Even when we do all the right things, like sleep eight hours a day, eat well and exercise regularly, sometimes we just get sick. We can't help it. When and how we get ill is not necessarily in our control, but how we deal with it is. The feeling of helplessness when we're ill - either from a seasonal flu or a long-term condition - can push us into an emotional abyss. But you don't have to feel down in the dumps when your body is ailing. Time and time again, it has been seen that people who stay positive whilst ill tend to fight it better than those who nurture negativity. So, what can you do to stay up when your body is down? Here are seven tips to help keep your spirits up when you are unwell:
1) Accept that you are unwell
Slowing down is a big struggle for many of us! We live in a fast-paced and hectic society which mentally prevents us from relaxing. When we get sick, we feel guilty saying no, having to cancel obligations or take time out from work and life. But, taking a break to heal is essential, else you will prolong the process and any associated misery. Accepting you are ill doesn't mean that we have given up fighting or that we are inviting the illness to stick with us for ever. Once you accept you are unwell, you will take better care of yourself by turning your attention toward healing and keeping your illness in check.
2) Eat a healthy balanced diet
While superfood salads and kale smoothies may not appeal when you are sick, pigging out on Krispy Kremes and KFC may not be the best thing for you either (even though such comfort foods may appeal more). While you are recovering from illness, your body is working extra hard to repair and rebuild itself, so aim to eat balanced meals packed with nutrients. Try to eat little and often to ensure you maintain a steady supply of energy to your body and of course drink plenty of (non-alcoholic) fluids.
3) Look good feel good...and this goes for your surroundings too
When you're sick, pyjamas and sweat pants are in frequent rotation and showering is not quite a priority enough to get you out of bed! It can be hard to motivate to look good when you're feeling ill, but the mental and physical benefits of appearing pulled together are undeniable. You'll feel a gzillion times better after a steamy shower, some moisturiser, a spritz of perfume and some fresh (and attractive) clothes. The same goes for your environment actually, so toss the tissues, change the sheets (nothing like the smell of fresh linen) and make the bed (even if you're in it much of the day)! It is nice to be resting in a peaceful place that looks clean and smells nice.
4) Get some fresh air
Never underestimate the power of the outdoors. Some fresh air and a little sunshine can do wonders for the soul, especially if you are cooped up at home all day feeling rough. If you can, go for a short walk once a day. If you are really unwell and a daily walk is out of the question, sit in the garden or ask a loved one to take you out for a little drive. A little change of scenery is revitalising and can really help uplift your mood.
5) Tell your loved ones
Being sick is hard, and if you are unwell for a while, it can begin to grate on you and make you feel angry, anxious and/or sad. Friends and family can give you a good pep talk when you feel low or before you spiral into "poor me" syndrome. Keep your friends in the loop about your illness so that they know to check in on you periodically. Don't quickly turn away offers of soup and treats, if anything, some good company will help distract you from feeling sorry for yourself when ill!
6) Watch some TV
Watching TV is a great way to make the time pass and also temporarily distract you from your woes. But not all television is made for frequent breaks, numerous naps and a short attention-span! Given you already feel crappy, what you need is mindless entertainment as opposed to blood and gore which will likely render you queasy (as opposed to happy, which is the better goal). If TV is not your thing, then pick another activity. Maybe some reading, adult colouring, knitting or scrap-booking perhaps? Tune into anything light-hearted and fun that will help pass the time.
7) Laugh a little!
It is well known that laughter is the best medicine. Everything from a slight giggle to a side-splitting guffaw can enhance your mood and improve your heath. Laughter reduces stress hormones and releases feel good hormones, but most importantly, it helps boost your immune system and decreases pain. It sets off a chain reaction throughout the body that promotes physical and psychological well-being. So, get your giggle on and laugh your way to good health!