I have not been a fan of this year, health-wise. It’s not like I’ve had any major health issues; I haven’t been hospitalized or even had to go to the ER this year (*knocking furiously on wood because this damn year is not over yet!*). But honestly, I think my immune system has gone on vacation somewhere warm and sunny without me because I have used up every single sick day I have available to me and then some. It’s ridiculous.
Granted some of my sick days are taken up by other people like, you know, my kids. If one of them is sick and needs me I will call in. Even with that being said though, I have taken way too many sick days for myself in the past 365 days. I’ve kind of had enough and I’m doing some reading to see what I can do to boost my immune system besides wearing a mask at all times or enclosing myself in a bubble.
(I work in an office with over 400 people, not to mention the public transit that I use for commuting purposes every day. I am exposed to a ridiculous amount of god-knows-what germs every damn day.)
In the meantime though, I’ve gotten the whole concept of surviving a sick day practically down to a science. Here’s how I get through sick days, as recently as last week, in no particular order.
I mean, I’m a big fan of soup in general so it makes sense for me to turn to a big steaming bowl of goodness when I’m not at my best. When I’m sick though, I just really crave it and sometimes it’s all I want – or can – eat. If I’m SUPER sick with a Cold From Hell then I might want some chicken noodle soup but that’s pretty desperate for me. It’s not one of my favorites so if you see me slurping up noodles and little slivers of poultry from a bowl of yellow liquid, you know there’s something wrong. In fact, my taste buds may not be working. For the most part though, I lean towards my favorite sick day comfort soup – a can of French-Canadian split pea soup with plenty of cracked black pepper on top. I prefer it without the ham (though I can eat it if that’s the only one I have on hand) and sometimes I like to throw some cooked rice in there too. Mostly though, just give me a bowl of the soup and enough black pepper to make you sneeze.
2. Nap time!
I am not a napper. In theory I would love to take naps because I’m often tired due to my inability to maintain an early bedtime. But here’s the problem – naps make me really groggy and SUPER cranky. They always sound like a great idea but the execution usually leaves me feeling worse than I did before. The only exception to this is if I’m not feeling well. If I’m sick then I just kind of want to be unconscious because then I can’t feel what’s going on in my head/sinuses/throat/stomach/whatever. I don’t usually make my way up to my bed but I will frequently spend a sick day with the recliner chair pulled out, a blanket over me, totally conked out for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour at a time.
3. Questionable, but easy television.
One of the bright sides to calling in sick is getting to turn on some of the daytime talk TV that I love. If I stay home from work I will hurry back home after taking Breanna to school, then I hop back into my pajamas (or my onesie*) to curl up on the aforementioned recliner. I will snooze during the remainder of the morning news, then I’ll watch the opening segment of Kelly and Ryan because I have loved Kelly Ripa for years. Then I might snooze some more and eat some soup and feel pitiful until several hours later when I watch The Social which is my FAVORITE daytime talk show of all. In between I often put the nature channel on so I can alternate between whining and dozing while looking at waterfalls or fields in Tuscany.**
*No I’m not kidding, a onesie. It’s the best thing ever when you’re shivery.
**Okay, seriously, I also do a lot of this on random vacation days or holidays too.
4. A hot steamy shower.
I would say a bath but I’m not really a bath fan. I’d rather just shower and stand in the steam because sitting in a hot bath just makes me feel sweaty and gross. Maybe if I had whirlpool jets or an abundance of bath bombs I’d change my mind, but I’d really rather hit the shower. The thing is, if I’m sick I’m tired and cranky and I don’t want to bother, but if I’ve learned anything being a parent it’s that putting a tired and cranky person into warm water helps everything. If I’m stuffed up, the steam helps clear things out a little. If I’m just feeling icky and achy, the hot water is soothing. Eventually it just feels great for a little while, and when I get out I’m all mellow and usually resort back to tip #2. Often while still wrapped in my towel even, but I digress.
(I don’t recommend washing your hair on a sick day unless you must because then you’re stuck with cold damp hair and the effort of using a blow dryer and really, screw that.)
5. Gentle yoga + meditation.
And I do mean gentle. This isn’t the time to bust out fast-paced, sweat-inducing Vinyasa flows or to try to nail a headstand. This is the time to quietly fold this way and that way, holding poses for longer than usual. No, no one who is sick really wants to exercise per se, but gentle Yin yoga poses will coax out all the aches and pains and relax even the most exhausted body. Meditation is good because I’ll use some visualization techniques to picture the illness/virus being removed from my body with every exhale; as woo-woo as that sounds, it feels better. Even if I’m exhausted I’ll try to at least do a few yoga moves and meditation minutes, even if I have to do it right on my bed. It’s especially nice to do it at night after the hot shower because it leads to the next tip.
If you do want to try some yoga in bed, I have a video with a simple beginner-friendly drift-off-to-sleep routine that you can do!
6. An early bedtime.
I’m not a morning person. I don’t go to bed at 9 pm and rise with the sun. At least not willingly. I am – have always been, and probably always will be – a night owl. On work nights it’s a miracle if I’m in bed before 11 pm and on weekends I’m frequently up well past midnight or even 1 am. Granted I fall asleep quickly 99.99% of the time but I am not early-to-bed-early-to-rise. When I’m sick though, you can tell because you’ll see me make a hot cup of tea (I could have dedicated a whole point to that too, come to think of it – tea is a bit of a miracle), crawl into bed to drink it, and then I’m passed out by 10 pm. There’s no denying my health is not up to snuff when that happens, but it helps so much if I can get 8-9 (or 10!) hours of sleep instead of my usual 7-8 hours.
7. If all else fails, whine
No. I know. It really doesn’t help. It doesn’t do any good in general and it just annoys everyone in the vicinity. But you know what? Tough. If I don’t feel well, you’ll know. Because I will whine and fuss and kick things and tell you.
Sometimes that’s all I need, is just a little vent, and then I follow steps one through six and get on my way to feeling better.
How about you? How do you cope with a sick day? What’s your favorite personal remedy to feel just a little bit better?
And if you have any immune-boosting tips that you swear by, I’d love to hear those too, because this year is almost over and I am damn well determined to have a better health season next year! Leave me some comments down below to let me know!