How to Help Yourself Feel Better When You’re Under the Weather

Chicken Noodle Soup -

This article was originally written as a list of things to do when you had a cold, as far as vitamins & supplements & things to help you get over having a cold sooner. Unfortunately though, I ended up being sick for two whole weeks, first with the cold which sparked me to write this article, & then just when I starting to feel a little better from that, I caught a nasty flu, which I am finally over. A few days ago, it was so nice because I finally started feeling normal again.

Because of these factors, the point of the article became this : when you’re not feeling at 100% for whatever reason (even if you’re just tired & stressed, & not actually sick), what are some things you can do to support yourself during the healing process? I realized that sometimes the only way out is through; sometimes you have to trudge through the depths of something to get to the other side, & there are no shortcuts. Healing is often one of those things. As much as we would like a quick fix, instant feel-better button, sometimes we just have to let things run their course.

While you are letting things run their course, you might feel powerless. You might feel like there is something more that you should be doing to change your situation. You might feel like you should be doing better than you are, but let me tell you this – you are doing just fine!

Admittedly for me, when I don’t feel well, it makes me uncomfortable mentally because the version of me I display to the world is often focused on being fierce, strong, & flawless ALL THE TIME. It’s just the way I am. When I don’t feel well, I feel like I’m betraying this persona. If you feel like this, you’ll feel better if you recognize that this isn’t a realistic ideal to expect at all times, because literally NO ONE is perfect / healthy / happy / capable / etc all the time – not celebrities, not random strangers you see, leaders, all the cool people you see online, etc (although sometimes this is the version of these people we are presented with). In other words, please try to remember that it’s perfectly okay not to feel 125% awesome every single moment of every day. 

Since last year, I’ve been working on being more compassionate towards myself when I don’t feel perfectly fantastic in whatever way. This means I’ve stopped blaming myself or being angry at myself (if my _______ was better, this wouldn’t have happened), trying to figure out “why” (it must be because I didn’t do such & such thing), or in any way implying that it happened because I wasn’t good enough for some reason. When you don’t feel your best, it is especially important to be gentle with yourself.

Here are a few ways that I find helpful as ways of being gentle with yourself, & therefore, allowing yourself to heal.

★ Take care of yourself physically. This may not always feel good when you’re not feeling good, but it really will make you feel so much better. Try to stay hydrated, even if you don’t feel like drinking water. Drink tea & warm broth & organic veggie & fruit juices. Get plenty of sleep. Try to stay nourished by eating healthy things when you feel like eating. Take vitamins (especially Vitamin C & Vitamin D). Eat in a way which feels intuitive to what your body is craving, but try to stay away from extra salt & added sugars. Eat plenty of fruits & veggies, which is hopefully something you try to do normally anyways, because eating well makes your life better.

★ Don’t push yourself to do too much if you don’t feel like it. This one was a challenge for me when I was sick, because I take pride in being highly productive. I had to remind myself that it was perfectly okay if I didn’t feel like doing all the things I normally did, & there was nothing wrong with putting a pause on being productive. I spent a lot of time lying on my back staring at the ceiling, cuddling with my dog, & lying around places. I felt bad at times about the fact that I wasn’t getting stuff done, but I had to remind myself that resting was the thing that would help me heal the soonest, & was the most supportive thing to do

★ Drink lots of tea. Tea is the closest thing to a hug in a food or beverage. Drinking tea makes me feel comforted & relaxed, & as an added bonus, it’s hydrating & helps you feel better. I avoided tea with caffeine, which is something I typically do anyway, & ended up drinking a lot of flavored herbal teas involving chamomile or lemon.

★ Rest as much as possible. I had to go to work some of the days I was sick, but on the days I didn’t work, I went to my room & took long naps. I snuggled with my dog on the floor & slept, & I fell asleep in a variety of cozy, safe places in my house, acknowledging the fact that I was tired & realizing how rest would help me feel better. When I wasn’t sleeping, I tried to take it as easy as possible. I sat on the couch & used my computer, watched television, surfed the internet, & watched YouTube videos. It was very restorative, & I think that in my normal, healthy life I need to devote more time to taking breaks from things & just relaxing.

★ Find your favorite fuzzy blanket. Wrap yourself in your favorite fuzzy blanket & sit around. I spent a lot of time wrapped up in my incredibly soft owl throw blanket, which made me feel better because it is both fuzzy, & is covered in owls. This is something comforting I do for anxiety-related issues as well.

★ Light a white taper candle & focus on directing healing light to your immune system, or whatever part of your body is bothering you. I also lit a tea candle in my Himalayan salt lamp, & when both candles were lit, I put some of my favorite healing crystals (like amethyst) around them. While I was at this, I lit the fairy lights in my room, & the combined effect of both types of lighting was beautiful. (Safety note : make sure all candles are put out before you doze off.)

★ Realize that the most judgmental person regarding you being sick is probably actually yourself, & not anyone you interact with throughout the course of the day. Most people didn’t care (or seem to notice) that my voice was squeaky & weird sounding, or that I maybe didn’t feel like doing everything I normally did. I had to remind myself that it probably wasn’t as noticeable to others as it was to me.

★ Stop blaming yourself. Try to show yourself & your body love + acceptance, & try not to be frustrated with yourself for the fact you don’t feel your best.

★ Taking lots of long, hot showers. These made me feel cozy, & the moisture & warmth helped my sinuses. Even though I am not normally a fan of taking baths, I took one very relaxing bath with Epsom salt & an amethyst crystal.

& for when you start feeling better :

★ Take all the sheets off your bed. Wash them. Wash any blankets that you feel are gross, & your pillow too if you want. Pick up all tissues, dishes, cough drops, & all other grossness from your room & dispose of them. Tumble linens you don’t want to wash in the dryer to hopefully kill some of the germs & to freshen them up. Open the window to your room & let some fresh air in, if the weather is appropriate. Cleanse your crystals in the sunlight or moonlight. Burn incense to cleanse your space, if you don’t think it will bother your sinuses / lungs. Pick up any extra items on the floor that are making your room look messy, & then stand back & admire your fresh, cleansed room.

Let yourself enjoy each milestone of feeling better. When you can finally sleep without propping your pillow up, or when you finally start feeling like yourself again. Remember to take care of yourself, take it slow, & most importantly, allow yourself to heal.