Anatomy of a sick day

Some people have perfect pockets of the week where self-care easily fits in: Wednesday night yoga or early Sunday aromatherapy or Thursday afternoon therapy. The soothing routine of it is a big part of its healing properties. When things get tough, that Tuesday lunch meditation session shines like a lighthouse in a sea of (pardon my French) bullshit.

I have some of my own routines: Sundays, Sam sleeps in and I listen to soft music, light all the candles, and paint. Every other Wednesday, I get a half-hour table massage and chat with my massage therapist Lee Ann. Every other day, I take a walk or a jog before work. But some of my most potent self-care moments are unexpected or or out of the ordinary.

Last week, I got a bug. Something was going around, something very rude to the tummy, and I caught the fever and exhaustion of it – but my iron stomach resisted the rest. I powered through most of the week but found myself completely unable to get out of bed on Thursday. After calling in as the next victim of whatever jerk germ had taken hold of our agency, I saw the opportunities ahead of me: I could really rest, hydrate, and catch up on the lower-impact activities that sometimes fall by the wayside during the five-day, eight-to-five work week. I found myself pondering what would heal me the most in mind and body. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. I’m a strict three-liter-a-day kind of girl, but when I’m sick I tend to not want to go back and forth between the sink and the bathroom. Thursday, I gave myself permission to crack open sparkling water after Topo Chico after ice cold tap water.
  2. I busted open that dog-eared Soup Box Cookbook and made some really nourishing food. My mood lately is to cook two things at once, that way I can have food for lunches or for a second meal. This time, I made low-fat, veggie-heavy cream of chicken rice, while roasting chicken and artichokes in the oven. The smell itself was a miracle worker for my headache. Plus, vegetables are supposedly very good for you? Huge if true.
  3. I got a little fresh air before it got extremely hot out. It was just a quick walk, but it cleared my head and tired me out enough to go back into my nap coma.
  4. I found a calming, easy listening podcasts, a bit by accident. A podcast I listened to occasionally about (a show I do not watch) The Bachelor, Rose Buddies, converted into a podcast about enthusiasm, Wonderful! No, that wasn’t just me exclaiming – that’s the name, punctuation and all. Every week, wonderfully sweet Rachel McElroy and Forbes 30-under-30 media luminary Griffin McElroy talk about one thing each of them is pumped about. Examples include the phrase “no worries” and the notes Carly Rae Jepsen sings before the chorus in “Cut to the Feeling.” The podcasters talk just above a whisper as to not wake their baby, which was just the volume I needed when my head was pounding.

By Friday, I was well-rested, enthusiastic, and nourished, ready for the last push before the weekend. I avoided the pitfalls of a sick day: sleeping the entire time and being just as tired the next day; eating junk food; and feeling unproductive. Being away from a screen for most of the day helped most of all, though perhaps it was second to Carly Rae Jepsen appreciation.

What are your best sick day sanity home remedies? How do you push through a fever without ODing on Gatorade or falling into a Netflix shame spiral – or is that your cure?

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