Trying to stay productive when you’re sick is like climbing up a slimy, muddy hill in the rain.
Your energy is gone, you can’t make any progress, you feel miserable, and you look like crap. Back when I taught high school, I once had a student ask me why I had put eye shadow under my eyes. I couldn’t even answer her because I was coughing too hard.
The best thing to do would be to take to your bed, right? But really, how many of us can just take off several days when we don’t feel well? Just the thought of all the work that will be waiting when you return makes you sicker!
Of course, if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea, you probably can’t go to work and no one would want you there anyway! But I’m talking about cold/flu symptoms such as clogged nose, coughing, sore throat, and accompanying headache. How do you stay productive through these miseries?
First, the best defense is a good offense. If you have a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep and exercise, you are better able to fight off respiratory viruses. So leading a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid some illnesses or lessen the effects if you catch one.
And don’t forget to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer several times throughout the day.
But what do you do when you feel the symptoms coming on?
- Drink lots of water. Keeping yourself hydrated improves your energy level and flushes out the bad stuff!
- Don’t overheat your house. The heated air dries out your nose and sinuses, making you more uncomfortable. Use a saline nasal spray to counteract the dryness.
- If possible, put off more demanding projects until later. You want to direct as much energy as possible to fighting the illness.
- Delegate anything you can possibly delegate.
- Depending on the type of job you have, ask if you can work from home for a few days. When asking, be sure to mention that you don’t want to spread your germs around the office!
- Try to get extra sleep. Go to bed earlier when you’re not feeling well.
- If over-the-counter medications such as DayQuill or Advil relieve your symptoms, by all means take them! Don’t suffer any more than you have to!
- Finally, if you are completely miserable, take a day off. That’s what sick days are for! And sometimes just pampering yourself for one day is all you need to give you the energy to work through the rest of your illness.
One more thing to remember: if you treat your cold symptoms, the cold will last about 7 days. If you don’t treat it, it will last for a week. Take care of yourself in order to stay productive when you’re sick!
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