© 2014 jen

How To Take A Sick Day & Not Get Sick – The Preemptive Sick Day

We hear things like “take care of yourself” all the time; most of us try to do that.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but do you know how to ward off sickness just as it’s beginning to form? I think I do, and I thought I’d share it with you today.

To say that I’m experienced with getting sick is a massive understatement.

I’m one of those people who was born sickly.

I was sick at least once a month with some type of cold for pretty much my entire life until I was diagnosed with celiac disease a year and a half ago. Even after diagnosis, I still went through a period where I was sick quite often – not monthly, but at least quarterly.

My immune system was under attack for most of my life; as a result, I used to catch everything and stay sick, sometimes to the point of hospitalization.

I can’t say that I’m never sick anymore, but I have avoided at least 2-3 colds this year with a technique that I’m calling the Preemptive Sick Day.

Really, this isn’t rocket science – it’s about listening to your body and giving it what it needs. 

The Preemptive Sick Day:

When I feel like I might be catching something, I ask myself, “Do I feel like I’m about to get really sick?”

Sometimes, I might just have allergies or a slightly sore throat, but I’m fine other than that. I’m not talking about this type of sickness. I’m talking about the type where I have this feeling like I’m being dragged down into sickness. It feels different and I can feel my mind, body and energy being pulled into the sickness. When I feel this way, I proceed with the preemptive sick day.

1. Get home and get in bed – At the first signs of – “I’m being pulled under by this sickness” – try to clear your afternoon and get home and actually get in your bed, or lay on the couch with a blanket.

If this means leaving work early, try your best to do so, because if you can avoid getting sick, this could save you two or three days of missed work. Giving up an afternoon is much less time intensive and you can often avoid catching the bug in the first place. If you absolutely cannot leave work early, then just get in bed as soon as you get home. Shoes off, P.J.s on and get in the bed!

If you were planning to do something social after work, reschedule for another day, because you cannot be fully present and give of yourself when you’re not feeling well. Also, sharing germs is not cool! Don’t be that guy.

2. Sleep or at least stay in bed – Once you get in bed, stay in bed until the next day. The only exceptions to this are when you need to use the bathroom or get something to eat or drink. If you are someone who can nap (some folks just aren’t nappers), then take at least a 20 minute nap.

Sleeping helps the body heal. As someone who occasionally accidentally eats food (gluten) that my body cannot process, which makes me sick, my best line of defense is sleep. I usually feel much better after I wake up. This is because sleep actually helps the body’s natural immune function.

3. Let someone else get dinner – If you’re feeling like you’re getting sick, don’t cook for the family, if you have one. They don’t need your germs. You’re doing them a bigger favor by quarantining yourself than by cooking for them. Do what you need to to get more healing time: order a pizza, ask your partner or a friend to pick up take-out, have another family member make a simple dish. Do what you have to do to give yourself time to get better. If there is no one around to help out and you have to feed small kids, a pack of nuts and some fruit is enough to feed them and you for a night. Take care of it and then get back in bed.

4. Eat nutritious foods – I like to call these base foods: foods that have no sugar, no dairy, and no grains in them.  I am sensitive to grains, so I need to cut them out altogether when I don’t feel well. If you process grains well, you may not need to eliminate these when sick.

Sugar actually suppresses the immune system, so the more you avoid it when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, the better chance you stand of avoiding sickness entirely.  I’ve noticed that the more base I can go with foods, eating things like nuts, bananas, or even smoothies, the better I feel.

The reason for this is that when you eat foods that your body can easily break down and use for fuel, it’s like giving your body a break from digestion and giving yourself the tools to fight off the infection.

5. Drink up – When not feeling well, it’s really important to get proper hydration. Drinking water, tea, and broth can really help. The body can become depleted from loss of liquids when sick (through increased mucus production or diarrhea). Also, the increase in hydration helps increase body temperature and aids in breathing and other functions that the body needs to heal.

Our bodies are trying to deal with the current crisis – the sickness – and the more we can do to aid the body, such as proper hydration, the more quickly we can heal.

IMG_9294This is something I make for myself regularly, sick or not, but it’s extra great when you’re sick.

When I give myself time to heal, my body does this totally magical thing: it heals! No pills, no doctors, and no actual sickness – just good old-fashioned self care and healing!

The result of the preemptive sick day is that you can take care of yourself in a really thoughtful and healing way. Not only does it help speed healing, it’s also a great way to make yourself feel loved by you.

All too often, we, especially women, give so much of ourselves. We give until we have nothing left to give to anyone. Giving yourself the preemptive sick day can prevent the cold. It’s also the most loving, healing thing you can do for yourself and the people around you, because you’re healthier, and everyone deserves more health in their lives.

Take care of yourself, especially when you’re sick! XO