8 Challenges of Expat Life

8 Challenges I faced while living and working in Spain (and how to deal with them)

Many people dream of living in foreign country.

Whether it be for work, education, a new beginning, a love of travel, or to gain life experience, there are many reasons why moving internationally can be encouraged.

While the list of benefits of living abroad can be great and many, it may be beneficial to understand some of the challenges of expat life when changing countries for the first time.

As a young Australian university graduate, I decided to pack a suitcase and move to Barcelona. The first few months felt like a holiday, but culture shock hit hard when I started trying to adjust to life in my new city.

I was unprepared for such a big move. From acquiring a residency permit to dealing with local real estate agencies, there were plenty of early challenges. Then, once I had finally secured employment and started to settle in, the homesickness began. But I was on the other side of the world, so there was no simple cure.

As an expat, you face countless difficulties that you may not experience in your country of origin. Some of these challenges can be prepared for, while others will be unexpected, but many are beneficial to your growth as an individual.

Below are the greatest challenges I faced while adjusting to life in foreign lands and my best advice for overcoming them.

Language barriers

For obvious reasons, language barriers can limit communication. One of my greatest difficulties of adjusting to life in a foreign country was having no grasp of the native language. This made it impossible to effectively communicate with most people I met, or understand the text on important documents that I had to complete.

While, in most countries, you can get by with just a basic understanding of the native language, the simple solution is to just practice speaking. Use learning applications, watch videos or TV shows in the language you want to learn, take lessons – just practice speaking the language you want to learn. It gets a lot easier over time and most locals give you brownie points just for trying.

For those that are currently learning another language or just need a fast translator, the Google Translator app is effective and can translate photos, but the free DeepL Translate app is superior in accuracy.

Changes in economic environments

One of the contributing factors to my culture shock was the realisation of how little employees were paid in my new country of residence, compared to what I had come to expect from living in Australia. Instead of being able to live comfortably off a single salary, I had to create additional streams of income to enjoy a similar quality of life.

While many of us are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely, if you do plan on moving overseas to find employment, there are some countries that are better than others when it comes to earning a living. Ensure you will be able to find work suited to your profile, while living your desired lifestyle with your earnings.

It helps greatly to develop a unique skill that allows you to sell your services no matter where in the world you are.

Being far from home, friends and family

It took a little over 25 hours of flying from my home town in Australia to arrive in Barcelona. Not only is such a long journey in economy seating an uncomfortable, physically exhausting, potentially stressful and often unpleasant experience, it’s also bloody expensive.

Being away from friends and family members for long periods of time can pose emotional challenges for all of us, but thankfully it is now easier than ever to stay connected with the ones we love.

Mainly due to the travel time, I have only once travelled back to Australia in the three years since leaving, but having the occasional friend or family member coming to visit helps ward off the homesickness.

Making friends

It can be tough being the new kid on the block, especially when a language barrier comes into play. I initially struggled when adjusting to life in a new country, without the comfort of being able to visit any of my friends at a moments notice.

Prevent any feelings of isolation by building a network of friends and professional connections. Making friends within your workplace is an excellent start, as well as looking for anyone with similar interests, such as through joining a sporting team.

The classic way of meeting people and striking up a conversation (in places like bars, health clubs, libraries, etc.) is tried and proven to be successful. But in the age of technology, it helps to be connected. Apps like Meetup, WhatsApp, and facebook are fantastic for finding groups of people with similar interests, while Tinder can be useful for making intimate friends.

Changes in financial situations

Life is unexpected. You never know when you are going to have to dig into your savings account to cover an unforeseen expense.

Be sure to make a plan before moving overseas. Look at how much money you have saved and determine how far it will get you. If you have financial commitments that will follow you no matter where you go, put away security funds, have a constant and reliable stream of income, or secure employment before you make the move.

Managing expectations of people

While growing up and working in Australia, I was held to strict standards of communication and customer service in all of my professional environments. Many of us are trained from a young age to go above and beyond when completing tasks or providing services, which certainly contributed to my culture shock when I first arrived in Spain.

From being ignored by waiters in restaurants and cashiers in grocery stores, to being abused by bus drivers, I was shocked at how some people could treat others while providing a service in public. It did make a little more sense after I realised how low the average wages were, but kindness is still free no matter where you are.

Basically, I’ve learned that you enjoy life a lot more when you lower your expectations of others.

Differences in bureaucracy

If you find difficulty dealing with bureaucratic affairs within your own country, you may need assistance when immigrating to a new one.

An article by This Is Spain states that bureaucracy in Spain is one of the greatest challenges for expats, which was certainly true for me, as well as most expats I have encountered while living abroad.

Bureaucracy should not be a make or break factor in deciding which country you would like to live. The best way to prepare for any challenging foreign bureaucratic applications is to find someone who has successfully completed the same application and ask for guidance. You may also seek professional help, which usually comes with hefty pricing.

Taxes

If you are planning on living between two countries and receiving profits from activities within both, it’s important to understand the regulations surrounding taxation.
Speak to an accountant with knowledge of both countries’ taxation requirements to help avoid making any costly mistakes with Uncle Sam.

Moving abroad gives you the freedom to live by your own rules, often leading you down a path of independence and self-discovery.

The difficulties faced when moving overseas depend on countless factors and will differ greatly between individuals. Some challenges you can prepare for, others may come as a surprise, but none should discourage you from chasing your dreams.

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.

Goal Setting & Visualisation: critical tools for success

Understanding the importance of goal setting and how to get the most out of the process

Whether it be to understand the path you wish to travel in life, devising a way of getting there, or even just keeping you on the right track, goal setting can improve many aspects of our present and future-selves.

I was fortunate enough to be taught about goal setting in secondary school. My teacher explained that, “In order for you to achieve your goals and not be discouraged by failure, your goals should be SMART. This means that all goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.”

While the teaching is true, the interpretation of the realistic part is important.
A younger version of myself believed realistic to mean that our goals should not be seen as crazy, or outrageous, but always within our reach to avoid disappointment.
This was a fearful mentality that I held onto for years.

Then I discovered the true significance of goal setting and the power of our beliefs.

Why do many great leaders believe that you can do anything you set your mind to?
Why do they constantly affirm that there is no limit to what we can achieve? Belief.
It’s all about what you believe.

There are a great number of critically acclaimed literary pieces that explain the importance of belief in yourself, including The Secret (R. Byrne), The Power of Now (E. Tolle), The Power of Positive Thinking (N. Vincent Peale), Think and Grow Rich (N. Hill), 12 Rules For Life (J. Peterson), and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck (M. Manson), as well as countless hours of free podcasts available from experts on success, such as Tony Robbins, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Abraham Hicks, Lewis Howes, and Sadhguru.

With relevance to setting and achieving goals, one book stood out with a powerful message that is currently being spread all around the globe.

