Winter is here, and I am reminded again of why I love it so much. ‘Tis the season for warm sweaters and scarves, hot cocoa, holiday cheer, the list can go on.
While there is a lot of fun to be had in winter wonderland, it’s also the season that comes with the chills—and I’m not talking about the icy weather here. Recently, I came down with a nasty case of the flu. I’m talking heavy congestion, restless headaches, aching muscles, and worst of all, the sleepless nights.
You know what I’m talking about: those nights when that darn fever just won’t quit. I was incredibly exhausted, but trying to sleep was utterly painful and frustrating. Half the night was a workout comprised of tossing and turning in every way possible in the hopes of finding some actual comfort.
By morning, I was still quite ill and restless to say the least. Fortunately, I was able to take time off from school and work, but I wondered what I would have done if that hadn’t been the case. Probably cocoon back into the covers and think nothing of it.
I’m kidding. I’m not that lucky. Most of us aren’t.
As adults, many of our day-to-day responsibilities feel like they can’t be avoided, and some days, that may be true. But is keeping schedule during a sick day really worth putting your well-being at risk of getting worse?
And it’s not just about you. You’re more likely to pass that pesky flu bug to everyone around you, and then they’ll pass it to others, and so on the virus goes.
I know, it’s not easy to take a sick day or two off when it seems like the pressure is coming from all sides, whether it's school, work, or a special function. But seriously, you need to relax. Simply taking cold medicine and running out the door isn’t going to cut it. What will help is proper bed rest (and lots of it). Here’s how to recover as quickly as possible.
1. Take the day off.
Like I mentioned earlier, trying to rest with fever aches throughout the night isn’t easy, which is why it’s important that you make up for that lost sleep. Call in sick or arrange to take that pop quiz on another day. It’s not the end of the world.
2. Take your medicine.
And go back to bed. Enough said.
3. Get comfy.
Gather your best blankets and pillows to keep warm when you’ve got the chills. Pro tip: layer two pillows so that your head stays elevated. This will help with the headaches and congestion, trust me.
4. Take a hot shower.
Hot showers stimulate blood flow to your body and will help relieve your symptoms quickly. The steam and moisture will loosen chest congestion and clear your sinuses while warming you right up. Taking hot showers will also relieve muscle aches and headaches to help you get a relaxing night’s sleep.
5. Use a humidifier or air purifier.
Like the steam of hot showers, humidifiers moisturize your nasal passages and make breathing easier so you can get the rest you need for a speedy recovery. Air purifiers clean the air of viruses and bacteria, which is great for maintaining a healthy home as well.
6. Drink plenty of fluids.
Warm water, hot soups, stews, and herbal teas should do the trick. My favorite sick day meal is the classic chicken soup with a cup of green tea on the side. Whatever you have, make sure you’re still drinking water throughout the day, because that’s most important. And always leave a glass or a bottle of water by your bedside.
7. Take it easy.
Try not to dwell on how bad you’re feeling or feel that your day’s gone to waste. Sleep it off, or curl up and binge your favorite shows. I know if I had forced myself to get up and do things on my sick day, I would have ended up dealing with even more sick days. The more you rest, the faster you will heal.