Enlightened State

How to Care for Yourself When You're Sick

WellnessMorgan VanekComment

It's officially cold and flu season.  Nearly everyone in my office has called in sick this month, and I am terrified that I'll be next.  I hate being sick, so I have my fingers crossed that this crop of illness will pass me by.  Unfortunately, my history indicates that I won't stay lucky for long.  I always manage to catch whatever is going around, whether it's a simple cold, a stomach bug, or even a bad flu.  

Earlier this year, I wrote about how to avoid sickness.  But even if you take every precaution, there's still a chance you'll catch something.  There are germs everywhere, and it's impossible to avoid them.  Your immune system can only take so much! If you're one of the unlucky ones who get sick this winter, there are things you can do to make being under the weather more comfortable.  

Use the list below to prepare for the ultimate sick day. Healing your body is the name of the game, and I've done all the research so that you can focus on getting well as quickly as possible.  By following these steps, you'll be feeling better in no time!     


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1. Grab a mug and heat up some clear liquid. Herbal tea is a great choice, but one of my favorite remedies is a steaming portion of fresh Hot and Sour soup. A British study in 2009 found that warm liquids had more healing effects than room-temperature ones, so drink up - just be careful not to burn your tongue!

2. Stay hydrated! One of the best ways to heal your body is to provide it with enough liquid.  In addition to flushing germs out of your system, water will keep all of your cells in fighting condition.  Keep your water bottle full and your immune system will thank you.  

3. Consider using a neti pot. For the uninitiated, a neti pot is a special container used to run a saline solution through your nasal passage, which helps flush out mucus and thin it out.  If you're experiencing sinus issues, a neti pot can bring immediate relief.  

4. It's important to get plenty of rest when you're sick. Sleep is one of the most important tools in your arsenal when it comes to fighting sickness.  Multi-task during your naps by using a sleep mask that not only blocks out light, but also provides headache and sinus relief with pressure and cold therapy.  

5. Herbal tea is a sick-bed staple for a reason.  Any tea will bring relief, so feel free to choose your favorite.  However, there are several teas on the market that are formulated with special cold-fighting ingredients like peppermint, eucalyptus, and basil.  I like this one from Yogi Teas.  

6. Taking a long bath is a great self-care idea anytime, but it's especially helpful when you're sick.  The warm water will ease your muscles, and the steam can help clear your sinuses.  To amp up your bath time experience, use some bath salts that contain aromatherapy ingredients.  Besides smelling great, they can also help you get well.  

7. Sometimes, you just  need to feel comfortable.  Hearken back to your childhood and grab a cozy blanket to snuggle up with.  You'll stay warm and cozy in a plush blanket in your favorite color.  This is an inexpensive way to spoil yourself when you're sick - it's the next best thing to having your mom taking care of you all day.  

8. Speaking of staying warm, am I the only person who gets cold feet when I'm sick?  I don't know what it is, but it seems like it's impossible for me to keep my extremities  below freezing temperature, even if the rest of me is burning up.  I love pulling on a pair of cozy socks to combat this problem - especially when they're as cute as these ones are.  

What are your favorite sick day essentials?  Do you have any special rituals that help you feel better?