The Secret, by Australian author, Rhonda Byrne, explains how the Law of Attraction works in our every day lives. Rhonda Byrne interviewed 55 teachers of The Secret around the world, who all had a similar message to share. “Whatever you think about, you draw into effect. Good or bad, it does not matter. The Law of Attraction works by bringing your dominant thoughts into reality.”

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, explains the Law of Attraction’s presence in our daily lives and streaming is available for free on Spotify.
There is also a video documentary available, but I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by the author.

What do all of these renowned texts and influential figures agree on?
The power of belief, as well as our ability to create lives beyond our wildest dreams.
What limits most of us, however, is a lack of gratitude and a lack of belief that everything we desire is within reach.

The practice of gratitude is visualising what you are grateful for.
As per the Law of Attraction, when you practice gratitude, you are visualising, and therefore attracting, more of what you are being grateful for into your life.

Feel the feeling of having whatever you desire and hold onto that feeling.
Imagine that you have achieved your goals and be grateful for everything you desire, before you have it. Believe that anything you want is already yours and you fast-track it into your life.

The power of our minds and thoughts has been largely suppressed by modern society, so it is understandable if anyone scoffs at the lessons on this page. So let’s look at goal setting from a purely physical angle.

If our thoughts had no creative power, then what would the benefits of setting goals be? There are a wealth of known benefits of goal setting, including:

  • A goal setting session can help you understand what you desire from life
  • Goals keep you focused on what’s important and moving in the right direction
  • Working towards goals gives a sense of purpose
  • Working towards goals can teach the importance of prioritising
  • A goal can deter Shiny Object Syndrome, which is jumping between tasks and not making any real progress in the big picture
  • A goal allows accountability and responsibility for an action
  • A goal can help overcome procrastination
  • Having a goal allows you to measure progress towards your desired achievement
  • Having goals can motivate you to achieve more than initially expected
  • Goals can keep you motivated to continuously achieve great things
  • When you are constantly thinking about your goals, you are far more likely to make decisions that will bring you closer to reaching them
  • Achieving the right goals feels good and helps you live your best life

With all of the clear benefits of setting goals, what are you waiting for?

Sit down somewhere peaceful and think about all the things you want to achieve.
Ask yourself what do I want from life?
Think about short term goals, as well as what you want in the future.
Think about goals you would like to achieve every single day, then write it all down.

From that list, decide what you want to start working on in that moment and then give yourself a deadline for completing it. You’ve got a goal, now start believing it’s yours. Aside from a bit of hard work, it really is that simple.

Here are a few useful tips to remember when setting goals:

  • Pick goals you are passionate about
  • Make your goals SMART
  • Write down your goals and look at them daily
  • Create reminders for daily tasks or big deadlines
  • Give yourself enough time for completing tasks
  • Setting multiple goals (in stages) is better than one big, unrealistic goal
  • Reward yourself for accomplishing each goal
  • Understand any risks or obstacles to success to mitigate them
  • Evaluate goals, both successful and unsuccessful
  • Talk with your support network about your goals
  • Prioritise one goal above all others
  • Regularly visualise yourself achieving your goals (feel it)
  • Remind yourself WHY you are working towards your goals
  • ALWAYS be positive about your goals

Do not be afraid to set outrageous goals and if you fail, do not be discouraged.

Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our mind. – Plato

The Magic Mushrooms to Consume Daily

Seven of the most powerful fungi fruits and their health benefits

Neither plant, or animal, mushrooms are the reproductive structure (fruit) produced by some species of fungi. While many are nutritious, some can be fun, and others can be dangerous, but all of the mushrooms discussed below can provide great benefit to the mind, body and soul.

News Medical

Reishi

Consumed for it’s mood lifting and immune boosting properties, reishi is undoubtedly one of the most popular medicinal mushroom strains for cultivation and consumption. This powerful fungus promotes weight loss, strengthens the immune system and contains cancer fighting properties. Reishi is also full of triterpene, a phytochemical known to alleviate anxiety, ease depression, improve sleep and sharpen focus.

Powdered reishi is commonly consumed as tea and in the evening, to benefit from it’s sleep enhancing effects.

Preventative Care with Medicinal Mushrooms: 5 Reishi Mushroom Benefits

Lion’s Mane

With a flavour similar to seafood, lion’s mane is commonly used in Asian cuisine, but not only for it’s taste. This mushroom contains antioxidants and other bioactive substances that are beneficial to the heart, brain and stomach.

Consumption of lion’s mane promotes the production of the bioprotein, nerve growth factor (NFG), as well as myelin, an insulin critical to brain health. Containing compounds that stimulate the growth of brain cells, lion’s mane is associated with the prevention of neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease. This mushroom may also improve cognition, memory and concentration, while potentially reducing irritability.

The Beginner’s Guide To Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Chaga

The chaga mushroom is an adaptogen. Adaptogenic plants and mushrooms help to bring the body back into balance and have beneficial effects on various parts of the body, including the: immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, GI tract and endocrine system.

Also packed with antioxidants, chaga mushrooms are used for fighting free radicals and inflammation. Chaga has been effective in combating oxidative stress, which, in turn, reduces the effects of skin ageing, potentially inhibiting cancer growth and reducing low-density lipoprotein (LD), also known as, the bad cholesterol.

Chaga can be consumed in smoothies, teas and other warm beverages.

Family Health Advocacy: Chaga Mushroom Benefits

Shiitake

A strong meaty (umami) flavour makes shiitake mushrooms a popular kitchen ingredient, but they are also particularly good for providing energy and maintaining optimal heart health. Shiitake may reduce LDL, reducing inflammation and improving blood circulation, while also containing compounds that inhibit the absorption and production of cholesterol in the liver.

The shiitake’s culinary versatility is undeniable. This increasingly popular mushroom is now being offered in the United States as a sautéed side with kale and chicken, while also being transformed into a meatless jerky.

Rooted Active Naturals (store)

Turkey Tail

Turkey tail is rich in antioxidants, but also contains an immune system stimulant, known as, polysaccharide-K (PSK). Used as a chemoimmunotherapy agent in the treatment of cancer in Asia for over 30 years, PSK is an approved anticancer prescription drug in numerous continents.

As a rich source of polysaccharide-K, turkey tail is linked to the prevention of cancer, increased survival rates in cancer patients and improved immune health in chemotherapy recipients.

Turkey tail is available in powdered supplement form, but has a bitter and less pleasant taste, when compared with the varieties listed above.

The Medicinal Benefits of Turkey Tail Mushroom

Cordyceps

A truly unique fungus with a range of uses, including the treatment of: coughs, chronic bronchitis, respiratory disorders, kidney disorders, nighttime urination, male sexual problems, anemia, irregular heartbeat, high cholesterol, liver disorders, dizziness, weakness, ringing in the ears, unwanted weight loss, and opium addiction.

