So… after 2 and a half years of avoiding the damn thing, I got COVID! My whole house got COVID. How all four of us managed to escape it for so long, we will never know. With two out of four going into London on trains regularly throughout the pandemic. It was a miracle we didn’t get it sooner but just when we thought we were immune – wham bam, thank you ma’am. In light of this recent bout of the lurgy, I want to share some things to do when you’re sick to feel better quicker!
Let’s start with a disclaimer that I’m obviously not a medical professional and whilst none of the things to do when you’re sick I’m going to mention in this post claim to be medical advice, don’t take it as such anyway.
And I also want to mention that I’m aware we all have had very different experiences with COVID and all felt different levels of sickness, so some of these points might not be possible for you at some stage. Whether it’s cold, flu or COVID, we do all need to listen to our OWN bodies. But some suggestions of what works for others never hurts.
What was my experience of COVID like?
Not too extraordinary, to be entirely honest. My Mum tested positive first, me and my Dad a few days after and my boyfriend a few days after that. None of us were really sick to the point where we couldn’t get out of bed but we did all feel pretty rough. There were a lot of symptoms which presented in all of us but not all.
I can only describe my COVID experience as a bad cold. I could feel it in the back of my throat one Sunday when I woke up and instantly knew something wasn’t right, although I didn’t feel bad yet. I tested negative that morning but by the evening, it was positive and I was starting to feel a bit worse.
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In the following days, I developed a cough and cold-like symptoms. I was also much more tired than usual, sometimes having to nap twice a day. The most basic of activities were wearing me out as well; like having a shower or making breakfast. But this lack of energy definitely came and went.
The only thing I did notice is that it wasn’t a steady onset of illness, which peaked then got better. I was finding I was getting random aches and pains at random times. Feeling better one day then worse the next. There didn’t seem to be any pattern to how I was feeling. My Dad and my boyfriend suffered with really bad headaches with their illness but my Mum and I didn’t.
What did I do to feel better whilst I had COVID?
I am firmly not someone who can stay in bed when they’re ill. You know you ALWAYS feel worse in the morning, so the idea of laying in bed and festering in my own illness made me want to gag. So I found during the week I had COVID, I was waking up exceptionally early, some days as early as 6. And I was getting up and showered, ready for the day before the sun even rose.
Like I said earlier, when you’re SERIOUSLY feeling ill, sometimes this isn’t an option and you just need to sleep in, get cozy in some luxury duvet covers and take it super slow and if that’s one of the things that help you then you should be sure to do it. But if you’re like me and feel the need to be pro-active in your sickness, then these tips will suit you.
When I say pro-active, I don’t mean exhausting yourself. You still need to take things slow, perhaps cancel some plans and chill out more than usual. I’m certainly not doing HIIT workouts or exercising whilst I’m sick! But these gentle things to do when you’re sick really do make me feel a LOT better and I hope they do for you too!
7 things to do when you’re sick
Start your day with a big glass of water
I mean, we should all probably be doing thing anyway but when you’re sick, this is a really important thing to do. Dehydration can make you feel so much worse and sickness can make us feel worse in the morning – when we’re typically the most dehydrated! So get that first cold glass of water in you as soon as you wake up.
Shower and get changed into clean clothes
I know it can be hard to muster the physical and mental energy to want to shower and get dressed when we’re ill but I can’t stress enough how much better this makes me feel. The hot water from the shower can be a great help for you sinuses too and putting on fresh clothes (even if they’re SUPER baggy and unflattering!) just makes me feel 5x less gross when I’m sick.
Eat something for breakfast
One of the really important things to do when you’re sick is eat, although arguably this is sometimes the last thing we want to do. Especially when we lose our sense of taste and smell! But eating something is really important for keeping your energy up slightly when you’re sick. Even just some fruit and yoghurt in the morning will do the trick.
Get some fresh air
Staying cooped up all day in the same room, breathing in the same stagnant air, isn’t going to make you feel any better. So try getting outside, even just for a little while. Take a gentle walk if you can, sit in your garden or on your balcony or even just throw the windows open if you can’t do anything else.
If you can, do some light stretching or Yoga
I use this very specific Yoga with Adriene practice called “Yoga For When You Are Sick” and it’s a great little sequence to help tend and nurture the body. There’s no difficult poses just soft and gentle stretches to help you un-crumple the body and put your body first, when it needs it the most.
Nap when you need to
I know naps can often feel like a waste of time but when we’re sick, our body REALLY needs sleep. Like me, you might find even the simplest of tasks take it out of you and a nap is exactly what you need to just recover that little bit more for the rest of your day.
Listen to what your body needs
And finally, LISTEN. Your body is telling you exactly what it needs but we’ve all got into that awful habit of not listening to it. Listen to your inner voice; it’s guiding you. If you have a sudden craving for a certain food or feel like you need to take a bath or go for a walk or go outside, then do it. I know you’re sick but your body will thank you for it.
Obviously this is all very subjective depending on the illness and the severity; I’m only talking about your common illnesses, like the flu or a cold, nothing more sinister. It’s important to let the sickness take its course but these things can definitely help you be proactive in feeling better throughout the day!