How To Get What You Need When You’re Sick with the Flu (or anything else for that matter!)
Down with the flu? Or a nasty cold? Something else equally as miserable?
Maybe, like me, you are now in recovery phase and you’re wondering how you can prevent next time from being quite as horrible an experience? (Or, maybe how to prevent there EVER BEING A NEXT TIME!)
No, this isn’t one of those posts that outlines the treatments, medications and natural remedies that are most recommended for the flu. (Although I won’t be able to resist including a few!)
No, today I’m sharing some tips I’ve discovered on how to get your emotional needs met when your struggling with sickness.
I’ve discovered this is just as important (if not more) than treating your physical symptoms.
Learning the Hard Way
It’s all top of mind right now, because I’m just now recovering my energy after being slammed with the Flu to End All Flus!
At least in my world.
See, I’ve been ‘lucky’ enough to make it through 50+ years without EVER getting so sick that I was laid out flat in bed for more than two or three days.
I put that ‘lucky’ in quotes because part of that I owe to my own efforts with preventative maintenance, my herbal healing knowledge, and the good old power of positive thinking (otherwise known as manifesting excellent health!)
But…. this past month I went DOWN.
I spent days—multiple days—sitting or lying around, just staring into space. Every drop of vitality had been sucked from my body, and it appeared that my most of my brain cells had taken off for an extended holiday.
I mean, I couldn’t even read a book (my normal go-to when I’m feeling under the weather.) I could barely even watch a movie on my computer…. the brain processing was that slow!
Not to mention I hurt all over, couldn’t stop coughing, and seriously wondered if I was going to end up in the hospital or something.
Now, I know many of you are probably rolling your eyes and wondering why I think this is such a big deal…. but like I say, I’ve NEVER experienced this level of viral assault!
Sickness Isn’t Just Physical
Of course in the beginning I assumed I would kick the thing out in my normal couple of days. At least to the point where I could function in the world again – even if I still felt like crap-a-doodle.
So… that began the emotional angst. After Day 3, it was like, WHAAAT? I’ve got shit to do! With my limited brain power I attempted to wrangle my body into doing what I wanted…
I’m sure you can guess how that worked out.
And then there was my boyfriend/partner. Let’s just call him Mr. Wonderful.
Normally life is pretty smooth with Mr. Wonderful. But… we both tend to that workaholic way of overloading our plates and believing that our value is measured by our productivity.
(I know, I know, I teach this stuff! I should know better…. but I’m a work in progress.)
Mr. Wonderful felt just fine (thankfully he never picked up the bug). This meant that he thought he could just jolly me out of feeling sick.
“You’ll be turning the corner in no time,” he’d say, slapping me on the back in an effort to be supportive but made me feel like I might faint.
Or, “I think this is the day you’ll get back to your old self,” while squeezing me in a Bear Hug that made me think I was going to explode.
He meant well.
I felt abandoned.
I wanted offers of tea brought to my bedside, pots of chicken soup magically beginning to simmer on the stove without me lifting a finger.
But, that’s just not his M.O.
Well, let me tell you, my inner critic, small self had quite the hey day with that!
And guess what? It turns out that internal bitterness and complaining does NOT get the immune system working overtime to bring about wellness and wellbeing.
In fact, quite the opposite.
So, how DO you get what you need when you are so ill you are only firing on a couple of cylinders?
Well, this morning’s Angel Card draw summed it up pretty neatly I thought.
Tenderness, Communication, Play
Let’s break it down.
Be Tender with Yourself.
I’m talking about mega-doses of self-acceptance. Ditch the guilt, ditch the anxiety about getting back to it. The quicker you surrender the better off you’ll be. (Take it from someone who had to learn the hard way!
Start resting RIGHT AWAY, at the first sign of symptoms. Keep resting even when you feel better (hard for us nose-to-the-grindstone types, but absolutely essential!)Treat yourself like you would a beloved little child or pet. Would you tell them to pull it together and get back to work??
Amp up the self love and self care practices. Take a bubblebath. Bonus points for adding epsom salts and essential oils. Meditate! The days that I listened to a guided meditation while I was sick were the days that were the easiest to accept what is. A great app for this is Insight Timer. And when I listened to Abraham’s meditation on health and well being – I felt this whoosh of relief. Healing IS occurring in this body of mine – even if I can’t feel it happening.
Caveat: know which self care to keep and which to ditch when you’re a sick puppy. Yes on the meditation, but let the 2-mile run go. No weight lifting. If you’re able to be mobile, limit the workouts to gentle walks and stretching until you’ve fully recovered.Take it from someone who has blown it and relapsed from overdoing it!
How could Mr. Wonderful know that I wanted to him to make me some chicken soup if I never said so? This falls in that ‘asking for help’ category that so many of us are so challenged by. Call your buddy and ask her to pick up some ginger for your daily quart of tea. Need something downstairs but don’t want to get out of bed? Ask a partner or family member, or ask someone to come over.
Maybe you could even get them to prepare that steam that you need to do 3X a day. We don’t have to whine and moan… but clear communication will go a loooong way towards getting your physical and emotional needs met.
At the same time set and stick to very firm Boundaries! (the Angels didn’t bring this one in… but it’s important!) No, you can’t cook dinner for everyone when you are sick. Yes, you need alone time. Yes, please turn off the music and try to keep quiet while I take my 3rd nap of the day… You get the idea.
Now, in 20/20 hindsight, I can see that I could have asked Mr.Wonderful to hold off on the bone crushing hugs – as well meaning as they were.
And no, I don’t mean a rousing game of basketball.
But – when else are you allowed to read a novel from cover to cover in 24 hours? Or binge-watch Netflix TV shows absolutely guilt-free? Make the most of it! Go for that play and relaxation that your whole being in crying out for.
And… if it lights you up, take this chance to listen to those inspiring podcasts or to finally start reading that Eckart Tolle book you’ve been staring at for months now. I got part way through A New Earth, plus Michael Singer’s The Surrender Experiment.
Let your play be your inspiration, and your inspiration be your play. Make the most of not being able to race around in your normal busy life.
And finally—and perhaps most important—don’t stop just because you’re getting better! Carry these tips into your normal life and maybe that crummy sickness will have had a point.
Through it all your body WAS healing! One day you wake up and hey – you’re back! Full energy, brain cells firing at full power.
Now the challenge is to continue treating yourself with love, with nurturing, with care.
You deserve it!
Got some more tips for getting through the emotional angst of sickness? Let us know in the comments.