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How to Keep Going When You’re Feeling Under the Weather

This has been an especially busy summer for me. I’ve been traveling a lot, sleeping a little, and working more than usual – and, as evident by the fog in my head and the DayQuil by my side, the effects of this fast pace are finally catching up with me.

But regardless of my body’s primal, incessant desire to just go back to bed, I have things to do. I have obligations. I have weddings and baby showers and work assignments and deadlines and people and tasks and a dog that require my attention. And I’ve felt like this before, and I’ve gotten through this before, and I actually think I’m pretty good at it.

So, here are my tips and tricks for pushing through when you just feel physically run down and exhausted and sickly and icky:

Don’t wallow.

Of course, when you’re feeling under the weather, it’s really difficult to completely ignore the aches and pains and urges that come. But as difficult as it is, try. Try to ignore the fact that your head feels foggy and your throat is scratchy and your nose is running. Take whatever medicines you can or want to, take a deep breath, and do your best to focus on the task at hand. And don’t complain to others about how you’re feeling; the more you talk about it, the more you’ll think about it.

Be realistic.

So you’re feeling less than stellar, and that may affect how well or how much you’re able to work – and that’s okay. Now’s the time to be a little gentler on yourself, not beat yourself up over what you cannot do. (Remember, stress is bad for the immune system.) Be realistic when making commitments, and allow yourself to cancel or reschedule things that do not absolutely need to get done right this minute. You can handle those things once you’re feeling better.

Take breaks.

When your immune system is weak, you have less energy and need more sleep. However, when you’re sick – and especially when you’re the type of sick that involves a cough – it can be difficult to fall (or stay) asleep at night. The end result: utter and total exhaustion. To avoid reaching that point, try to take breaks throughout the day when you can. Use those breaks to meditate, take a power nap, or just quietly sit with yourself. Working in intervals and allowing time for rest will help you to avoid burnout.

Don’t make it worse.

You know the drill – Drink lots of (non-alcoholic) liquids, eat nutrient-dense foods, don’t push yourself physically, take vitamins. These are words of wisdom we’ve known our entire lives – and yet, when a bad cold hits, it’s easy to become sidetracked and stop taking proper care of ourselves. But now’s the time that you really need to take care of yourself. Remember, you need to help yourself before you can help anyone else.

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