The cordyceps mushroom is known for being very stimulating, for both energy and the libido. It can also promote better utilisation of oxygen and an improved blood flow.

While the health benefits are undeniable, the cordyceps mushroom has a darker side. In an episode of Hostile Planet, National Geographic refers to this fungi as the Zombie Parasite. Watch the clip here.

About The Cordyceps militaris Mushroom

Cubensis

The OG and one, true magic mushroom, the psilocybe cubensis. Psilocybin is currently being heavily trialled for its uses in the treatment of: treatment-resistant depression, treating addiction and relieving cancer-related psychological distress.

In 2019, healthline published a news article titled, Mushrooms as Medicine? Psychedelics May Be Next Breakthrough Treatment. From treating depression to helping manage alcohol addiction, researchers say legal medical “magic mushrooms” have many potential benefits and the results may warrant the quick path to legalisation.

For more information about the magic of mushrooms, I highly recommend one of my favourite documentaries – Fantastic Fungi (available on Netflix). Another interesting film titled, Magic Medicine, explores the effects of psilocybin on patients with severe depression.

Psilocybin Mushrooms Shown to Alleviate Depression & Anxiety in Cancer Patients?
Risks and Benefits of Microdosing

While not all of the 20,000, plus, strains of fungi are friendly, species such as reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps, chaga and turkey tail are proven to work wonders for your mind, body and soul.

The majority of the mushrooms mentioned above can be sourced fresh, or in powdered, supplement form. Consult a medical professional if you are unsure, but would like to know more.

Which mushroom are you most looking forward to trying next?

Toxic Traits of Perfectionism

Being a perfectionist does not make you better at your job

For most of us, we are our own worst critics, harshest judges and self-inhibiters of creativity. When this is taken to an extreme, it’s known as perfectionism.

There are countless definitions of perfectionism. According to psychology, perfectionists are people who hold standards beyond reason, straining compulsively towards impossible goals, while measuring their own worth entirely on productivity and/or accomplishment.

Basically, to a perfectionist, anything short of perfection is unacceptable.

While perfectionism is often a hindrance to productivity, we must acknowledge that it does have some favourable points.

In the case of many great business leaders, including one of history’s most noteworthy, Steve Jobs, perfection can push an overachiever to continually outperform expectations that are thought of by many as too ambitious or unachievable.

Job’s perfectionism led to numerous damaged relationships and temporarily cost him his position at apple, but it also motivated him to be the greatest in his field, leading to the creation of world-changing technology that will be forever remembered in history.

For perfectionism to be harnessed in a way that stimulates productivity, such as in the case of Steve Jobs, a little training and great awareness of oneself is required. When understanding how to overcome a perfectionist mentality, it is important to understand what kind of perfectionist you are dealing with.

Perfectionists either apply perfection to others, such as in the case of a boss to employees or a parent to their child, or they will constantly feel like their work isn’t good enough. The traits of perfectionism can be divided into one of three distinct categories, listed below.

Self-oriented perfectionism comprises beliefs that striving for perfection and being perfect are important and is characterised by setting excessively high standards and having a perfectionist motivation for oneself.

Self-applied pressure to overachieve creates a fixation on unimportant aspects of tasks, which often go unnoticed when appreciating the final product.

Other-oriented perfectionism comprises beliefs that it is important for others to strive for perfection and be perfect. Other-oriented perfectionists expect others to be perfect, and are highly critical of others who fail to meet these expectations.

When reporting to a perfectionist in a professional environment, it may seem that nothing is ever good enough, which can be demoralising for employees.

Socially-prescribed perfectionism refers to the tendency for an individual to believe that others expect perfection from him, or her.

Fear of other’s expectations can lead to mental health issues like depression through fear of expression. Performance anxiety is a common symptom of both socially prescribed-perfectionism and self-orientated perfectionism.

Studies have concluded that all three categories of perfectionism can lead to stress, overworking, burnout, anxiety and depression. Researchers also reported that a large number of respondents within the studies classified the fear of making mistakes as paralysing, causing counter-productive behaviours.

Perfectionists are often unreceptive of the feedback critical to growth and some are even proud of their perfectionist traits, as if it makes them seem like harder workers. In both cases, removing traits of perfectionism requires awareness, consistency and effort.

So no one should aim for perfection, but what if perfectionism is already deeply rooted?

The first step to ditching the toxic traits of perfectionism is to be aware of which perfectionist behaviours one exhibits. Only once you are woke to something can you make conscious decisions to behave in a different manner.

In combination with awareness, you can employ the following strategies to harness perfectionism into a more productive energy:

Set more realistic expectations of yourself and others. Often easier said than done, but critical when trying to shift from a perfectionist mindset. Start with small changes, but the aim is to gradually show yourself that, most of the time, near enough is good enough.

Relax your beliefs. A belief is merely an opinion and should seldom be treated as a hard fact. Be open minded in all situations.

Be imperfect on purpose. Deliberately doing something imperfectly and then resisting the urge to fix it increases the tolerance of imperfections and ones ability to comfortably go without achieving perfection.

If you have to perfect something, make it time management. Think about the Pareto (80/20) principle, which states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. In other words, 80% of results come from 20% of actions.

Whether used for a project, or in daily life, the 80/20 rule allows for effective prioritisation of time and the avoidance of fixation on minor details. Spending less time perfecting smaller aspects of projects or tasks allows more focus on areas of greater importance, or relaxation when it’s all done.

At the end of the day, perfectionism can be advantageous in a professional environment, but not without risking the health and wellbeing of yourself and those around you.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
If you want to unleash your creativity and realise your true potential, release the toxic fears associated with perfectionism.

A Lesson in Real Estate: the best price isn’t always the best deal

You only get out what you are willing to put in

When it comes to business, I have always been a bulldog for getting the best deal.

Ticketed price? Forget it, I would always find a way to pay less.

In my teenage and young adult years, this mentality seemed to serve me greatly. When I had cash to splash, I liked to indulge, but I could stretch it further than most people I knew.

As a young adult, I had a bigger bank account than most of my friends, but I refused to touch it. My relationship with money was so unhealthy that until I was 25 years old, not only did I refuse to spend anything, I preferred to hoard my earnings over investing them, costing me dearly in hindsight.

Now, I can safely say that money should never be hoarded. It will always come and go, but the older I get, the more I am beginning to understand that the more you give, the more you will receive.

This is by no means an instruction to go out and spend more money or be more generous. This is a lesson I learned from dealing with a cheap investment management firm, instead of one who actually wanted to get the job done.

Above all else, efficient property management requires effective communication.

In 2013 I purchased a one bedroom flat and resided there for a few years, before eventually moving out and self managing the property while rentvesting.

When it came time to leave my home land, I set sail and left my beloved asset in the hands of a property manager.

The main difference between the sales and leasing of property is the way agents are paid. Sales agents earn commissions, while most property managers receive the same monthly salary, regardless of their performance. The guaranteed pay cheque often leads to complacency in the workplace and the issue of poor communication that is widely recognised throughout the industry.

