Growing up, I loved sick days.
No one enjoys not feeling well but I was a big fan of those days when you weren’t sick enough to need to go to the doctor but were technically too sick to go to school and infect the other kids with your mysterious germs.
Nothing was better than changing out of sweaty, sickly pajamas into fresh, comfy sweats and moving directly from the bed to the couch to spend the morning watching game shows (“The Price is Right” was my go-to) and the afternoon watching soap operas (rest in television peace “All My Children”).
I was lucky to have a mom who stayed home and would make me chicken soup and let me eat an extra cupcake and take my temperature and bring me a blanket and tissues and ginger ale and hold me when I felt particularly crummy—even when she knew I was milking that sick day for attention.
Getting sick as an adult is far less enjoyable.
We can’t always take a sick day when we’re feeling under the weather because life keeps life-ing.
We have jobs and work responsibilities. And even when we have time off available, we often don’t want to waste it on something as simple as a cold.
We have families and children and pets and people who rely on us to show up, regardless of how we’re feeling.
We have friends and plans and things we want to experience, so we convince ourselves that we’re not sick, that we can talk ourselves into feeling better so we don’t miss out.
But mostly, we don’t give ourselves permission to slow down, to rest, to feel crummy and show ourselves the care and attention that we deserve.
We don’t mother ourselves.
One day last week, I woke up with an itch in my throat and a dull pain in my left ear. My body felt achy and I kept sneezing. It took me 30 minutes to convince myself to get out of bed and shower. I could tell that I was feeling the beginnings of what could potentially turn into a full blown cold if I didn’t take action.
And while I couldn’t just stop working at that moment and lay on my couch browsing streaming services for re-runs of “The Price is Right,” I could ask our readers for advice, which is exactly what I did.
I wrote: “I feel a cold coming on…How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling sick?” These were some of the most helpful responses:
Stay in bed, eat homemade chicken soup, and watch Netflix. ~ Gabrielle
I get Vietnamese fish congee with extra fresh chili on Uber Eats. I’m sure a vegetarian or vegan congee would be just as comforting for any non meat eaters here. ~ Asobi
Sweat it out. Crank the heat, pile on the blankets, or jump in a hot shower or bath. Also stay hydrated and well fed. ~ Christopher
I feel sorry for myself, crawl under the covers and sleep it off. ~ Olga
Ginger, liquorice, cinnamon and tulsi teas, at nighttime a spoon of turmeric with warm water, and rest does the job ~ Neelam
Tinola—it’s chicken in ginger broth with lots of moringa leaves. A super soup! ~ Priscilla
I’m a baby when I have a cold! I drink Thera-Flu and sleep as much as possible. ~ Jody
Time outside in the sun and fresh air if you have the energy for it. Go to bed early if you are able. Don’t treat a fever if at all possible; let your immune system do its job. Limit or eliminate dairy consumption. ~ Amber
Drink lots of water, nap with cats, cut things out of my immediate schedule, drink healthy soups, eat fruit. ~ Alice
Warm homemade soup, fresh juice with garlic and ginger, and a relaxing yoga sesh. That first sign of symptoms is typically an internal “scream” to slow down, reflect, and prioritize yourself. ~ Tara
A large hot whiskey before bed, a bit of sugar, and a few cloves in a slice of lemon. ~ Liz
Water, sleep, books. ~ Bev
Medicine ball tea: 12 oz. hot water, juice of 1/2 lemon, thin strips of lemon peel, ginger tea bag, organic honey to taste. Drink twice a day the minute you feel like you’re down. ~ Kat
Limit stress. Limit sugar. Drink broth. Blueberries and eggs. Tea, tea, more tea. Sleep. ~ Elise
Baths for the bone aches. Unplug the phone. ~ Lora
I stock up on Pedialyte because it has less sugar than Gatorade. I also make a pot of chili. It works every time. ~ Julia
Peanut butter toast! ~ Mary
Wrapping myself up like a burrito and crying for help…and Vicks VapoRub everywhere with a humidifier. ~ Dylan
Definitely when you feel the first twinge of a cold, smash a clove or 2 of garlic and let it set for 15 minutes to activate. Then, chop it and down it with lots of water. No need to chew it, just swallow the small bits like pills. I worked in an elementary school for years—this rarely fails. ~ Leah
Unscheduling everything and taking care of myself. ~ Shaunta
I’m a mum so I carry on as normal. Maybe treat myself to more cake than usual. ~ Eleanor
What would you add to the list?