There’s no better day to practice self-care than when you’re sick. It feels like there’s nothing you can do but wait out the symptoms, but right now, your body needs some extra TLC. You have to support it as it fights off infections and rebuilds your strength.
Here are some self-care practices to help you weather your sick days with less suffering.
Step 1: Sick Day Should be a Stress-Free Day
A study showed that about 60% of doctor’s visits can be partly attributed to stress. Stress weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight diseases. So when you’re sick, the best thing to do is to avoid stress. This way, your body has one less thing to worry about.
Tune Out from Work
You’ve probably been in a situation where you don’t want to call in sick–and you’re not alone. In a survey of 2,800 workers, 57% of employees claimed that they still show up at work, even if they’re sick.
The common reasons? They have too much work to do or they don’t want to use a sick day.
However, the last thing you should do when you’re sick is to overexert your body. Knowing when to take a pause is part of work-life balance. When you take a break from your work emails, you give your body time and space to recover. What’s more, you dial down your anxiety. There’s also a lower risk for eye strain, plus you can have longer and better sleep.
Work can wait; focus on recovery first.
No To-Do Lists Today
Don’t feel guilty when you can’t attend to your daily chores. A sick day naturally disrupts your routine, so don’t force yourself to do your laundry or weekly clean-up. As mentioned earlier, overexertion makes it difficult for your body to heal.
It’s okay to delay unloading the dishwasher and working on the garden. You can attend to all those once you feel stronger.
Do Stress-Relieving Activities
As you recover, flush out all the stress in your body. Sweat it out with some light exercise or take some Verma Farms CBD gummies to aid your relaxation. Rewatch your favorite shows, listen to your comfort playlist, and play your favorite video games. Just take care not to strain your eyes with all the close focus. Get outside if the weather is nice, and take a walk in the woods. Fresh air is great for healing, and some cultures engage in Forest Bathing, a practice of going into the woods to reconnect with nature and improve wellness.
Step 2: Self-Care Is Anchored on Healthcare
Now, self-care is not always about indulgence. When you’re sick, you have to be mindful of the things you do and give to your body. Here are some healthy self-care practices:
Pay Attention to Your Fluid Intake
No, your iced coffee doesn’t count. In fact, dehydration is one of those things you have to watch out for. While caffeine itself won’t cause dehydration, it’s better to swap out your latte with water.
When you’re sick, proper hydration helps your skin and mucous membrane put up a barrier against bacteria. In addition, water can help ease nasal irritation, especially when you’re sneezing and coughing.
Go Easy on Your Stomach
Limit your comfort foods. While they might give you temporary mental relief, greasy and sugary food will give your stomach a hard time. So, choose dishes that are healthier and easier for your stomach to digest, like a soothing bowl of warm soup with lots of vegetables and protein. The broth is soothing to your stomach, the micronutrients in the vegetables will help you to heal faster, and the protein will help you to maintain your muscles while you’re laid up in bed..
Step 3: Indulge in Simple Pleasures
Being sick means you have an excuse to spoil yourself a bit. So get cozy and get ready to spend the day in your comfiest sweatpants.
Sleep In Guilt-Free
Sleep is crucial to your immune system’s processes. Your body produces and releases cytokines, proteins in the immune system that target infections, most effectively when you’re sleeping. If you’re sleep-deprived, your body can’t form a proper immune response.
In addition, sleep allows your body to focus energy for immune response, clearing out infections and waste, and healing infected tissues. This is difficult during your waking hours, when much of your energy is spent on movement and extensive cognitive functions.
That said, quality is just as important as the length of your sleep. Start a good sleep routine and don’t hesitate to sleep in.
Take a Warm Bath
Hot water can calm the senses, while the steam soothes the nasal passages. If your muscles and joints are sore, try adding Epsom salts to relieve the pain.
It’s easy to feel cranky and irritable during sick days. When you have a runny nose and you’re dizzy from the flu, every little thing seems to stress you out.
Stress is your body’s enemy number one. To help soothe your nerves, try meditating and breathing exercises. They can take your focus away from the pain, reduce negative emotions, and increase your tolerance. Since being sick often means stuffy sinuses, deep breathing might not be comfortable. Try meditating semi-reclined and breathing slowly, through either your nose or your mouth, using a guided meditation or music. By lowering your heart rate and letting your body relax more deeply, you’re encouraging faster healing.
Remember, you only have one body, so you should take good care of it, especially when it’s at its weakest. The next time you feel like you’re coming down with a fever, bundle up and get your self-care supplies ready!