Mental Health Monday

Don’t Get Sick

Listen, I hate getting sick too but the last time I was honest to god sick was quite a bit ago. And I work with kids…which is why I got sick in the first place. But considering how many of those little buggers cough on me (and how many adults do too), I thought it’d be a smart thing to share some secrets.

Number one rule though:  Don’t get sick.

I know what you’re thinking. “Okay, well how?” Maybe even, “Isn’t that the whole point?”

Well, kinda.

Our bodies aren’t machines which mean they do need periods of rest. We sleep every night to prove that. Sometimes though, they need a little bit more. Sometimes the sleep we get isn’t enough even if we’re getting our eight hours in. You know, you know. You just want to know how to avoid getting sick and having to take down time.

Hate to say it, but the way not to get sick is to take down time.

Let’s focus in on the fact that our bodies aren’t machines. When we’re exposed to an illness, like the cold or flu, or body will be busy trying to keep us healthy and fight off the invading viruses and bacteria. Rightfully so, we’ll feel a little tired. We might even have some preliminary symptoms say, a tiny scratch in your throat. A lightly stuffy nose. Itchy eyes. Symptoms that could be allergies or the formation of something to knock you off your feet. We might even feel really lethargic or foggy.

At the first sign of any trouble, even if it is that fogginess or fatigue, practice these steps because it’s not about avoiding illness altogether, it’s about helping your body do what it’s already doing. It’s about not catching something else while your body is at work. It’s about understanding you are not a machine and to prevent melting into a puddle of fevers and snot. We’re flesh and blood. We need to recuperate.

Photo by Tookapic on
  1. Get Sleep

This one is really, really important. If you feel foggy or tired, get to bed early. You might have to drop out of some commitments, but the fact of the matter is that your body is asking you to sit down, take a break, and get some rest. It might not be because of an illness. You might be sleep deprived or unusually physically/emotionally/mentally stressed. The point is that your brain is sending you a signal and you ought to listen to it. Don’t stop at one good night’s sleep either. Keep it up for a week or until you feel nice and energized all day. 

  • Eat Right

I understand that this is hard enough to do as it is, but if you eat junk food, sugar, tons of caffeinated drinks, and so on and so forth, now is the time to cut back. Junk food, sugar, and caffeine will not help you get better. In fact, they’ll make it a lot worse. Instead, eat food rich in fiber, vitamin c, and protein. Fruits, veggies, and lean meats like fish. 

  • Wash Your Hands

A good practice any day of the week, this is especially important right now when you aren’t feeling fantastic. Aside from preventing to spread your own illness, this’ll help you from dragging any germs home, rubbing them in your eyes, ears, etc. Which brings me to a point within a point, don’t touch your face unless your hands are clean. Eyes, mouth, nose, ears, face should not be touched with dirty hands.

  • Avoid Public Places

If you can, and I know we can’t all do this, do try to avoid public places. Not only could you be passing on some sort of sickness onto someone else, your immune system is already busy. That means you’re much more likely to pick something up. And then you really will be laid out for the week. 

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None of this sounds particularly hard, does it? I know getting enough sleep is a challenge, but honestly, I’m saying we have to run ten miles a day. I’m not saying we have to eat one hundred oranges or do back flips. I’m saying take care of yourself. 

The problem is that we are all too accustomed to ignoring what our body is saying. More than that, we are proud to ignore what our body is saying. People proudly tote that they ran ten miles with a nasty cold. Or worked every day during their bronchitis. 

I’ll let you in on a little something, that’s not good.

That’s really bad. And you shouldn’t be proud of that. 

Now, we all know our limits so it is okay to push ourselves to them. But it isn’t okay to endanger the health of others and it isn’t okay to blatantly ignore everything that is going on inside of us. I’ll say it again, we are not machines.

If we treat ourselves like machines, we will break. We will collapse.

The simple reason for this is because our body needs us to do certain things for it to continue to be able to do its job. It’s self healing. It’ll fix itself and there isn’t anything better than flesh and blood for that. But if we don’t eat right, exercise, and stay on top of the signals and signs our body is sending us, we’re failing it. We’re bad parents.

Our body is telling us stuff all the time and if we don’t react to that stimuli, we can’t be surprised when we get really sick or even mentally burnt out. We have to understand ourselves and be good to ourselves. We are the parents to our bodies. That means that it is our responsibility to keep our body healthy, happy, and rested. We need to listen to the signs of stress that could mean illness or anything else. I mean, if we don’t listen to our body what will we listen to?

So do yourself a favor this year, listen to your body. Try to keep it from getting sick. Just listen and react to what it says, even if it means you take a day off before you need a week off.

1 thought on “Don’t Get Sick”

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