Spring allergies and stress letdown caught up with me in a major way in the last week. I could tell that I was getting sicker by the hour last Monday afternoon, and I knew I had a big week ahead. Sometimes schedules allow you to recover in bed for a while, but sometimes you need to keep up and at ‘em even though you’re feeling less than stellar. I’ve discovered a few tried and true methods for keeping my energy up even when all I want to do is sleep.
- Treat Yo Self. Donna and Tom have it right. Love Gatorade? Go for it. Want a Frappuccino? Go for it. Need some of mom’s homemade noodle soup? Yes please. Want a cookie? Sure, why not. Your body needs as much energy as it can to fight off your bugs, so drink and eat what tastes good. If you can get some fruits and veggies in there, that’s great, but at the end of the day, this is all about listening to your body and keeping yourself energized. Along those lines: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! This is the time to get as many fluids in your system as possible.
- Pamper your skin. If you’re anything like me, being sick can be very rough on your poor skin. A long time ago, I realized I was allergic to the lotion in tissues, so step one in pampering my skin is buying soft yet non-lotion tissues that I know won’t add another problem to the mix. You may need to exfoliate a bit if you’ve got some dry skin going on, and be sure to use your most gentle and hydrating moisturizer. Also, take it easy on any special products, such as acne treatments or anti-aging products – your skin needs you to be gentle right now.
- Put on the minimum of makeup. For me, putting on makeup is a fun ritual in the morning, and it helps me wake up and get in the zone. As much as I want every extra minute to sleep in the morning, it helps me so much to put on just a bit. But if you know you’ve been BFFs with your box of tissues, apply strategically. Applying a bit of cover-up under your eyes can make you look and feel more awake. You may want to even out the color of your cheeks as well, and adding a bit of color back to your face with bronzer or blush can be refreshing. If you think your eyes can handle it, you can even add a coat or two of waterproof mascara. Picking and choosing strategically can give you the boost you need.
- REST. Make NO your mantra for a few days. Say no to happy hour. Say no to working out. Sit your butt down on the couch whenever you’re not doing anything that’s absolutely essential, and let your body work its magic. Get as much sleep as possible – and think about what helps you sleep. Maybe you need to take a nice bath, maybe you need to turn the A/C on so your room is a bit cooler, maybe you need to kick the dog out of bed for the night…be selfish and let your body recuperate.
- Get some strategic fresh air. This is where the dog will forgive you for my last comment: Don’t ignore your dog when they want to go outside. Take a stroll around the neighborhood, or even just park a bit further away from work so you can get a few more steps. This doesn’t mean going for a 2 mile run, but be sure to get up and get some sunshine or fresh air every once in a while. I firmly believe that motion keeps everything working much better, and is just as important in the healing process as rest.
- Don’t over-treat your symptoms. Figure out the base cause, if you can, and take minimal medication that targets that cause. For example, I could tell that allergies were my main issue last week. So I found myself a medicine I’ve used before and I knew would help, and I stuck with it for a few days. I know that some meds can be a quick fix sometimes, but may ultimately make me feel worse (I’m looking at you, Afrin). I also know that I feel foggy when I take lots of cold meds, so the more clear-minded I can be, the better.
- Honey is your best friend. In tea or on its own! Herbal tea helps you stay hydrated (I suggest staying away from caffeine), and honey helps to coat your throat. I highly suggest taking a spoonful of honey straight from a spoon once or twice a day – it really helps hydrate and heal everything, especially before bed. I also heard a long time ago that consuming local honey, produced by bees who are pollinating the same types of plants in your region, can help with allergies by helping you build up an immunity. Who knows if that’s true, but if it’s an excuse to buy local, I’ll take it!
- Dress for confidence. What’s going to make you feel comfy but awesome? This is not the time to reinvent the wheel (unless that’s exciting for you). If you have a “uniform,” this is when you should embrace it. I love wearing a nice pair of pants and a flowy top, so you can bet I wore those as many times as possible over the last week.
Those are my main tricks. Did I miss anything? Hope you can get back on your feet soon!