Before appointing a property manager, I set meetings with numerous local property agents. My mindset at the time was find the best deal.

I set meetings and collected advertising material from a number of local agencies, but the choice was simple.

One firm stood out with by far the lowest management fees, which was exactly what I was looking for, so I signed an agreement appointing Raine & Horne Brisbane West as the guardians of my asset.

The 4 key roles of property managers.

The first twelve months went by without any significant issues, but communication began to diminish shortly after this point. Communication is the most important factor in effective property management, so this was the first big red flag.

Around Christmas, just shy of two years into the partnership with Raine & Horne Brisbane West, my air conditioner died. This was a problem for the tenants, as temperatures often exceed 40 degrees celsius during the Australian Summer and cooler weather was still months away.

I requested the immediate replacement of the air conditioner, but found myself having to monitor the process to ensure it was being completed. A new unit was not installed for another three months, which upset both myself and the tenants.

When raising my concern about the lack of communication, I was met with hard defences, as opposed to an apology or promise to do better. Another red flag.

It was only weeks later that I found charges on my rental income statement for emergency repairs from a company I was unfamiliar with. This greatly upset me, as I have a nominated company to complete maintenance, who would have charged me only a fraction of what I had involuntarily paid.

What made this infuriating is that I found out about the unapproved charges from an income statement – as opposed to a courtesy call or email from the agency. The final red flag.

I reached out to Raine & Horne Brisbane West to raise my concerns about the negligence shown and breach of contract, but I was met with the termination of our management agreement from by the company director.

When I received the email from the director of Raine & Horne Brisbane West, terminating our management agreement, I felt nothing but relief and optimism for the future. A fresh start with a company that cares about their clientele.

That afternoon I spoke with a few contacts in the industry, requesting some referrals and reaching out to the top candidates.

At 8:30pm I received an email from an agent. The rapid response impressed me, as many Australian property managers have a no email policy outside of business hours and I often waited days for a response from my previous property manager.

The agent, from a large and reputable firm, requested a time to make contact during business hours the following day, before promptly reaching out when the time came.

Normally, a respected agency’s name comes with a higher price tag on services, but this was no longer a concern as I had learned a valuable lesson from my previous property manager.

You get what you pay for in business.

The new agent brought a welcome change to my daily schedule. While living in a different time zone, I no longer feared the emails that I may wake up to and I was quickly able to relax knowing that my asset was being managed by someone who cared about the work that they were responsible for completing.

You cannot put a price on peace of mind, but there are a number of other reasons that illustrate the importance of appointing a proven property management firm.

Effective property managers will often achieve the best rental prices through having:

  • Brand name recognition (prospective tenants already having confidence in the company)
  • The confidence and determination required to achieve exceptional results (the best agents never give up on a prospect)
  • Experienced and efficient company management behind them (agents looking up to the right people and having an efficient admin team)

Effective property managers see the importance in communication and relationship management, ensuring:

  • Regular communication, resulting in all parties always being on the same page (parties understand each other’s decision making process)
  • Happier tenants, resulting in a higher chance of lease renewals (constantly looking for new tenants is expensive, try to keeping the ones you have)
  • Good relationships with contractors and priority for work orders (fast repairs when something goes wrong)

Effective property managers pay attention to detail, avoiding issues such as:

  • Appointing the wrong company to complete jobs (expensive and frustrating)
  • Ignoring stipulations within the contract (illegal and/or unethical)
  • External parties not receiving correspondence (causing delays to jobs)

When you own an investment property, all property related expenses are tax deductible, meaning:

  • The more you pay to the agency, the less you pay to the government!

There are bound to be other factors that support the differences in fee structures between property management firms, but as a former industry professional, those listed above are the most significant.

In real estate, agencies who charge too little are usually offering a low quality service, or they will have too many properties on their rent roll for the property managers to be able to keep up with their work loads. If a service is too cheap to believe, it’s probably too cheap to be effective.

While the message in this is to not be cheap when it comes to business activity, that does not mean that you can’t find a quality service at a good price. Using a referred agent ensures that you are employing the services of someone who has proven results, so just be sure to do some research into prospective property managers before signing a management agreement.

For recommendations or advice on the Sales and Leasing of Australian property assets, feel free to get in touch.

Was Brisbane’s 2022 Flood Preventable?

What was learned from Brisbane’s 2011 flood?

Most of Brisbane’s residents are familiar with the city’s 1974 flood. Peaking at 6.6 meters (22ft), the 74 flood destroyed 8,000 homes and claimed 16 lives.

Most residents of Australia are familiar with the 2011 floods, which affected 75% of Queensland, an area greater than France, Spain, and Portugal, combined.

This catastrophic disaster claimed 28,000 homes, 3,500 businesses and 28% of the Queensland rail network. 5,900 Queensland residents were evacuated from their homes and 33 people lost their lives.

Brisbane’s Inner City suburb of Roaslie in 2011. Image by Glenn Hunt.

Queensland’s 2011 floods were caused by heavy rain from tropical cyclone “Tasha” that joined with a trough during a La Niña event, all following record breaking amounts of Summer rain. Of the 18 recorded La Niña events since 1900, 12 have triggered flash flooding in parts of Australia.

While 37 years separate Brisbane’s 1974 and 2011 floods, the 2022 event comes just 11 years after it’s predecessor, which was agreed among many Brisbane locals as being a preventable disaster. But what happened this time?

On the 22nd of February, 2022, Higgins Storm Chasing issued a warning for a significant weather system, bringing dangerous storms with extreme rainfall that would likely lead to life threatening flash flooding.

HIGH Risk Flood Map Updated 22nd Feb 2022

As predicted, Queensland was hit by a slow moving low pressure trough on the 24th of February 2022. The system brought three days of heavy rain which triggered flash flooding in numerous regions of Queensland over the weekend of the 25th of February.

Over 300mm in 3 hours triggers flash flood in QLD – 25/02/2022

Wivenhoe Dam, South East Queensland’s largest water storage and the main supply of water for Brisbane, reached almost 180% capacity before releases into the Brisbane River were commenced at 4am on Sunday the 27th of February.

By Monday, seven people had been confirmed dead, while the State Emergency Services (SES) had received over 1000 calls for assistance, including more than 40 swift water rescue jobs.

Australian State Emergency Services (SES) Volunteers in action. Click here to support a worthwhile course.

With the flood water levels peaking during the high tides on Monday the 28th of February, experts declared that the worst of the event had passed – but it was far from over.

Rain continues throughout Southeast Queensland during the week, so water levels will not subside quickly. Residents currently remain stuck in their homes, or evacuated and awaiting the safer conditions to return and commence disaster recovery efforts.

While it’s no secret that Australia’s weather can be unpredictable, wild and dangerous, it’s hard to say that the Queensland Government was not aware of the imminent danger before disaster unfolded.

