If you’re anything like me, you might feel like you’ve been living with a constant cold so far this year. No matter how healthily I eat or how regularly I exercise, I seem to have caught every bug that has made its way through the office in the past few months, and as we finally near the end of winter it’s got me good. I’m stuck in bed – frustrated and defeated.
With a bulging work inbox, missed meetings and cancelled yoga classes (sob), catching a cold is quite possibly the most frustrating thing that could have happened to me this week! If you’re stuck with a cold and feeling the same, here’s a few of my favourite ways to cheer myself up and fight off the bug when I’m sick.
Ways to cheer yourself up when you have a cold
Don’t set an alarm
I know this is an obvious one – but sleep. Give your alarm a break, email colleagues any urgent messages the night before, and rest until you wake naturally. Nap through the day and go to bed early. Hell, fall asleep mid-way through your Netflix binge if you feel like it. I often find it helps to imagine it’s Monday morning and I have to get up for work – the blissful feeling of being able to roll over and go back to sleep is a serious novelty.
Eat foods that nourish your body
You might fancy nothing more than a Big Mac and fries, but try to stay away from junk and processed food when you’re unwell. Whilst the temptation to chuck a ready meal into the microwave might be great when you have no energy, clean and nourishing foods are going to make you feel a whole lot better. Soups and regular, light snacks are also great alternatives to heavier meals, giving your body a chance to fight the cold rather than focusing on digesting processed food.
On the other hand, you’re ill and it sucks, so you might need some chocolate. If you’re tempted, go for dark. It helps your brain release endorphins and serotonin, can act as an anti-depressant, and reduces cortisol levels. Plus, the abundance of antioxidants and other minerals help make it a guilt-free treat.
Run a bath and treat yourself
This is one of my favourite things to do when I’m stuck at home with a cold. I run a really deep, hot bath, light a few candles, pick up a book and relax. It’s always tempting to stay in bed and avoid the shower (who cares when you’re in bed, right?) but sometimes a warming shower or a steaming bath can really brighten your mood. Even better, add a face mask and a hair mask and call it a pamper session.
Drink lots (and lots) of water
Everyone knows we’re supposed to drink lots of water throughout the day, but it’s even more important not to become dehydrated when you’re unwell. Plus, if you’re spending half the day asleep you need to make sure you’re drinking enough in the hours you’re conscious! Too many times I’ve slept until lunchtime only to wake with a pounding headache. Keep a bottle by the bed and keep refilling – you’re also helping your skin which is efficient multitasking when you can’t even get out of bed…
To count towards your water intake, why not try a herbal tea. Peppermint is my favourite when I’m feeling ill and is great for anything from the common cold to a sore stomach. Other good alternatives are Blackberry, Cinnamon (good for nausea), Juniper oil (add to hot water and inhale the steam to help relieve congestion) and Lemon (just add honey!).
Resist the temptation to work
Treat this as an unexpected day away from the office – that’s a treat, by the way! – and stop feeling guilty that you’re missing your 10am conference call. Your colleagues can make it through the day without you. I struggle with this one and tend to constantly check my building inbox throughout the day, meaning I never quite fully relax and end up with a lingering cold when I get back. Sign out of your emails, turn your out of office on and let the team know you’ll be back as soon as you’re feeling well again. There’s nothing better than knowing you’ve fully recovered and you’re ready to go full steam ahead.
Write a list to calm your mind
If the temptation gets too great and you start to worry about the chores stacking up around you, jot down a list of all the things you haven’t been able to do. I do this as things pop into my mind so I don’t forget them and then I close the notebook and continue trying to not work. Getting yourself better is your main focus, but keeping track of things might help you feel in control – it works for me. If you can, delegate the tasks that are building up (great excuse to ask your other half to clean the bathroom/do the shopping/make dinner) or take the list with you when you’re back in the office and tackle it with a focused mind!
Watch/read something that makes you happy
The novelty tends to have worn off after the first day of lounging around in PJs, so you might want to read a book or catch up on Netflix. A boxset binge is, in my opinion, a great use of your time when ill, but try to keep the viewing choices light and upbeat rather than choosing something that might bring you down more. 24 Hours in A&E is perhaps a no, then.
I’m currently reading ‘The Art of Travel’ by Alain de Botton which has been an amazing choice whilst I’ve felt unwell, as it focuses a lot on how the anticipation of travel and what happens in the mind is sometimes better than the reality of being there. Cue me closing my eyes and dreaming of my trip to Paris next month! On that note, book a holiday or search Pinterest for travel ideas – always does the trick.
Skip browsing through social media
FOMO sucks at the best of times, not least when you’re bed bound. Try to avoid browsing Facebook feeds or scanning Instagram or you may end up feeling more sorry for yourself. ‘I’m feeling unwell’ sympathy-garnering tweets are totally okay though.
Call your mum/nan/best friend
Who better to cheer you up when you’re feeling unwell? Plus you’re likely to have free time you weren’t expecting at your disposal. When did you last have time for a proper catch up call with your nan?
Open the window and get some fresh air
Unless it’s snowing or minus temperatures outside, some fresh air could do you good. I hate the stuffy, claustrophobic feeling of being stuck indoors, but sometimes just pulling up the blinds and cracking open the windows makes me feel instantly brighter.
Look at blue
Yes, really. I’m biased, but according to colour psychology, looking at the colour blue relaxes your mind. I’ve always said a blue sky makes me happy! If it’s a sunny day, once you’ve opened the window take a few minutes to stare at the sky. You might as well give it a try, you have time on your hands 😉
What do you do to cheer yourself up when you’ve got a cold?