Illness always comes at the worst possible time. You’re already so busy that taking the time necessary to properly heal after being out sick seems overwhelming. Now that you’re finally starting to feel better you want to get back to your life!
Starting up your regular routine again too hastily can often end up prolonging an illness or even put you right back in the sick bed again. Following these steps will help you return to work and life fully healed and healthy.
The Best Ways to Bounce Back After Being Sick
Take your time.
Be careful not to push yourself too hard too fast. Even though you’re beginning to feel better, treat yourself as though you are not. If you usually run every morning, start with a short walk. If you are concerned about work, allow yourself an hour to respond to urgent emails then close the computer and rest. Be mindful of how your body feels and pace yourself.
Write everything down.
It’s hard to not think of all of the work piling up while you’re sleeping the days away. But you’re only hurting yourself more by stressing about it when you should be focusing on healing. Take out a notepad and write a list of all the things you need to do when you’re better. If you’re feeling well enough, tackle a couple of them and cross them off the list. It will help relieve some of the pressure and worry.
Respond to people if you must, but keep it brief.
Whether replying to texts, emails, or calls, remember that everything you’re worried about isn’t as urgent as you think it is. Reply with something simple such as, “My apologies for the delayed reply, I have been ill. I will read your email thoroughly and respond accordingly as soon as possible.” It lets people know that you’re sick while buying yourself a little more time to formulate a more well-informed (and unclouded) response. Everyone has been sick at some point in their lives. They will understand.
Turn off those screens.
Phones, TVs, and tablets all emit blue light that causes strain on your eyes. Blue light is also linked to physical and mental fatigue, energy you should be reserving for healing. You may want to watch back-to-back episodes of Friends or scroll through social media, but it only distracts you from the self-care and rest you really need. Turn off the devices, make sure your room is dark and comfortable, and rest.
Chances are that you’ve spent a lot of time in bed the last few days. Your muscles and joints have probably become stiff and achy, and returning to your regular routine could be uncomfortable or even cause an injury. Start with some long, slow stretches to warm up your muscles again, such as:
- Shoulder, wrist, and ankle rolls (forwards and backwards)
- Neck rolls and slow twists to each side
- Back stretches and twists
- Gentle yoga poses (such as Cat/Cow, Happy Baby, Half Pigeon)
Make sure to hold each stretch for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and breathe deeply in between each movement.
Make a green smoothie.
If you’re just starting to get your appetite back, or your throat has finally stopped hurting so badly, you will probably be excited to start eating real food again. Right now, it’s vital for your body to get a wide variety of nutrients to rev up your systems. Start with these smoothie basics, but opt for water, coconut water, or herbal tea as your base instead of milk. Dairy will coat your throat and promote mucus production which you will want to avoid. Anti-inflammatory ingredients will speed up the healing process as well.
Drink hot water with True Lemon.
A cup of plain hot water (rather than tea) goes a long way in re-balancing your body. Many cultures believe that warm water is better to drink than cold as it’s more easily absorbed by our naturally warm bodies. Since after an illness there’s a good chance that you’re dehydrated, every little bit helps with replenishing the water in your body. Add True Lemon and increase the alkalizing effects.
Practice meditation and deep breathing.
This is a great time to start a meditation practice and strengthen your mind. Energize your body by taking big deep rejuvenating breaths and visualize a warm restorative light within you. The mind is very powerful when it comes to healing! This app provides wonderful guidance for beginning meditation.
Eat restorative foods.
Just as with that nutrient-dense smoothie, your body needs extra vitamins and minerals during this time. Eat a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables, avoid dairy for a little while, and increase your intake of water, anti-inflammatory foods, and whole foods that are easy to digest. Chew every bite thoroughly to increase absorption of all those good nutrients! Also, avoid drinking alcohol for at least 2-weeks during the healing process. Alcohol will slow your recovery time, and can conflict with certain prescriptions and antibiotics.
As always, consult your doctor, dietitian, or nutritionist for expert advice. When recovering from an illness it’s best to ease your way back in by taking baby steps when returning to work, life, and fitness routines. You’ll bounce back in no time!