Staying Healthy

What’s in Your Winter Survival Kit?

Have your school notices started coming home yet?

You know, the ones from the nurse’s office, informing you of the latest seasonal illness circulating in your child’s classroom?

You picture that snot-nosed kid who started it all, with his juicy sneezes spewing cold germs on every surface, including your child’s favorite blue marker.

I got a few of those letters last winter.  My son was having a blast in Kindergarten but once the holidays hit, so did the viruses.

The first time he got sick, he missed the annual Children’s Christmas party at my husband’s workplace.  My husband sent me photos of my daughter decorating a humongous cookie, filling sand art snowmen and standing next to Santa for her official holiday photo….without my son.

We were tired of sitting in the pediatrician’s waiting room every few weeks, collecting stickers like it was our new hobby.  It seemed my son couldn’t recover properly from the last illness to brace for the next.  He also hates taking medicine.

At night, his room was transformed into a rain forest as the hot steam vaporizer chugged on.  Still, it didn’t help to clear his chest congestion and stuffy nose so he missed days of school recovering at home.

And what were we to do when he banned the blue raspberry, cherry and even the bubble gum flavored fever reducers from his room?

This year, I am determined to find a better way to fend off those missed school days.

I’ve started dabbling with natural solutions like essential oils.  It’s fun to mix my own concoctions and fill the diffuser – instantly, the room takes me back to those days when I could afford to go to the spa.

It’s more than an aroma though.  I should be putting the oils to work for me.

But what are the most effective ways to use them?

And exactly which oils do I need to get me through the cold and flu season?

I need to create a simple, natural survival kit that I can rely on.


Plant Therapy Essential Oils

Plant Therapy Essential Oils


I turned to my friend Francine for help.  Her health challenges led her into the world of essential oils a few years ago and she is a firm believer in their power.

But when it comes to trying these natural methods on her family, her kids are her toughest customers.

Francine is a mom of boys.  Active, confident, sports-loving, independent and opinionated boys.

So when she tells me that her son stretches out his arms before each sports match to get a fresh spray of his favorite essential oil, I almost don’t believe her.

And how he saunters past her essential oils display in the hallway, quickly reminding her that his own bottles are running low in his room.

I have to chuckle.

But I’m intrigued.


Francine’s mindset is to be proactive, not reactive.

Her favorite oil blend is called Thieves and is a proprietary blend of Young Living.  It is her primary oil for this time of year and she uses it in every facet of her daily routine.

If you don’t want to use this particular brand, you can find substitutes, as explained by Emma in her blog post:

Because Thieves is a blend, intended for a specific purpose, you shouldn’t mix it with another blend of oils.  However, you can certainly enhance it with another single oil.

Here are two ways Francine keeps her family protected:

  • Diffuse Thieves daily in your favorite cool mist diffuser. Diffusers can run for several hours, in a constant stream or intermittently releasing the potent mist.  The designs are endless but the majority of them function with a cord plugged into an outlet.


  • Rub Thieves on the soles of your feet daily before putting socks on. This method is best at night.  Francine would not recommend using cotton balls to apply the oil since too much oil is wasted on the cotton ball itself.  Instead, use a roller ball applicator attached to your oil container to spread the goodness around.





Grab a towel and add a few drops of essential oil to a large bowl of hot (not boiling) water on the table.  Cover your head and the bowl and inhale to your heart’s content.  It’s like being in the shower without wasting any water.  Here are the oils that work best with this method:

  • Frankincense
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint

 I tried this method the last time I was sick and I did not want to leave the table.  My face melted like chocolate chip cookies in the oven.  It’s probably my favorite at-home treatment.



Some people ingest a mixture of essential oils in a capsule, to offer similar benefits as an antibiotic.  Francine combines the Thieves blend with two single oils, oregano and frankincense, in a vegetable capsule.

Battling the cold/flu season with a few essentials

If you want to try this, please make sure you are purchasing an essential oil that is intended for ingestion.



Are you like me, always running out of vapor rub?  Make your own, Francine says!

I had no idea you could make it with just two ingredients!  Add one of the essential oils listed below to a base of either coconut oil or pure aloe.  Francine explains that the thick base will keep the essential oil on the surface longer, making it more effective as an inhalant while you sleep.

Sinus Congestion Rub

Choose your favorite and add to base:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Cedarwood
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemon
  • Frankincense
  • Eucalyptus
  • RC*

Chest Rub for Phlegmy Cough

Choose one from the list below and add to base:

  • Eucalyptus Radiata
  • Peppermint
  • Cedarwood
  • Lemon
  • Frankincense
  • RC*

Sore Throat Rub

Choose one of these soothing oils and add to base:

  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Tea Tree

*RC is a Young Living blend of spruce, cyprus, and three types of eucalyptus oils – E. globulus, E. radiata, and E. citriodora.