Members of the 235,000 strong, Higgins Storm Chasing community, raised the alarm on the 22nd of February 2022. Awareness was spread virally through mail alerts and social media, before the Queensland Government responded.

A press conference was held with Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, on Friday the 25th of February. Flood warnings were given, but the Premier told Queenslander’s “not to worry”, as her team of experts had assured her that disaster would not strike Queensland.

Fast forward to Sunday and Premier Palaszczuk is giving another press conference to address the flood, now labelled as an emergency. During this conference, she again refers to her team of experts, who “could not have seen the event coming”, but who she also wanted to “provide Australians with a level of assurance.”

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

No honesty, nor sincerity could be heard in the Premier’s voice, or seen in her body language. She was, however, challenged by a brave reporter, by the name of Henry, who did not let her leave without asking a million dollar question:

“Why were the rainfall forecasts that you warned about in parliament, not taken into account to allow significant releases of water from the dam, to allow for spare capacity? Why was that not done, at all?”

Henry – Reporter at the Queensland Premier’s 2022 Flood Update

Her response was simple and blunt.

“What do you mean? I mean, there has been a whole lot of modelling that has been happening.”

Henry stood his ground and again called out the Premier.

“No, forget the modelling, I’m talking about releases of water.”

He continued, “Are you aware that the new manual that your government commissioned, doesn’t actually permit for releases of water based on forecast rainfall?”

The Premier twisted her words to avoid answering the question directly.

“Ah well what we have been doing is that we have been listening to the bureau and thats what we do. They have been going through all of the modelling and they have been following all of the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry, okay?”

Henry tried to inform Premier Palaszczuk that this was not correct, but she overpowered him to close out the conversation and begin another rehearsed falsehood.

“Now let me say this to Queenslanders, no one expected this rain bomb to be sitting over the southeast of our state for such a long period of time. Let me be very clear about this, this is like an unpredictable cyclone and it is the levels that we have never, um, expected, or could never have been forecast. Now everybody is doing a whole lot of, um, extra planning, on top of what has already been planned.”

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk

Again, brave Henry sees the holes in the Premier’s story and chimes in, “But extreme rainfall was forecasted, you warned about it yourself last Wednesday.”

They continued to debate until Premier Palaszczuk again tries to end the conversation, this time more successfully. She closes with, “Okay, look, I’m sorry, I have experts here who will talk to you about that,” before swiftly taking her leave.

What makes the Henry’s initial question so powerful is its relevance to the previous catastrophic flood in Brisbane.

It is believed that Southeast Queensland’s, Wivenhoe Dam, was originally built as a flood mitigation source, but was eventually converted for use as water storage and supply, although the SEQ Water website states that it was built for both purposes.

Wivenhoe Dam with open flood gates.

In 2011, Wivenhoe Dam was exceeding it’s capacity due to the excessive rain – but water was not released until it was too late, causing the need for a large volume of water to be released at once. During the emergency releases, many communities along the Brisbane River’s 344km stretch were ripped apart by the huge volumes of water that came surging from the dam.

Experts believe that the simple solution to preventing Brisbane’s 2011 floods was preventative controlled releases of water from Wivenhoe Dam, but how was this information applied to the management of Brisbane’s 2022 floods?

As Henry states during the Premier’s press conference, the rainfall forecasts that Premier Palaszczuk warned about in parliament were not taken into account to allow significant releases of water from the dam. He then points out the Palaszczuk Government actually brought in new measures to ensure that there would not be any significant releases based on forecasts alone.

A statement signifying the policy can be seen on the SEQ Dam Release Update page, on the second line under the Wivenhoe Dam heading. “The volume of releases from Wivenhoe Dam will depend on actual rainfall and inflows into the dam.” Take note of the word, actual.

One of many facebook posts in the ‘Higgins Storm Chasing’ group about the Queensland Government’s poor management of February’s deadly weather event.

During the Premier’s Flood Update, Mike Foster from SEQ Water explains the design of Wivenhoe Dam and, immediately after, Henry is waiting with another golden question.

“Why weren’t the releases started earlier, so that you had a greater capacity, in case this event continues to dump water over the dam, because if it continues, your hands will be forced to make the huge releases that were made in 2011, that were about 80% of the Brisbane River flood?”

Mike’s response was about certainty, which he described as water on ground. He then went on to explain, “When we know the waters on the ground and we know the inflows are coming in, that gives us absolutely certainty around our releases.” The response clearly wasn’t rehearsed.

“Rainfall forecasts have been a little bit uncertain… To understand where and when that water is going to fall, with great accuracy, unfortunately, we just do not have the technology, or forecasting power to be able to do that.”

Mike Foster, SEQ Water

Henry continued to probe in relation to Brisbane’s 2011 floods and how the same catastrophic mistake has been made, which Mike refused to contrast further, only saying that he is confident in the abilities of those managing the event.

Henry then explained that, “If you make releases before the rain is on the ground, you’ve allowed yourself to have a bigger buffer in the dam. Thats obvious common sense and thats been the proactive lesson of the 2011 flood, which, as we know, was largely avoidable and was the product of massive releases at too late a stage in the flood event.”

Mike’s response was simple. “We do not make releases based on forecast rainfall.”

The discussion between Henry and Mike at the Premier’s Flood Update can be heard here, between the 11th and 21st minute. Watch the extended Flood Update.

So, I say it again, Queensland’s weather is famously wild and unpredictable. Severe weather events can regularly cause damage to regions of the north east Australian coastline in the earlier months of the year, well known as the wet season.

In saying this, with today’s technology, the lessons and experiences from the 2011 flood and the warnings issued by Higgins Storm Chasing on February 2022, were Queenslanders really as well prepared for the 2022 floods as they should have been? Or has Premier Palaszczuk failed in her duty to protect the people of her state?

Thank you to people like Henry who use their voices to force accountability on those who misuse power and responsibility.
We salute you.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Queensland may be home to some catastrophic weather events, but held in high regard by expats globally. Read more on:

Living in Australia

Brisbane, Australia

15 Unique Australian Animals

Breaking the Nail-Biting Habit

10 tips on how to stop biting your nails

It is estimated that up to 30 percent of the global population and as much as half of all teens are nail biters.

Doctors classify chronic nail biting as a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder since the person has difficulty stopping. Most chronic nail biters will often make multiple attempts to quit without success.

While their are a number of factors which may trigger nail biting, including stress and anxiety, children are most commonly affected and often grow out of the habit with age.

Should you, or someone close to you, be struggling to break the nail biting habit, consider trying some of the following treatment options:

Cut nails regularly: Short nails aren’t as satisfying to bite, so keep them short to remove possible temptation.

Use a foul tasting nail polish: One of the oldest tricks in the book. Try a nail polish with a nasty taste, specifically designed for nail biters.

