There are lots of things to do when you are sick, things that will make you feel better and things to alleviate your boredom as you convalesce. Since it's officially that time of year again, you might want to keep a checklist by your bed or on your desk, just so you know how best to pamper yourself and get back to your usual, sunny self. Prevention is the best cure, but if you find yourself run down with a cold or the flu, here are some of the best things to do when you are sick so you won't get worse or go stir crazy.
1. Sleep and Sleep Some More
Sleep is one of the best things to do when you are sick. You need your rest and you shouldn't feel bad if you sleep the night through but still feel like napping during the day. Even if you've slept so much you feel like you'll go crazy if you close your eyes one more time, you can still relax. Veg out on the couch or in bed, or take some time for yourself in the tub or the shower. Just remember, even though it feels good, don't make the water too hot.
2. Load up on Fluids
Your mom always told you to drink your OJ when you were sick, and her advice still holds true. You need plenty of fluids to rehydrate your body and boost your immune system, but you need the right kinds of beverages. Fresh juices filled with vitamin C are ideal, and you should drink lots of water too. That's not all, though ...
3. Include Plenty of Hot Beverages
Hot beverages are so good for you when you're sick. They warm you from the inside out and provide you with much needed nutrients and vitamins. Try some hot apple cider if you like, especially in the wintertime. Teas are your best bet, though, and you can try all kinds. A plain tea with some honey and lemon will make you feel loads better, but herbal teas, such as chamomile and lavender, will also help you. Whenever possible, though, add in the lemon juice and honey, if they're to your liking. You'll get a dose of vitamin C and the honey helps with inflammation.
4. Eat the Right Foods (when You Can)
You might not feel like eating a lot when you're sick, but you need to try. It's true that chicken soup will help you feel better, simply because of the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants in the ingredients. Have some jello, eat some toast with your tea, or try certain types of pudding and oatmeal. You might not want to eat garlic by itself, although it's known to make you feel better, but you can still eat soups with garlic, or steam yourself some hearty vegetables and add in some olive oil and fresh garlic. Just remember that there are some things you shouldn't eat or drink.
5. Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages
In fact, those things deserve their own sub-heading. Specifically, you want to avoid a lot of dairy when you're sick. The hot cocoa might make you feel drowsy and the ice cream might feel wonderful on your aching throat, but opt for hot tea and popsicles instead. Too much dairy causes way more mucus in the body, so you'll be left blowing your nose and coughing up phlegm. Your sinuses will swell, you'll get a headache, and it's harder to swallow. Leave the milk, ice cream, and even the yogurt for when you're feeling better – unless you choose nondairy versions, of course, especially with yogurt. That way you can still benefit from the probiotics.
6. Catch up on Your Reading
As long as you don't overdo it to the point where your eyes get tired, reading is an excellent thing to do when you're sick. It helps you relax and it distracts you from how awful you feel. You're able to transport yourself to another world where there's no Kleenexes or cough medicine. Take the time to catch up on your reading, because that way you won't get bored or antsy. If your eyes are too tired or you have a headache, try listening to a book on CD or MP3 instead.
7. Consider Certain Kinds of Exercise
Hear me out, because I'm not telling you to head to the gym, go for a jog, or even do jumping jacks in your living room. Something low impact, however, such as certain yoga stretches or even some meditation, may actually help you feel better sooner. Just don't do anything high impact and stop as soon as you feel out of breath.
8. Have a Binge-Watching Session
Vegging out is perfectly acceptable when you're sick, but a lot of us are so busy that we feel guilty when we're not doing anything. You don't need to feel bad about chilling out when you're under the weather. If you can't make yourself relax, you should distract yourself, and binge-watching your favorite shows or movies is an excellent way to do that. Watch all of House and look for clues to a cure for the common cold. Check out every season of The Walking Dead, and take heart in the fact that you're not a zombie – even if you feel like one.
9. Try Some at-Home Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is excellent, especially if you're suffering from congestion or a sinus infection. You can run a humidifier, or bend low over a bowl of hot, steamy water, with a towel over your head to get the most of the steam. You can even give yourself a foot bath, or soak in the tub. Just, again, make sure your baths aren't too hot, so you don't dry out your skin or risk catching a chill when you get out.
10. Put Together the Perfect Arsenal
As soon as you stretch out on the couch or in the bed, make sure you have everything you need. You might not feel like getting up for a while. Arm yourself with tissues, tea, throat lozenges, cough syrup, Vick's, some orange juice, books, music, your phone, and the remotes. Make sure you have other medication as well, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or Excedrin, along with cold and flu remedies. You need a glass of water as well, plenty of blankets and pillows, a trashcan so you're not leaving used tissues scattered about, and if you have a cat or a dog, keep them handy too. Cuddling will make you feel better!
11. Make an Appointment with Your Doctor
If you're simply not getting any better, one of the most essential things to do when you are sick is to call your doctor. You might have something more serious or, if your over the counter remedies simply aren't working, an antibiotic might help you get well sooner. You don't want to risk coming down with pneumonia or bronchitis.
I hate getting sick. I get whiny, antsy, and so sluggish. You might be tempted to keep up the status quo when you're ill, but you need to give yourself some time to rest and recuperate. If you take some time to do a few of these things, you'll feel better in no time. How do you pamper yourself when you're sick? Do you have any home remedies that work wonders?