My son won’t take his medicine but I can spritz him with a bottle of this easy mixture below before he runs off to hide.

Add a few drops of one of these oils to water and store in tinted glass spray bottle:

  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Lemon



Diffuse or roll on one of these:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • PanAway*

*PanAway is a Young Living blend of wintergreen, helichrysum, clove, and peppermint essential oils.



Diffuse or roll on one of these:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • M-Grain*

*M-Grain is a Young Living blend of basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint, roman chamomile and helichyrsum essential oils.


As you can see above, Francine gave me quite a few options to choose from.  You might already have some of these oils so use what you have or experiment with new ones.

If I were just starting out with essential oils, I would:

  • Purchase a few of the versatile oils (Thieves or similar blend, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, lemon, frankincense and eucalyptus),
  • Set up diffusers in bedrooms and in main living space,
  • Scout Amazon for small, tinted spray bottles and bottles with roll-on caps,
  • Decide if I want to use coconut oil or pure aloe for my vapor rubs
  • And my favorite part: find a small container to store my oil collection that’s portable and easy to access.


The most important thing that Francine passed on to me is to be consistent with your application of the oils.  The oils are effective but they’re not instantaneous or magical – you will see results over time.

And THEN, you will find yourself furiously suppressing the urge to bring up your success with essential oils during every lull in conversation.

Resist.  Let them be intrigued.

In other news, the Children’s Christmas Party is looking like a sure bet this year.

Post your cold/flu solutions below – I would love to know what you keep in your essential oil Winter Survival Kit!

All you need is a few essential oils to survive the winter
Here’s my little kit before I check out Francine’s cool recommendations.

Please note that this is NOT a sponsored post or a paid review and I do NOT receive any incentives if you purchase items from Young Living.

Some of the essential oil blends mentioned above are sold exclusively through Young Living – feel free to browse Francine’s online store.  You can also check out selections from other popular companies such as DoTERRA and Plant Therapy, among others.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even mix your own DIY blends – go for it!

32 thoughts on “What’s in Your Winter Survival Kit?

  1. I am literally experimenting with my very 1st set of oils, so I am loving this post! Thanks for joining our linky and I hope you made some new friends and had fun. Have a great week Zaleina

    1. Thank you, Christine! I’m looking forward to transforming my house into a spaaaaa….Have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday!

  2. Thank you for this! I have a good collection of essential oils as I love them and want to learn more. I have really only used them as really expensive air freshness though!! I am going to bookmark so I can learn more about how to use them!

    1. Yes, I did the same, Liz! Then I became curious about why people loved them so much so I’ve started setting up a diffuser in my kids’ rooms to see what happens this winter….

  3. I have been hearing so much about essential oils, but I must admit I’ve never tried them. I’ve been fighting a head cold and it’s driving me crazy, so I’m ready to give them a try! I pinned to my Health board! Thank you for sharing this at Party inYour PJs.

    I like to make Fire Cider, based on Rosemary Gladstars recipe. This year I added elderberries for that extra kick. You can find the recipe by searching Mountain Rose Herbs blog. (Where I get most all of my ingredients as it is local for me…not affiliated, but LOVE THEM!) I usually make about 4 quart sized containers (old glass Braggs bottles) and start in August so it will be ready by mid-October ( it takes a minimum of 4 weeks, 6 is better to steep)
    I do diffuse essential oils as I have three diffusers and several (4) tiny crock pots that I let simmer with citrus peels, cinnamon, cloves and rosemary sprigs, being sure to add water several times to prevent boiling dry. You could also use essential oils to the crock pots. They really make rooms smell nice, and as my home was built in 1945, it needs that extra freshening.
    I hope everyone reading this tries essential oils as I firmly believe in them and their healing abilities. Just use caution and NEVER use straight oils on your skin or internally! They are VERY potent and can cause damage,

    1. Thank you, Carol, those are lovely ideas that I’ve never heard of!! Now I know what to do with those tiny crock pots.

  5. The really funny thing is that I might have to use some of your tips for hubby this year – ever since he has been working at our kids’ old primary school as a sports assistant, he goes down with everything that does the rounds! #BloggersPitStop101

    1. Try one or two of your favorite oils on a consistent basis and you might find that you look forward to setting up your diffuser after a long day!

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