The Flu Season: Staying Strong when you're at your Weakest
It's that time of year again. The time where most of us end up getting sick. Maybe it's a cold, or worse, the flu. Maybe we get struck with the adenovirus, norovirus, rhinovirus, any one of the seemingly endless tiny virus particles that can leave us feeling downright terrible for a week or even longer. Worst case, maybe these tiny terrorists even run through our families, infecting our partners, our kids, maybe even our pets!
The physical impact of these sicknesses is real: we are weak, we are aching, our body might be acting in uncomfortable, uncontrollable ways, we may not be sleeping or we might be sleeping all. the. time.
But a seriously overlooked consequences of these viral bullies are the emotional and psychological ones. It can feel like we'll be sick forever! Watching too much daytime tv can be depressing! We might be missing out on fun things--"Why is everybody else going to fabulous holiday parties while I've been home in my pajamas for days?".
And of course, I'm halfway being funny, but really, getting colds and flus can be downright depressing!
Your Mental Health Prescription for Times of Unwellness:
1. Remember, this too shall pass. When you've got an illness, it might feel like it goes on forever. But it will end. Even for medically fragile folks, for whom a cold or flu can last months--this will get better. Hold on to this message for dear life. Ride the wave.
2. Give yourself permission to rest. Put aside the chores, obligations, responsibilities and guilt, and let yourself take a break. You are human and humans get sick. You need rest. Take it!
3. Get help! Can someone stop in to make or drop off a dinner? Help with the kids? Feed the cat? Now is one of those times that it really takes a village.
4. Avoid social isolation. Even if its checking in with someone over the phone, human connection helps. It can also help take your mind off of your woes. If you're seeing a therapist, consider requesting an online appointment, instead of cancelling completely (if you're up to it).
5. Binge on a good movie, tv show or book. Change your perspective. When do you ever have time to lay around and watch or read something good?
6. Remember that medications can impact your mood. Are you feeling extra down? It just might be the meds. Don't panic yet and give yourself a couple of days.
7. Prepare for all the things you will do to prevent getting sick again. (Of course, these plans may not really be effective, but it sure does help you to feel better!) When you're better, you'll eat healthier, clean more, exercise frequently, get more sleep, etc. etc. Getting sick can really highlight your powerlessness. Feel more powerful by making plans!
8. And finally, dig deep to find your sense of humor! Take a laugh where you can get it. (It may take a few days to re-discover this ability).
Final note: Please excuse your therapist if they have to cancel your session due to their own illness. Therapists are human too!
And also...Creating Space Counseling and Wellness is not taking any appointments this week, because--you guessed it--I've got the flu!