Oct 28, 201409:00 AM
Lifestyles, Galas and Gaiety from St. Charles Avenue Magazine's Morgan Packard
Sick as a Dog
What to do when you get caught under the weather.
‘Tis the season … for cooler weather, pumpkin-flavored sweets, getting into the holiday spirit and the annual trick-or-treating of the flu and its virulent friends. If you’re fortunate enough to have made it this far without catching a bug, congratulations! I, for one, have not been so lucky, and recently found myself sitting at home nursing a fever and sore throat mid-work week. No one enjoys being sick, and for people who normally keep a busy schedule it doesn’t take long to catch cabin fever. So for the rest of us whom the sick bug has visited this season, and for those of us who have yet to be, here’s a list of how to survive your day(s) of recovery.
- Get plenty of rest. We know you’ve heard this one before, but it’s much more important than many folks realize. A lack of sleep actually takes a toll on your immune system’s ability to fight off infection and can impact how quickly you recover, too. Studies show that people who get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night reduces the number of days you’ll need to be absent from work for any type of illness. Take advantage and bank your Z’s!
- Drink up. It is recommended that the average healthy adult consumes six or eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, but when you are ill, this is even more essential. Liquids help the body flush out toxins, maintain a healthy temperature and deliver blood to your organs. If you have a fever or are sweating, you’re losing fluids even more quickly than normal, so you’ll need to replenish them if you want to feel better sooner. I recommend hot tea with ginger and lemon for its antioxidants and infection-fighting properties.
- Eat right. Your mom wasn’t kidding when she said chicken noodle soup has healing powers. The ingredients combine to create a superfood that will decrease inflammation, congestion, and dehydration all at once. Choosing healthy foods that fight your symptoms and nourish your body with what it needs can be one of the most important things you do when you’re under the weather. To read more about what food can do for you, I recommend this.
- Take a warm bath or shower. Not only is this soothing when your body aches from head to toe, but it can help you heal, too. Throw in some Epsom salts (1-2 cups) to your bath to ease pain and inflammation and if you have them add a few drops of essential oils for an aromatic experience that will also help open your pores for detoxification. Think lavender or chamomile for relaxation or neroli to lift your spirits.
- Enjoy a movie marathon. When else do you have time to kick back and watch all your favorite films from back in the day? Or maybe there’s a new blockbuster release or a television series that you’ve been wanting to see but haven’t found an excuse to watch. Now is your chance.
- Write a letter. Snail mail, old fashioned? Never. Sure, it’s easy to send a text message or an email, but nothing will replace the feeling of holding a physical memento. Take the time to pen a handwritten greeting to someone. It will mean much more than a digital throwaway and provides you with positive emotional benefits that are good for your health.
- Meditate. As long as you’re spending the day taking care of yourself, why not take care of your whole self? Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting in a silent room with your legs crossed and your hands on your knees. You can practice meditation in whatever style suits you; there are no requirements and it can be practiced anywhere. The main idea is to relax and focus your attention, clearing your mind of elements that may be causing you discomfort. This practice has been proven to provide both physical and emotional wellbeing that will stay with you throughout the day and can even improve your overall health.
- Read. Take your eyes off of your electronics and get lost in a good book. Joseph Addison once said that, “reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body.” Provide yourself with some mental stimulation that can lead to improved thinking skills, memory, stress relief and even basic knowledge and vocabulary. The next time someone asks you about what you’re reading, you’ll have a fresh answer.
- Learn a new skill. Have you always wanted to learn how to knit? What about that candle-making set that’s been in your closet collecting dust? Have you been planning on gardening but haven’t had the time to read up on seasonal plants? There’s no better time like the present.
- Play catch-up. Unfortunately, the world isn’t put on hold when we need to take a sick day. When you’re starting to feel better, take the time to organize and prepare yourself for getting back to the grind. Go ahead and answer those emails, declutter your home and put fresh sheets on your bed. When you get back on your feet, it’ll feel good to start with a clean slate.
Let us know in the comments if you have any sick day rituals we didn’t include here! And let’s all do our part to keep New Orleans happy and healthy.