7 Awesome and Productive Things To Do When You Are Sick

7 Productive Things To Do When You Have the Flu

Photo Credit: Krista Mangulsone

It happens to all of us at some point. We get sick. So sick that we can’t do anything else for a few days. Rendered useless to the world, our family, our work, and ourselves. This was me just a few short days ago. And was miserable. I caught, and held onto longer than I would have liked, the flu.

I’m someone who thrives on movement and on making progress towards goals. When I’m sick I feel as though all movement stops and I’m set back in any progress I’ve made up to that point, in projects I’m working on and as a human. My mind becomes what I would consider “unhinged.” While all of that is most likely false and is a dirty trick my mind plays on me to make me feel even worse, I didn’t let being sick keep me from writing. While I was sick I wrote out the following seven productive things you should do when you have the flu.

7 Productive Things You Should Do When You Have the Flu

1. Sleep

Lack of sleep is probably one of the main reasons I got stuck with the flu in the first place, and is probably why I may get sick in the future (lack of sleep will not give you the strong immune system you need to fight back nasty things like the flu). Sleep is when our bodies are given time to rejuvenate, refuel, and stock up on what is needed to keep us healthy and protected from germs and other annoying things. Without enough sleep we deprive our bodies of the rest needed in order to stay healthy. I’ve been sleeping as much as I can and recommend you do the same next time you are sick.

2. Drink Water

Lack of water is probably another reason I caught the flu, so with clearer hindsight I’m taking time while I’m sick to drink as much water as possible. It is recommended for adults to drink 8 glasses of water each day. Why? Our bodies need water. Plain and simple. It goes places in our bodies to rejuvenate specific functions, and also aids in flushing out toxins that otherwise would linger and lead to sickness. When you are sick, increase your water intake and make it a goal to increase your daily intake when you are back on your feet again.

3. Stay Home

I know without any doubt that I caught the lovely strand of flu from one of my many colleagues at work who think they are proving something to show up to work sick, just after being sick, or knowing they are on the verge of full-on sickness. A few will even work through with a fever.

When you are sick, don’t be that person. Do the world a favor…too dramatic? Ok, well, do your colleagues, your family, and yourself a favor, and stay home when you are sick. You don’t need to work. Work can wait. This applies even if you work from home. The idea behind staying home is to limit the exposure your already weak immune system has to other germs floating around out there with other humans who you would most likely come in contact with if you left your house.

Stay home. Shuffle around in your house slippers. Let your hair look unkempt. And stare outside every once in a while, wondering what it would be like to be a bird (I may or may not have don’t this while sick…like I said earlier, being sick does strange things to my mind).

4. Watch House of Cards

Since you’ll be at home (you will stay home, right?) and there is a good chance you are one of the 75 million people with a Netflix subscription, allow yourself time to watch more TV than you normally would when you are healthy. TV is one of those things where it stimulates your mind enough to keep you awake, but that’s about it. You don’t actually have to feel awake to watch TV, especially when you are sick. You are resting your body, laying immobile for an hour here, an hour there, and so on. I used my most recent stint of being sick to catch up on Season 3 of House of Cards so that I could get closer to watching the newly released season 4. I didn’t finish season 3, but I am closer.

Maybe House of Cards isn’t what you enjoy, which is fine (I won’t tell President Underwood). Pick something you like. Binge, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your body will use the awake yet immobile time to fight what it needs to fight. Oh, and an added bonus to watching TV is that you will most likely be awake and able to get ahead of the game on your water/fluid intake.

5. Read

Similar to watching TV, for the benefits of laying immobile for an extended period of time while keeping up with water/fluid intake, is reading. Not that you want to look at it this way, but I certainly did: being sick gave me the time I typically only have when on our annual family trip to the beach to sit down and read for long stretches. Had I not gotten healthy so soon I may have finished the Grisham novel I am currently working through! Alas, I did not get a chance to finish it, but I certainly had plenty of time to sit and read while drinking enough water to quench the thirst of a camel arriving home from a desert journey.

6. Sleep Some More

Nap a lot. Between TV, reading, getting more water to drink, and starring outside wondering what it must be like to be a bird, you’ll be busy being sick. But you need your rest. Sleep, as mentioned in number 1 above, is the best thing you can do for your body. Once noon hits, and you’ve chewed-up some dry toast, lay down for an afternoon siesta. You’ve always wanted to (maybe) so now is your chance. Sleep for a few hours. Do not set an alarm. And just sleep.

7. Eat

I can’t leave this one out, even though I almost did. Eating when you are sick is a tricky thing. The context of this post is the flu, so eating is simple to write about. If you have a stomach bug, I can’t necessarily say what I’m going to write here will help or apply to what you are battling (but I do know what you are doing through…hang in there). If you have the flu or a cold, all six steps above are wonderful, but they don’t do much if your body is low on fuel to fight while you are sleeping, watching House of Cards, and reading. You must eat.

Despite having little to no appetite, you need to keep something in your stomach to help your body help you beat this flu thing back to where it came from! Eggs for breakfast, toast/crackers and/or chicken noodle soup for lunch, and probably another bowl of soup for dinner is what I did. And it seemed to work out well. My body was never running entirely on E, and what I ate had nutrients available for my body to use during the flu battle.

There you have it. My list of 7 productive things to do when you have the flu. I can’t guarantee that it will speed up recovery, or keep you from getting sick in the future, but I can say, from experience, that it will help you not feel as terrible when you feel like feeling terrible the most.

How would you modify this list? Care to share in the comments?

Photo Credit: Krista Mangulsone

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Aaron Aiken @aa