It’s that time of year, when it feels like everyone is getting sick. Unfortunately, I found myself in that group this weekend and I got diagnosed with strep throat earlier today. For me, being sick is especially hard because not only do I have the physical ailment, but also a mental crisis as I become completely off-schedule with my tasks, miss important meetings, and overall feel like a terrible human being for not being on track. Totally unfair to myself, I know, but it happens. So, in light of all the terrible-feelingness, here is what I do to try to cope with being sick.
My 10 Tips for When You’re Sick
- Act fast. As soon as you start to feel it, drink lots of water and don’t over-exert yourself. Try to get some vitamin C in, and think about what work you have to get done, and only do that. Make an appointment with your primary care doctor ASAP.
- Get tons of sleep. That’s when your body is really going to heal. The 10 hours I got last night wasn’t even enough. I adjust my schedule to maximize sleep.
- Email your professors. Once I got the diagnosis, I emailed all of my professors telling them why I wouldn’t be in class. Even if they don’t take attendance, I recommend letting them know what’s up. Then, once you’re well again, make sure you go to their office hours to ensure you understand the material you missed. This extra effort will go a long way, and ensure that your grade will be minimally impacted. The decision not to go to class is a hard one for me, but sometimes it just has to happen.
- Keep your space clean. While it’s easy to let the tissues pile up and throw your clothes on the floor when sick, for me, taking the extra time to tidy my space while I’m sick helps me to feel so much better. Also, wiping down surfaces regularly with disinfectant will help ensure anyone else in your space will be less likely to get sick as well.
- Open a window. Fresh air helps a lot. I was fortunate that today was a nice day outside, so I was able to keep the window open all day.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate. Be realistic. This one was hard for me. I have a presentation Wednesday and I had to tell my team it’d be best to have someone else do my part. I told them I’d be happy to help out with anything else, but I realized how important it would be for me to take that off my plate and rely on my team. As much as I wanted to follow through with my role, it wasn’t realistic.
- Try to reduce screen time. While laying in bed all day can get boring, try not to binge a show if you can help it. Try reading a book, or doing a mindless activity like coloring. For me, I know that screens can make my headaches worse. Something simple I did to reduce screen time was printing out my readings for class so that I wouldn’t have to read on my laptop.
- Be kind to yourself. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s easy for me to get down on myself when I’m sick. I feel bad for not being productive. However, this will not get me better any time soon. I need to give myself space to heal, and this includes mental space. It’s okay to be sick. I didn’t choose this. It happens to everyone. And I’ll be back to my normal self in good time. These mantras help me to be kind to myself.
- Move and stretch in a gentle way. With my sickness right now, my muscles are tight and achy. I’m making sure to punctuate my laying in bed with soft stretches, and I’m replacing my daily yoga workout with two gentle yoga sessions. This is a great 20-minute sequence by Yoga with Adriene.
- Use your support system. While we isolate ourselves in our sickness, I’ve actually found it really nice and helpful to tell my friends and my community about what I’m going through. Especially being away from home and not having family to take care of me, having the support of my friends is nice. You might be surprised how willing people are to pick you up some food or give you their notes or just provide some encouraging words.
For all my fellow sick people, I hope these tips help and you feel better soon! If you’re not sick, please stay that way!