It's been a tough month for Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick. My computer broke, and I won't be able to get a new one for several months. It's summer in Pennsylvania and the weather is stupidly sticky and wet. And to top it all off, I've somehow contracted strep throat in the middle of June. The universe is displeased with me, no doubt.
I've wallowed in my bed for long enough. It's time to make the best of my sick days and, hopefully, speed up my recovery. Beyond the required rest, fluids, and doctor's visits, here's how I handle a day stuck at home.
But before I get in to the details, an important note: most of my illnesses are of the strep throat, sinus infection, head cold variety. It is very rare for me to deal with any kind of influenza or stomach bug that leads to vomiting, dizziness, extended fever, etc. If you have any of those very serious illnesses, please seek medical attention immediately.
Green is Good for You
Unless you're munching away on a crisp salad, "green" isn't the color you connect to appetizing food. In fact, most people don't connect it to an appetizing anything: it's the bane of red carpets and photoshoots because it doesn't photograph well, ugly carpets and couches are often described as being "puke green" or "puce," and we all know how they feel about the color on RuPaul's Drag Race ("I told her not to wear green! I hate it!").
Hilariously, I've found that green things are my dietary staples when my throat is swollen and my appetite has been suppressed. Unable to swallow my favorite delicious (but rough and fibrous) raw vegetables, I turn to Bolthouse Farms' Green Goodness juice. This stuff looks gross, but it's actually quite sweet--I pick up a lot of apple and pear flavors--and 8 ounces contains a day's worth of most of my vital nutrients. Beauty bonus: hefty doses of vitamin C keep my skin glowing, even when I'm feeling under the weather. I also skip my usual cup of coffee (can you hear my sighs of longing?) and instead drink copious amounts of green tea with honey. Honey is full of antioxidants and coats the throat to reduce scratchiness, coughing, and pain.
As for food: there's soup. Now, I know that chicken noodle soup is good for the soul, and it's an all-American comfort food. That's well and good. But when I'm sick, I prefer a cup of homemade split pea soup. It's still thin enough to swallow without hurting my sore throat, but substantial enough to fill me up and provide some necessary nutrition when my appetite is lacking.
Yes, I wear stupidly comfy sweaters that are four sizes too big for me. Yes, I look like a moron. No, I do not care. I am snuggly and warm and you cannot take this from me!
Another fantastic product for keeping warm and relaxed? Corn bags! These are just what they sound like: fabric bags full of dry corn kernels. (You can usually find these bags at festivals and fairs, but if that fails, just check on Etsy!) You put the bag on a plate, heat it up in the microwave for 2 minutes, then crawl in to bed and put the bag wherever you need it. Currently, I set it on my creaking joints and sore neck to relieve body aches, but I also used this bag for additional night-time warmth when I had to deal with North Dakotan winters. As an added bonus, they kinda smell like popcorn! (Electric heating pads are probably a more popular option, I admit, and I do have a very nice one that my boyfriend got for me. But I avoid using an electric pad when I'm sick because of the fatigue: nobody wants to fall asleep and leave an appliance running under the covers.)
Illness is also a great excuse to eat stupid amounts of frozen deliciousness. They're easy to swallow, taste super-delicious (so you'll probably eat some even if your appetite is reduced), and the cool feeling is soooo soothing on a rough, irritated throat. If I have strep or a coughing kind of cold, I'll go for ice cream or gelato. If I'm sick with something that's producing a lot of thick mucus, I'll avoid dairy (which can thicken or increase the production of phlegm) and go for a fruit sorbet or popsicle instead.
As a final note, I've recently made the switch to Aveeno Skin Relief body wash, and I couldn't be happier. Not only is it gentle and moisturizing, it's also fragrance-free, which means my sick day headaches are never aggravated by unnecessary perfumes. The plush lather and silky feel of this body wash always make me feel better, almost like I'm "washing away" the germs. It certainly makes me feel like less of a scrub after I've spent a week in my pajamas...
Let Me Entertain You!
There have been plenty of illnesses that left me bedridden for days at a time. My most recent sinus infection, for instance, hit me so hard that I spent an entire day drifting in and out of sleep while a Disney movie marathon ran on my computer.
But that's not always the case. And while I make sure to get plenty of rest when I'm sick, there's only so much time you can spend sleeping. If I'm out of work to do and I'm too contagious for close human contact (and I definitely am right now), I'll just entertain myself. Movies are usually my "I need to get ready for another nap" fodder, so when I want to do something without, um, really doing something, I go for a book or a video game. D&D, anybody?
And last, but most certainly not least, I always thank my furbaby for standing guard over me (and my games!) when I'm ill. ;)