When Sickness Hits: Some Tips

Since cold and flu season is upon us (or at least upon me), I thought I’d help out the world by posting some of the epiphanies that have come to me during the last week of being sick. Here are some tips:

1. Don’t give in. 

Some friends swear by the “deny sickness at all costs” method. Feel a sore throat coming on? Some body aches? A cough? YOU ARE NOT SICK!

This method is not foolproof, however.

Last week I came to the point of acceptance that I very probably had developed tendinitis in my thumbs (quickly spreading to my wrists). Then I got hit with a sore throat that quickly developed into body aches and coughing up gunk. Meanwhile, I also sliced the tip of my ring finger open while cutting on onion.

Sometimes you just need to accept that something is wrong with your body, but no matter how many ailments you may get hit with, you just can’t give in. By that I mean, DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. Self-pity and despair always come most easily while a person is under the weather, but don’t give in to those seductive, deceptive emotions!

For example, a friend of mine maintained her ridiculous weekend schedule of getting up at 5am to go swimming. In the ocean. Even when her voice sounded like a goose that had been run over by a tractor. Swimming makes her feel alive, so she didn’t let sickness take that from her.

For me, exercise is the first thing to go when I’m sick. But, I do not compromise the creative stuff. I’ve been working on my novel until after midnight the past few days despite feeling weary, because late night is when the words flow and I’m on a roll! And because I have a job that allows me to sleep in. :)

2. Homemade chicken noodle soup it, if possible.

We all know homemade chicken noodle soup is magical. Or I suppose you could replace that with whatever comfort food you grew up with, but I find it hard to believe any other option would be equally nutritious, soothing, and filling. My awesome roomie surprised me with some homemade chicken noodle soup at midnight on Saturday, and it was basically the best surprise ever.

My roommate is native Korean, but her chicken noodle soup tastes just like home!

3. Sometimes you just need some Justin Bieber.

I know I’m about five years late on this, but his “Baby” song is really catchy! Obviously I don’t actually mean that Justin Bieber is the key, per se, but whatever song gets you pumped up, dancing, or singing along. Put that on.

4. Spread your sickness to whoever possible.

JUST KIDDING. Please don’t. I hope all of you know how to cough into your elbows and wash your hands, because many of my students still haven’t gotten that memo. It’s something we’re working on.

5. Meds can disappoint.

Sometimes you need medicine. Like if you get an infection that is slowly taking over your body and is threatening to turn your foot gangrenous (which may or may not have happened to me a couple months ago). Medicine can be helpful. But don’t pin all your hopes to it, because sometimes it’s not the miracle worker you were hoping for. If it’s just treating symptoms, then it’s not even helping you get better! Mix meds with rest, laughter, and maybe some fruit. (I like the dark blue grapes they sell here in Korea, but they do require some work because you have to spit out the skins and seeds. And then your fingers get dyed blue.)

6. And finally, if your voice gets husky, enjoy it.

‘Cause when else can you?

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Elizabeth is an American living in South Korea who believes in destiny, miracles, and living life intentionally. She holds to simple faith in a complex world, values the beauty of the everyday, and strives for vulnerability with other imperfect humans. She is always learning, laughing, and finding herself in awe of grace.

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