Today’s article brought to you by a particularly sick and extremely annoyed writer. I’m sick. Stuffy nose, sore throat, fatigue, fever, the whole shebang. I feel pretty lousy. And I feel like I’m making negative progress on everything I’m doing. I had plans for the week, for the day. Soon enough I felt completely unaccomplished even though I had done my best.
How do we feel good about what we do or don’t get done when we’re sick?
A common problem for the common cold.
Well first off, it helps to acknowledge that we’re sick. I’m super guilty of this. Day one of my cold consists of me ignoring that I’m feeling unwell. Day two, three, four look pretty much the same. In fact, until my symptoms barrel me over I deny any sign of illness. Why do I and so many others do this? No one wants to get sick. No one wants to think they have to take it easy, at least not when they’re a type A personality.
Getting sick means inevitably I’ll have to slow down. And I ignore that.
So, you’re sick. It’s going to not be fun. But! Take care of yourself! If you feel like you’re getting sick take some vitamin c, make sleep a priority, drink lots of water, eat protein and stay away from sugar. The only thing ignoring an upcoming illness does is ruin your ability to fight it.
Does that mean as soon as you feel a teensy tiny bit sick you have to drop everything and lay in bed? Nope! It just means that you need to take a little bit more care of yourself. Pay attention to your body, what’s going on, and if you’re craving any sorts of food.
And that’s the problem I deal with.
When I first start feeling sick, I immediately think about the two to four days I’m out of commission and at my worst. Thinking about that, I jam as much work as I possibly can into my days. I exercise harder than normal, I work longer hours than I should, and I put myself under enormous pressure because I know what’s coming. You know what that does? Wear me down.
I can’t possibly be the only person doing this. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that nothing I do can be that unique. Someone somewhere has to have done this.
So if you’re out there…if you push yourself too hard then feel awful about not getting enough work done when you’re sick or upholding previous commitments, let me help.
Relax. Maybe not lie in a hammock on a beach relaxing, but relax. Take it a little easier. Skip the workout, do a lighter one. Eat well but don’t start panicking over a diet if you’re hungrier than normal. Don’t cram hours and hours of extra work into your day. If anything, pull back a little bit. Not all of us have this luxury, but if you do don’t take it for granted. Take a bath or a couple. In fact, raising your body temperature isn’t a bad idea if you’re fighting something off. Maybe miss that Zumba class. Keep in mind that your body is already fighting and already working hard. And if you’re experiencing those few days that are the worst, remember you are sick. Rest is the answer a lot of times.
Well here’s another thing. Focus on your food. Now, I know I did just say not to worry about your diet and I do mean that. But, I mean don’t panic if you are hungrier and craving more carbs or fruits. You need more energy and lots of vitamin c. It helps. Watch what you are eating though. Sugary foods like candy are not going to help you any. Protein, protein, protein. And throw in some yummy tea to help relax you, soothe your throat, and give your immune system a boost (depending on the tea). Especially important when you’re in the heat of the illness, tea can be very beneficial. Each tea has its own health benefits but the warmth (and sometimes honey) will soothe the throat and the steam can help clear the sinuses. And who doesn’t like being able to breath out of both nostrils?
Finally, try to do some light exercise. A light run can help if you run a lot though this is not the time to start. Yoga or light pilates are also great ideas. Keeping the blood flowing and body moving does help if you are accustomed to working out. As well, you’ll help yourself out by raising your body’s temperature. However, if you are not used to heavy exercise or exercise in general, this is not the time to start. Nope, not at all.
None of this answers the question: How do we feel good about what we do or get done when we’re sick?
That’s in part because it’s a simple (but hard to accomplish) answer. Accept that you won’t be your most productive. The week that you’re sick will most likely not be your best week out of the year. But it can stay to that week if you take care of yourself. It doesn’t always have to span several weeks or months. You are ill. Take care of yourself.
Your world doesn’t have to stop. Everything doesn’t need to come crashing down. Self-hatred can stay locked up in its cage. All that needs to happen is a little bit of self-care, some love for your body that’s working hard for you, and enough respect for yourself and your work ethic that you know you’ll be okay.
If someone comes down on you for not doing your absolute best because you’re sick, why are you going to let them upset you? You are fighting off an illness and doing what’s best for you you. Remember that.
This isn’t about anyone else. This is about treating your health as a real and true priority. Like it should be.