Relaxation and self care: Achieving a healthy body and mind is much easier when following the basic principles of self care. Eat a variety of natural foods, sleep well, exercise regularly and take time out to relax and do things you enjoy.

Get a manicure?: If the nasty tasting nail polish fails, why not get a manicure? Spending time and money at a salon will give you good-looking nails and a financial reason to keep them that way.

Use social support: The support of friends and family is often critical when breaking the nail biting habit. Having someone to stop you from biting when you are doing it unconsciously is a big help, just as being able to talk to someone when you are finding things difficult.

Behavioural therapy: Therapy can aid in releasing emotions that contribute to nail biting, as well as the harmful thoughts that often accompany nail biting. A good therapist will also be able to work with you to quickly identify nail biting triggers.

Wear gloves: It may not be pretty, and it may sound silly, but it definitely works. If you can’t see your nails, you aren’t tempted to bite them. If they are covered, then you can’t bite them full-stop. If gloves are not appropriate for your setting, stickers or clear tape can also be applied.

Identify your triggers: Both internal and external stimuli may cause someone to start biting their nails, but once the triggers are identified, other coping mechanisms can be adopted. Identifying your triggers also allows you to identify situations which may lead to nail biting and stopping yourself from biting, before it happens.

Replace a bad habit with a good one: When you get the urge to bite your nails, or when you find yourself in a trigger situation, try putting your mind and body to work. Complete a short exercise or stretch when you are thinking of biting. Keep a stress ball or even click a pen to keep your hands busy and easily occupy your mouth with a piece of gum.

Try gradually stopping (weaining off): If the cold turkey approach is too much of a mountain, start with smaller goals, such as choosing a nail not to bite. Once that isn’t a challenge anymore, add another nail to the bite free zone and continue until all fingers are off limits.

As mentioned above, nail biting can be a tough habit to break free from and often requires multiple attempts before success is achieved. If the cold turkey approach isn’t working start with smaller goals, such as choosing a nail not to bite. Once that isn’t a challenge anymore, add another nail to the bite free zone and continue until all fingers are off limits.

Consistency is key, you can do it, don’t give up.

What Alcohol Detoxing Does for Your Body

The week by week benefits of alcohol withdrawal

Alcohol is embedded into the roots of most western cultures. It is used as a tool to create positive or fun environments, to stimulate and drive social and business interactions, or deal with the pressures of everyday life, which is often referred to as alcoholism.

This is because, for most people, alcohol works to fulfil whatever objective it is used for. A few drinks can create a complete shift of character through a transformation of energy and confidence. But at what cost?

Alcohol impacts sleep, often leading to a sluggish feeling the next day. It impairs memory and causes dehydration, which prevents the body from functioning properly, while also promoting those raging hangover headaches. Most alcoholic drinks are also full of sugars, or other processed carbohydrates, which lead directly to a long list of nasty health complications.

Read more on the dangers of processed carbohydrates and tips on how to reduce your consumption of sugar.

We all know that the benefits of alcohol, if any, are greatly outweighed by it’s detrimental side effects, but just how much can abstinence from alcohol do for your body?

After one alcohol-free day

After one day without alcohol, a heavy drinker may start to feel the preliminary effects of alcohol withdrawal. Some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and abdominal pain, as well as possible dehydration due to the diuretic effects of alcohol (almost like a bad hangover). Distract yourself to make it easier. Exercise, sweat, keep moving, and stay hydrated.

The bright side is that after a day without alcohol your body begins the detox process, starting by normalising blood sugar levels.

verywellmind

After one alcohol-free week

By now, a moderate-to-heavy drinker will likely have felt some of the more climatic symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, including high blood pressure, increased body temperature, breathing abnormalities, irregular heart rate, sweating, confusion, irritability, and mood disturbances.

These symptoms usually come and go within the first 72 hours of an alcohol detox, but the physical effects of sugar withdrawal can last for up to ten days, so be sure to keep well hydrated throughout the detox period. Thankfully, the health benefits will have started to become noticeable.

Sleep quality is drastically improved, as the number of deep sleep cycles each rest period is increased. This allows optimal recovery and feelings of rejuvenation, as well as higher energy and focus levels throughout the day. Stress also becomes easier to deal with and those, who used alcohol as a stress management technique, will have more creative energy to explore healthier ways of letting off steam.

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a reward. Count how much money you would have normally spent on alcohol over a one week period and treat yourself with the savings.

After two alcohol-free weeks

The most challenging part of the detox is done. Your system is completely alcohol free and the health benefits have started to compound. Mornings are easier than ever before and so is exercise, as both your organs and muscles now feel stronger.

Alcohol slows your metabolism and your body produces acids to break it down, so you may have also noticed that now, even eating and digesting food is more enjoyable.

The Mindful Mocktail

After three alcohol-free weeks

After three weeks without alcohol, your body continues to reap new benefits of detoxification, including improved vision, elevated sexual performance and happier kidneys.

After one alcohol-free month

After a month without alcohol, cell production and turnover has improved, resulting in better-looking skin. Liver function has recovered and now it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you healthy. Digestion has further improved, resulting in the retention of more nutrients from every meal.

Immune function has also drastically improved and the body has begun to rid itself of the nasty cells which lead to cardiovascular disease and numerous cancers. Any thoughts of craving or desire for alcohol have usually begun to diminish by now, or at least become much more manageable. Research conducted by O de Visser & Piper shows that after one month without alcohol, most people start to feel a sense of achievement and control over their relationship with alcohol.

The Mindful Mocktail

After three alcohol-free months

The detoxification time-frame differs from person to person and is influenced by numerous internal and external factors, although, by now, most people will have experienced all of the benefits listed above.

After three months without alcohol, the liver continues to experience recovery and relief. Sleep quality will usually continue to improve, directly influencing overall health and wellbeing. The immune system will continue to strengthen, raising the body’s defences against heart disease and cancer.

Read more on the importance of getting enough sleep.

Some will experience a lower blood pressure, while others can lose excess weight, but many report a significant improvement to overall mental health.

After six alcohol-free months

After six months without alcohol, focus has heightened and the body has continued to strengthen its defences against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Some report an improvement in memory, as well as emotional changes, such as improved confidence, self-esteem and relationships.

After one alcohol-free year

A huge achievement that deserves significant recognition, especially in this day and age, but let’s look at the health benefits. Overall health has drastically improved, both physically and mentally. Your organs, mainly your heart and lungs, are now operating with much less effort, as is your immune system. Now it’s time to give up the smokes as well.

A whole year without alcohol may seem impossible for some, but don’t worry if you can’t go it that long without your favourite drink.

The research led by Dr. R. Visser, from the University of Sussex, concluded that giving up alcohol for as little as one month can provide significant and lasting health benefits.

