Sunshine: Staying Positive when Sick

I don’t get sick very often. I’m one of those fortunate people who usually only gets sick once or twice a year, but, when I do get sick, it absolutely destroys me for a day to two weeks, and I cannae function at all during that time. And when that happens, I am abed with strong symptoms and struggling to find some positivity in the situation. I have to work pretty hard to see the silver lining on the cloud.

This past week I have been pretty out of it. I haven’t been very attentive to some important parts of my life, like my online course, summer job applications, and blogging, because I have been slowly getting sick throughout the weekdays. My throat got dryer as the days more on and I began drinking two litres of water every day. This weekend it culminated with me regurgitating what felt like my body weight (but wasn’t really, because that’s scientifically impossible) three times over the course of Saturday.

I woke up with a throbbing headache, rolled over, and threw up into my trash can. What a wake-up call; the perfect way to start the day. I thought, “Okay self, let’s drink a lot of water, take some vitamins, have a shower, feel human again, and take it easy today”. I had, after all, things to do, like my online course, summer job applications, and this blog post.

Of course, that did not happen.

Despite the warm shower, vitamins, comfortable warm clothes, it only got worse. I sat in bed, slowly eating breakfast and doing the listenings and readings for my online course. I was constantly shivering and felt cold, despite my body being hot all over. My head was beating like a drum and I actually started nodding off while finishing the readings, I was so tired. I forced myself to finish them, because the assessment was due that night, and then pushed away my laptop and snuggled under my covers for a nap, thinking that a wee sleep would do me some good and I could write my answers to the two assessment questions afterwards.

…And then I woke and immediately threw up my breakfast. I was even colder, more shiver-y, and feeling really sick. I basically gave up on any semblance of normalcy and concentrated on feeling better, taking more vitamins and alternating between drinking lots of water, napping, reading a book, listening to music (especially Awesome Mix Vol. 1 from Guardians of the Galaxy, Save Rock and Roll by Fall Out Boy, and Letter to Hermione by David Bowie), and taking trips to the bathroom to dry-heave. I did throw up a third time, about 5pm, and then buried myself under my covers for a final nap.

About 7pm, when I would normally eat dinner, I felt well enough to sit up, drink water, eat some strawberries and crackers, and watch an episode of Outlander, one of my favourite TV Shows. Television is excellent for redirecting your attention. After that episode, I felt well enough to complete the two answers for my online course, completing and submitting them for 8:30pm.

After that, I just drank a lot of water, ate crackers and strawberries, and binge-watched three more episodes of Outlander until I fell asleep.

Luckily for me, I woke up this morning with my nausea and shivers completely gone. I’m taking the day slowly, doing a lot of reading and resting. I’ve talked with my flatmates, eaten some solid food, and even read some of a novel, “Handle with Care” by Jodi Picoult, outside in the sunshine.

And now I’m writing this blog post in the midafternoon sun with my window open, feeling more human than I have all week. How did I survive yesterday’s hellish roller-coaster of vomit, chills, and headaches? Well…

5 Things this weekend taught me about staying positive while sick:

  1. Drinking a lot is good for me, especially when throwing up makes me lose a lot of moisture, but it can make me feel good as well. When my body is completely imbalanced and uncomfortable, drinking so much cool fresh water, tasty fruit juice, and warm relaxing tea helps me unwind and feel comfortable.
  2. Giving myself a mental rest from illness is key. Distraction tactics can take my mind of my current sick state. Listening to music, reading a book, and watching TV are great ways to stop thinking about how crappy I feel and escape to another world rather than wallowing in my discomfort and unhappiness with the current state of affairs.
  3. Napping can be a good thing. If I feel tired, a short nap can give my body the down time it needs to fight the illness, regain some energy, and rejuvenate me. If I’m nodding off, a wee nap can give me what I need. As long as I go to sleep when I feel sleepy and get up when I wake up, I am giving my body what it needs, no more or less.
  4. Treating myself to something tasty that won’t make me sick is a good idea. I noshed on a lot of Ritz Crackers and fresh strawberries, which I love, and are light and not too aggravating for a sick stomach. Not only did they help me get well, it also felt nice to munch on things I consider to be treats. It made me feel better just by eating them.
  5. Letting the people I love know that I’m okay and talking to them a bit keeps everyone in the loop, retains my connection with the world, gives me access to advice, and shows me that the people in my life care about me. Like John Donne wrote in his 1624 poem ‘Devotions upon Emergent Occasions’ (in a completely different time, under a completely different illness, within a completely different socio-cultural context), “No man is an island entire of itself; every man/ is a piece of the continent, a part of the main/ if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe/is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as/well as any manner of thy friends or of thine/own were; any man’s death diminishes me,/because I am involved in mankind.” Even when I am sick and tired and frustrated and feeling alone… reaching out is a good way to connect with others and combat those feelings. I like supporting my loved ones when they are sick or sad, so I should let them do the same for me. As I wrote on Twitter a wee while back… Sometimes it’s just really important to say that you’re not okay and let the people you love support you. When you’re feeling down, let the people who love you help you stand up.

What do you do to try to stay positive when you feel sick? Do you have tricks and tips to make yourself feel better? Drop me a line in the comments!

If you enjoyed my second ‘Sunshine’ and ninth total blog post, check out my first ‘Sunshine’ and second post “Sunshine: My Positive Attitude”, all about why I think a positive attitude makes ANYTHING possible.

Thanks for dropping by!


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