Challenged to focus on the bright side

I must say, this past weekend has truly been testing my ability to stay positive and look for the best in life. There I was Friday, singing to my baby as I went about my errands, and planning a bbq with a couple of friends on Saturday. Saturday morning, I woke up with an extremely sore throat, my voice gone, and a snow storm outside.

Now, normally I’m not a wimp – sore throats come and go and my voice should come back in a few days. However, this time the pain was from hell. Unable to sleep due to coughing that would leave my throat more raw, triggering more coughing, waking up the kids who they would have to be cuddled and fed back to sleep. I couldn’t swallow even tea without pain, let alone trying to have some food. I would howl, only a mere thought of using my vocal chords almost reduced me to tears.

Beautiful start to a weekend, wouldn’t you say? It would be easy to stay in bed (or at least attempt to do so with two kids around), but I am easily bored, and, equally important, stubborn. And so I went about my day in as productive and positive a way as I could. My concession was to slow down and take things one at a time. I took a shower and then made my family breakfast of boiled eggs, avocado, cucumber, and pork pate, followed by some black tea with lemon, ginger, and cloves. I have then called and rescheduled the bbq, which could not happen in the snow storm in any case.

I had decided to give doTerra oils a try, and some have arrived this past week, so I thought this would be a good testing ground to see if I can speed up the recovery using the oils. I’ve tried diffusing a few different blends and oils throughout the day, gargling with some, putting some on my neck and feet, all while consulting with the groups online to determine a protocol to follow. An immediate relief came only from gargling with oregano and lemon, but as oregano is not recommended while breastfeeding, I have not repeated that one. Everything else alleviated the pain very marginally, making my tongue feel like it has been scraped in the process. I think I will stick to external applications, except for lemon and lime oils, for now. I also made sure to have garlic with every meal, including breakfast, took elderberry syrup, made myself a salad with fresh onions, took echinacea, probiotics, vitamin C, and tripled my vitamin D.

I would say, the day went in as normal and productive manner as it would were I not sick. I even managed to provide a healthy lunch to my partner and son (thanks to advance planning resulting in sweet potato soup residing in the freezer) and to go get groceries in the evening, after the snow has stopped (thanks to advance planning once more that had me put together a list of recipes and ingredients I needed for the week a day before). I have also managed to review all the treasuries I’m curating on Etsy (of which by now there are over 70) and update the ones missing sold or removed items. I did not set myself a goal to update all of them, but I’ve chipped at it throughout the day and ended up finishing the task.

The marinated chicken breast purchased for the bbq the day before, grilled in the oven and supplemented with a stir-fry of cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and cranberries, became dinner. That took all of 15 minutes hands-on time, including serving and cleanup.

The night was rough with coughing and baby cluster-feeding, and Sunday morning brought no relief for the throat. I had to opt out of a Consumers Supporting Midwifery Care meeting on Sunday night, as without voice I would not have been of much use. However, I did manage to gather my thoughts and provide some input via email.

More experimentation with the oils, another healthy breakfast, and another healthy lunch (thanks to the gingered zucchini and beet yam soups in the freezer), breastfeeding and playing with the kids, and generally taking the day slowly, gave me the energy I needed to address the weekly cooking session. Chopping ingredients when I had a free moment and using the slow cooker and the oven to simplify the preparation allowed me to end the day with a dinner of baked salmon, fresh veggies, and cocoa-toasted cauliflower from Well Fed (which was absolutely delicious!). We also now have almost all of our weekly meals ready: piña colada chicken, roasted spaghetti squash, Italian pork roast, Taj Mahal chicken, grilled skewers that didn’t make it to bbq, and a few chopped veggies and greens. Given the energy, I’ll be making the crispy chicken livers with crisp-sweet collards (from Well Fed 2) tonight, as they have to be consumed right after preparation.

It’s Monday and I’m still in pain. However, looking back on the weekend, everything that had to be accomplished, has been. Thanks to my partner, my son got to a skating rink on Saturday and to a toy store to get crayons on Sunday, so he’s been entertained even though I was under the weather. We did some colouring and building with wooden blocks. Kids got food, sleep, baths, and playtime; my partner got food, rest, and watched hockey on Saturday night; and I have done the planned cooking, learned about essential oils, completed the Etsy treasury maintenance, finished a 1000-piece puzzle, packaged a couple of Etsy orders, photographed the new potion vial pendants for Etsy, cuddled with kids, and got as much rest as I could despite the cough. Since I had some quiet time when the kids were asleep, I’ve also listened to more Wheel of Time – The Fires of Heaven, while doing the puzzle and cooking. I’d say I would rather remember all the accomplished things than focus on this hell of a pain that’s still piercing my head. Wouldn’t you?