As part of the research conducted, a total of 2,821 participants completed “Dry January”, an alcohol free month, while 816 of these participants were able to abstain until August of the same year. The participants of Dry January completed surveys that gave the following results (as reported by Medical News Today):

  • 93% reported a great sense of achievement at the end of the alcohol-free month
  • 88% had saved the money that they would otherwise have spent on drinks
  • 82% reported an enhanced awareness of their relationship with alcohol
  • 80% felt more in control of their drinking habits
  • 76% understood when they felt more tempted to drink and why
  • 71% said that they enjoyed a better quality of sleep
  • 70% reported better overall health
  • 67% had higher energy levels
  • 58% of participants lost weight
  • 57% reported improved concentration
  • 54% said that they noticed better skin health
  • 71% learned that they did not need alcohol to have fun

So, bearing this information in mind, I strongly encourage you to try an alcohol detox for whatever period of time, or just gradually reduce your consumption of alcohol in general.

Hello Sunday Morning

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your alcohol consumption, starting with first thinking about how much you drink, and what drives you to drink alcohol in the first place.

Cyndi Turner, a Virginia therapist who specialises in addiction treatment and alcohol moderation, says that knowing why you drink is essential when escaping the grips of alcohol. Knowing the reasons behind your alcohol use, whether it be work or relationship stress, insomnia, or anything else, can steer you towards alternative ways to address those issues in a more productive manner.

Next consider your approach. Are merely going to reduce your alcohol consumption, or allocate alcohol-free days? Or how long do you want to abstain from alcohol altogether for? You are far more likely to achieve success, in any aspect of your life, through setting goals.

Once you have your goals in mind, it’s easier to visualise the steps to take, but it helps to have support along the journey. Talk to your friends and family, or anyone else that may support you, or put pressure on you to drink. Anyone who cares about you will be supportive of your alcohol-free ambitions.

If you don’t have a supportive network of friends and family, change your environment. Find a community of like-minded people, such as an AA group or online community – on Reddit or Facebook. If you find it difficult to engage in groups, try speaking with a mental health professional, like a doctor, counsellor or psychologist – even if it’s just over the phone.

Other tips for those who are giving up the drink include, staying hydrated, exploring healthy stress and coping mechanisms, keeping a journal, rediscovering hobbies, listening to motivational and self-help podcasts on Youtube, mixing up the daily routine, removing alcohol from the home and prioritising wellness – through good sleep, a healthy diet and daily exercise.

Baton Rouge Behavioural Hospital

Your drinking habits, including frequency of drinking sessions and average quantity of drinks consumed, will greatly impact the difficulty of your detox. If you are a heavy drinker, consider first reducing the frequency of drinking sessions and the quantity of drinks consumed, before trying to completely abstain from alcohol. Commit to certain ‘alcohol-free nights’ during the week, with an early morning commitment to follow the next morning, such as exercise, work, study, or something that you enjoy.

You don’t need alcohol to have fun, but a drink, or two, every now and then probably won’t hurt. Understand your limits and consume everything in moderation.
It’s all about finding the balance.

NAKD X CENN: January 2022 Update

What happened to NAKD?

If you, like me, invested in NAKD stocks during the first half of 2021, then couldn’t keep up with the circus that unravelled in the second half – here’s a brief overview of what happened over the 2022 New Year.

On Friday, 31st of December, 2021, an acquisition resulting in a change of control of Naked Brand Group Limited (NAKD) was closed. After numerous suspenseful months of hype, fear and doubt, the Australian-based intimate apparel provider was officially expanding and rebranding.

On this day, Naked Brand Group (NAKD) CEO, Justin Davis-Rice, announced the acquisition of Cenntro Automotive Group, one of the world’s leading commercial electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers and pioneers in EV research and development.
But only if certain conditions were met.

In order to finalise the acquisition and satisfy the Nasdaq listing requirements, the NAKD share price needed to consistently maintain a significantly higher value than what it had been trading at for the larger part of the year.

To satisfy Nasdaq share price requirement, NAKD shareholders approved a motion to begin trading on a 1-for-15 split adjusted basis, which came into effect on December 22, 2021. This meant that NAKD shareholders now had one fifteenth of the number of NAKD stocks they previously held, but each share was now worth fifteen times more.

The deal was finalised and in the December 31st press release, Naked CEO, Justin Davis-Rice, announced that Cenntro Automotive Group CEO, managing director and chairman, Peter Wang, was to lead the combined company,

Following the transaction’s conclusion, NAKD shareholders immediately owned 31.85% of the combined company, while Cenntro Automotive Group and its equity stakeholders own approximately 68.15%, on a fully diluted basis. Naked Brand Group and Cenntro Automotive Group had combined to form Cenntro Electric Group Limited.

In regard to the acquisition, Justin Davis-Rice had previously announced that Cenntro Automotive Group Limited would provide shareholders with a unique investment opportunity, supporting global vehicle electrification and sustainability that will deliver long-term value. He then went on to say that he looks forward to collaborating with the company as it strategically positions itself to achieve its growth objectives.

On the 13th of January, 2022, Cenntro Electric Group Limited (NASDAQ:NAKD) announced that its trading symbol on the Nasdaq Capiltal Market (NASDAQ) would be changing from “NAKD” to “CENN” for the open of market trading the following day, thus fully completing the merge. But no short squeeze, yet.

What are the growth objectives of Cenntro Electric Group?

Cenntro Electric Group Limited has developed superior electric commercial and industrial vehicles, with engine power comparable to that of diesel engines and 60% less running noise. The battery is also up to three times more powerful than that included with competitor’s models. Now Cenntro Electric Group aims to make their vehicles as accessible as possible.

As logistics companies in Japan are striving to reduce expenses, while taking advantage of the pandemic-inspired e-commerce boom, locally produced vehicles have failed to meet costs.

In response to the increasing global demand for electric vehicles, Cenntro has promised to produce and deliver a minum of 20,000 commercial electric vehicles in 2022. The first delivery will be a fleet of 2,000 Metro (Kei Car Type) electric vehicles to be delivered to noteworthy customers in Japan, Amazon and Hana Cupid.

Cenntro Chief Executive Officer, Peter Wang, is excited about Japan’s future home delivery prospects due to the country’s ageing population. With the increase in electric vehicle demand from Japan alone, Cenntro currently planning to build a local assembly plant for the local production and delivery of commercial EVs.

When discussing Toyota Motor Corps exploration of hydrogen as a future clean-car fuel, Wang stated that “EVs are still a cheaper option than hydrogen. They’re convenient, easy to use, easy to fix, easy to charge. I’ve talked to a lot of fleet managers in Japan and they couldn’t find the proper vehicle to do it.” Enters Cenntro.

Cenntro Metro
Cenntro Logistar 400
Cenntro Neibor 200
Cenntro Logistar 200
Cenntro Off Road Vehicle

The Company has also experienced strong demand from its European and American customers for its new models, as the Cenntro Logistar 200 light urban delivery vehicle was launched in 2021 and 628 units were delivered to European buyers in December alone.

