I harp on about it, I know, but it's like a big dose of immune boosting goodness. As a bonus, it also works to soothe the nervous system, hence it contributes to a calm, relaxed, wintry state. I'm making one batch a week at the moment - keeping some in the fridge for soup and freezing the rest (if you do freeze in glass containers make sure you leave a gap at the top as the broth will expand once frozen).
Eucalyptus balm : I rub it on the soles of my feet whenever I feel a little bit under the weather and I'll rub it on my upper chest if I'm coughing.
Diffuse oils : eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon and frankincense to dilate the airways and clear the air. This video explains in much more detail.