Motivation,  Self Talk

10 Ways To Care For Yourself When You Don’t Feel Like It

You know when you’re playing Wii Golf and you hit the ball way to hard? That was the noise I heard in my ear whenever I blew my nose. Instead of caring for myself with the Mucinex and Benadryl, I prescribed an aggressive dose of self-condemnation and unkindness.

Of course, by thinking like that, it took much longer to get better. 

Now I have a lot of reasons (including that I’m tired and strung up on Benadryl) that I would make poor choices when I am sick. How much better it would have been for me and my family had I cared for myself a little better!

How can you love yourself when you are sick? 

  • Be realistic about what you can and can’t do. Pushing myself mentally or physically when I am sick is rarely a good idea. I need to stop comparing the productivity an on fire good day to a wiped out sick day and just enjoy the extra sleep.
  • Take cues from your body and your family. If any of us is physically down, then a change must be made. As the mom, I need to figure it out. I’d be the first one in my family to send them to bed if they’re sick, I need to be just as bossy with myself. 
  • Stick to a schedule, a survival life schedule. This means eating regularly, sleeping regularly, spending minimal amounts of time doing the basics. Even one load of laundry a day, when you are sick, will keep the mountain from growing in the laundry room.
  • Get back to the basics. Enough sleep, water, right food, etc. I have a mental list of what Survival Life looks like. This means the most basic of hygiene, the simplest of meals, the past of least resistance in everything I do. When I’m sick, I need to just default to this setting and live with it.
  • Lower your expectations. When I am sick, I need to just set the bar on the floor and try to step over it. I also need to not beat myself up for this, listen to negative thinking or feel the least bit guilty. 
  • Celebrate what you can do.  Get the whole family cheering when you can take a shower without passing out or eat a simple meal without losing it. 
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. This is great advice for all of life, but when you’re already weak, it’s even more of a bad idea to look beside you. Just don’t do it. 
  • Ask for help. Delegate responsibilities. Ask to move the deadline. There is grace in this season. Don’t be afraid to ask kids, in-laws, neighbors, or anyone within reach to ease your life just a bit while you’re down. 
  • Say no. This should be a no-brainer, but somehow we believe that we have to say yes, even when we don’t have the strength. While you’re sick, make sure that you have steadfast boundaries with those around you. 
  • Think positive thoughts. Generally speaking, most minor illnesses go away in time. Keep it in perspective. You can catch up on reading, you can buy a new coloring book, you can finally get the rest you need. 
  • There is no shame in being sick. There is, however, a lot of shame in not believing that you’re worth the effort of self-care. Maybe I’ll learn my lesson and be a better patient next time.

Now, to print this and paste it next to the Mucinex and Benadryl.

How about you? What do you do to care for yourself when you’re sick and weak? What else can be added to the list?

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.