How to Get Enough Rest When You’re Sick

It’s hard to step out of your routine for a few days, but deep rest is the fastest road to healing.

Posted in , Jan 22, 2020

How to rest when you have the flu

I don’t know if it was “the flu,” or if it was just a “flu-like illness,” but last week I was laid up with a fever, cough, body aches and general misery. The first two days, it was easy to rest, and by “easy” I mean I had no choice but to lie down, nap repeatedly, sip herbal tea and take Tylenol to help control the fever.

Midway through Day 3, my fever came down significantly and disappeared soon after that. But in no way, shape or form was it time for me to jump back into errand-running, task-accomplishing or even much body-moving. I was better, but I was not yet well.

This is a danger zone for me, as my whole life I’ve struggled to have the patience to rest for long enough when I am felled by a virus or other inconvenient illness. Too many times, that’s resulted in a second cold, cough or bug finding its way into my worn-out system and extending my sickness. 

Getting sufficient rest is a habit of highly positive people. So this time around, I made a point of doing more than usual to let myself be fully recharged before I dove back into the deep end of my daily routine. Here are 4 ways that might help you do the same this cold and flu season.

1) Be Ruthless in Your Cancellations
Have no mercy when distinguishing between “want to” and “have to” tasks, conversations and events while you’re sick. Anything other than an absolute must can wait.

2) Think of Others
When you bail on a commitment because you have the sniffles, you’re not playing a get-out-of-jail-free card. You’re keeping your germs where they belong—inside your body, where you can fight them without sharing them with anyone else.

3) Listen to Yourself
You’re a pretty intelligent, intuitive creature. But remember there’s more than your brain sending you messages as you get over being sick. If you feel foggy in your thinking, achy in your back or neck or toppled into a coughing fit if you take the stairs too fast, read your own signals and slow down.

4) Celebrate Your Return to Wellness
The best part of getting a proper rest after an illness is that feeling when you know deep inside that you’re both better and well. Celebrate your return to real life with a special coffee drink, a lunchtime walk around the neighborhood, a phone call to a friend you couldn’t talk to last week or any activity that brings you pleasure and gratitude to be living in your healthy body.

Sometimes maintaining a positive outlook requires taking time for yourself. How do you make time to rest when your body needs it?

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