What strategies do you have for sore throat? What do you do to motivate yourself when you are not feeling well?


  1. simplyfiendish

    Have you tried the basic, but tried and true salt water gargling? I found this has given me much relief in the past. Gargling several times a day with warm salt water can reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus, helping to flush out irritants or bacteria. It may not taste great, but then again, you are to spit it out, not swallow.

    Other than refrain from talking as much as possible, I also stay away from solid foods. Found it agravated the sore throat more in the long run. I stuck with lots of liquids and pureed foods, like soups, smoothies, apple sauce.
    This keeps your mucous membranes moist and better able to combat bacteria and irritants like allergens, and makes your body better able to fight what every bacteria/infection may be ailing you.

    Two most common causes of sore-throat pain are postnasal drip and a dry throat that results from sleeping with your mouth open when your nasal passages are blocked. Maybe try a saline solution, have a humidifier in your room.
    One old-fashioned remedy for a cold or sore throat is a steam tent — sitting with your face over a bowl of steaming hot water and your head covered with a towel to keep the steam in. Adding 1 to 2 drops eucalyptus oil can be soothing.

    There are several other remedies I could suggest, but they require honey and I know you cannot digest honey.

    It is so easy to get in a rut when things happen. Glad to see you didn’t let your health and weather get you down. Both situations are temporary and a bbq can always be done another day. :)
    The last couple of years I have been working on my mindset. Paying more closely to my thinking patterns. Positive thinking and change of outlook can definitely help with disappointment and stress. I am not perfect with being positive, but I believe there is progress from where I started. Forty odd years of growing up and thinking a certain way takes time and a lot of training. You can teach old dogs, new tricks.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery. :)

    • Thank you for the suggestions :) Did I mention I hate gargling? And even if I bite the bullet and do it, it doesn’t seem to do much for longer than 10 minutes. Same with the sweat tent (we used to do it above boiling potatoes) – it seems such a production to set it up, and the relief lasts only minutes. Still I might be desperate enough to try it tonight.

      We do have a humidifier which we run at night, yet I actually find I cough a lot more when it’s going. Last night I had to get out of the bedroom to sleep so as not to wake everyone else up.

      Agreed on keeping silent! I think I’m already better this morning (versus the entire weekend) through sheer not talking. It’s impossible to hold the vow of silence with a curious child running around constantly asking questions and requiring direction. Alone with the baby I can manage, although it saddens me when she looks at me expectantly and I don’t coo back at her.

      I did find a local honey I can have, and I’ve been using it extensively. The two remedies that I usually do are lemon + honey + tea, and honey + radish. Plus sometimes I just have a spoonful of honey in the middle of the night to quiet the coughing. I would appreciate any other suggestions involving honey. Or lemons. Or chocolate ;)

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  3. simplyfiendish

    I know you mentioned you hate gargling, but thought I would mention the salt water, anyways.

    Well it seems you use honey in the same way I do. I also drink cider vinegar. 1 tablespoon honey, any kind
    1 tablespoon vinegar, preferably apple-cider vinegar
    8 ounces hot water. Tastes better than it sounds.

    You mention radishes. What about horseradish? Combine 1 tablespoon pure horseradish or horseradish root with 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Mix in a glass of warm water and drink slowly. An old friend of mine said it was a old Russian remedy. ;)

    Also, if you can, avoid sucking. A nurse told me sucking can actually aggravate your throat more.

    • No chocolate involved, eh? Well, a woman can dream, can’t she? :)

      To be clear, I meant a larger type of radish – something like daikon. And yeah – anything involving horseradish and honey can be considered an ancient Russian remedy ;) Adding a tablespoon of vodka into a cup of black tea with lemon and honey is also one of those Russian approaches.

      I’m trying just about anything at this point. Had a fever last night and it’s back today, head feels like it’s full of wool. Trying to rest and drink random concoctions that are supposed to make everything better.

  4. simplyfiendish

    Sorry…no chocolate. I do know there is health benefits and boosts immunity, but I would not suggest it for sore throats, unless we knew the cause of it. It is suggested to stay away from chocolate, if you have a sore throat, in case you have a bacterial infection. The sugar in chocolate would actaull feed the bacteria, making your sore throat longer it resolve itself and there is the possibility it could cause yeast to grow.

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