How to Embrace a Sick Day

How to Embrace a Sick Day February 9, 2019


First. don’t fight it.

I know that can be hard to do. My first instinct when I feel that peculiar itch at the back of my throat, is to scream at the heavens, “Dear God! Please no!” It seems there is never a convenient time for illness.

February, at least in this wintery northern hemisphere, is prime time for colds and flus and bodily breakdown of every kind.

I have a cold. Last February I had the flu (I made sure to get my shot this year!). The February before that I am almost positive I had bronchitis, though it might have been the February before that.

Sickness is as much a part of February as ice and snow and that particularly lovely late-date light that tells us spring is so much nearer than we realize.


Second, do what you have to do. But only what you have to do.

For me, today, that means writing. My laptop is buried under a flurry of snowy kleenex. But for me, today, that does not mean exercise. I love my daily walk, but it’s the first thing I let go of when I’m sick.

Some days are for pushing through. Doing more. Accomplishing a few things that weren’t even on your list. Sick days are not those days. Sick days are for less. For letting go. For realizing just how little is absolutely required of you.

It can be such sweet relief to realize the world does not actually rest entirely on your own shoulders.


Three, treat yourself.

Sick days were the original self-care days. Sickness is sometimes our body’s way of slowing us down. We need regular rest. Regular quiet. Regular lulls in productivity and creativity.

Today, I am sipping hot water and lemon. I might hunt down the bubble bath that belongs to my youngest child. My husband brought me lunch and honey lozenges, and I am grateful for those acts of service I might never see if I weren’t laid low.

This blog has such a grandiose name: “Cultivating Glory.”  But I hope it’s apparent by now that we cultivate glory in the most ordinary ways. And in February, nothing is more ordinary than a virus.

Can something so humble, and so awfully inconvenient as a virus also be a seed we can choose to plant?

If so, here are a few of the things helping me do the work of rest this day:

My very favorite spicy, sweet non-caffeinated tea.

A little boost for the immune system.

A favorite old television show (because my eyes hurt too much for reading!).


I’d love to know. How do you care for yourself on a sick day?

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  • amazedbygrace

    this is so true… neither of my babies were cuddlers, so although I never wanted them to suffer, I cherished their sick days when they would let me hold them and snuggle them! [ps… love this picture of the Old Country Roses china! it is my mom’s pattern and brings back sweet memories of her caring for me when I was sick] hope you feel better soon!

  • This china pattern holds fond memories for me, too. It belonged to a dear aunt, and I think of her every time I use it. Thanks for the well wishes. I am feeling much better!