In order to facilitate the rising production targets, Cenntro has invested $25 million into a 100,000-square-foot facility in Jacksonville, Florida, which will take over the production of the company’s line of delivery and logistics trucks and vans in early 2022. It is estimated that the complex will be able to produce more than 50,000 vehicles per year within four years and can be expanded to facilitate additional operations.

Cenntro’s 100,000 square foot facility in construction. End of 2021, with completion early 2022.

Conveniently, the warehouse is located in close proximity to the port of Jacksonville, enabling swift importing of materials and easy exporting of finished vehicles to any of the 32 countries that Cenntro currently delivers vehicles in.

As of September 2021, Cenntro Holding owns a 59.2% stake in Greenland Technologies, a leading transmission and drivetrain systems provider for material handling equipment, such as forklift trucks for industrial and logistics applications.

How does it all sum up?

The future looks bright for Cenntro Electric Group and the NAKD Army. While the whole stock market was crashing, Peter Wang and his team were working tirelessly on expanding Cenntro Electric Group and conquering the electric vehicle market.

CENN currently has a market cap of $445.45 M and a stock price of < $2.

Numerous ‘Fair Value’ estimations valued NAKD at over $2,500 per share, but the price of CENN is currently reflected by a single digit. I believe it is only a matter of time before CENN follows in the footsteps of AMC and Gamestop, but only time will tell.

Is CENN currently at a heavily discounted price, or will be this be a tale of the crooked institutions defeating the valiant army of retail investors?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Want to keep digging into the electric vehicle manufacturer? Check out these well presented and informative videos from Rip N Dip Traders.

14 Natural Flu Remedies

Natural remedies against the flu (and Covid19)

Catching the flu can be a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to get you down for long.

If you have found yourself with a blocked or runny nose, cough or sore throat, there is plenty that you can do to make it go away a lot faster. These same home remedies also help to ward off nasty viruses altogether.

Here are the best natural remedies for reducing the severity and duration of a cold, or boosting your immune system to prevent colds altogether:

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is the number one defence against many illnesses, particularly influenza, or the flu.

When you are hydrated, your body has a natural ability to flush germs out of your system. Water is also key to regulating core temperature, which is usually uncomfortably high when you have a cold, so maintain a high level of natural fluids for a healthy immune system. It is recommended for the average person to drink at least 2.5 litres of water daily. Read more on the importance of staying hydrated.

Eat Vitamin C

Vitamin C is critical for healthy operation of the immune system.

A clinical study has found that a large dose of Vitamin C decreased flu symptoms in subjects by 85%. The study concluded that Vitamin C administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.

Our bodies are unable to produce this critical vitamin, so it important to consume rich sources of Vitamin C daily. Read more about Vitamin C here.

Eat Zinc

Zince has gained popularity thanks to it’s important role in immunity, inflammation, tissue damage, blood pressure and in-tissue responses to any lack of oxygen.
Australian researchers have found that Zinc supplements may help shorten respiratory tract infections, such as colds, flu, sinusitis and pneumonia.
Read more about Zinc.

Drink tea with lemon, ginger and honey

For a fast acting immune boost, drink tea with fresh lemon, ginger and honey.

Adding lemon juice to hot water along with some ginger helps in preventing and removing phlegm from the body. Ginger also works as an antioxidant and helps the body in releasing toxins which further results in the removal of the infection and flu. Honey is known for it’s soothing and antimicrobial properties, plus it tastes great.

Boil water with some pieces of ginger, then just squeeze some lemon and mix in with honey.

Eat hot soup

Hot liquids, such as soup, help reduce mucus buildup and keep you hydrated, which is particularly important when fighting off an infection. CBS News reported that “clear broth soups are hydrating because they typically contain not only water but also salt and so those two together are good properties for hydration”.

Some research suggests chicken soup in particular can help reduce inflammation associated with colds and flu, providing significant pain relief to affected areas.

Use Aromatherapy

If you have access to a diffuser (humidifier), there are a number of essential oils which are known to help fight the symptoms of the common cold.

Peppermint and eucalyptus are known to reduce fevers and fight viruses, tea tree oil and clove inhibit bacteria and fight infections, while chamomile relieves cold and flu symptoms. All are natural and relaxing scents to fill your bedroom or house with.

Wash your hands regularly

Washing your hands with with soap removes germs and significantly reduces the ever-present risk of infections. When you are sick, it is also a good idea to wash your hands regularly to prevent germs from re-entering the body.

Regularly brush your teeth

The mouth is a playground for bacteria, so it is important to brush your teeth regularly to remove germs that have not yet entered the bloodstream. Regularly brushing your teeth can reduce the risk of viral infections and shorten the infection time when sick.

Oil pulling is a method of using coconut oil to draw out toxins from the mouth, while whitening teeth at the same time. Read more about oil pulling.

Take hot showers

Steamy showers are great for decongestion, as they moisturise the nasal passages and relax the body. For an immune boost, try hot and cold therapy, alternating between hot and cold bursts of water in the shower. Read more about ways to use hot and cold therapy.

Gargle salt water

1/2 a teaspoon of salt, dissolved in warm water, can temporarily relieve a sore throat and other ear, nose and throat irritations. Salt is effective at neutralising some bacterias, while also drawing others from hard to reach areas – so make sure to spit the salt solution after gargling.

Drink or gargle vinegar

Unfiltered apple cider vinegar often contains a potent mix of yeast and bacteria that work as probiotics. These probiotics have an immune-boosting quality that effectively fights influenza-like respiratory infections and the common cold.

Just a shot of apple cider vinegar is known to assist with reducing flu symptoms, but it can also be gargled by those who can’t handle the taste.

Try a natural cough medicine

Anecdotal reports suggest that a homemade medicine containing the following ingredients can help relieve cold and flu symptoms:

  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Ground Ginger
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
  • Honey
  • Water

It doesn’t have a 5 star taste, so mix it all together in a small glass and quickly wash it down for fast relief against cold and flu symptoms.

Sleep with an extra pillow

Nasal congestion is usually worse when you are lying down, so by elevate your head you to improve respiration and alleviate some cold and flu symptoms.

Get adequate sleep

Sleep is important for healthy function of the immune system, enabling it to fight off nasty viruses and bacteria.

Research conducted by Washington State University concluded that sleep is the best defence against the flu. The key finding was that the quality of sleep has a bigger impact on flu recovery speeds than the quantity of sleep. Continue reading about the importance of sleep.

Catching the flu is never fun but when it happens, you don’t have to let it stay for long.
There are many ways to treat and prevent the common cold and flu, as well as Covid19, but the best defence is living a healthy lifestyle.

Good food, good sleep, plenty of water and exercise.

See more on natural flu defences:
24 whole foods for a stronger immune system
10 vitamins and minerals for better health and wellbeing
Get fit at home without equipment