How to: Adult While Sick

We all know that getting sick is terrible, and most of us will do anything to avoid getting sick and while there are some fairly effective prevention methods, sometimes you just wake up with a cold and there’s nothing you can do about it, like today. As I’m writing this, it’s Sunday, September 4th. I hope that by the time this is posted (Monday, the 5th), I will be exceptionally better due to my tenacity and aggressive not-today-Satan healing methods. Not everyone can just take the day off and rest, so this post is dedicated to my tips and tricks for adulting while sick.


Staying hydrated is so important that I shouldn’t even have to tell you to drink it, but water is hella important so get on it. On a good day, when you haven’t had enough water, you start to feel like garbage, so it’s extra important to stay hydrated when you aren’t feeling your best, and especially if you’re feverish, do your body a huge favor and drink water.

Natural and Unnatural Methods

Being a vegan who loves science, I choose to treat my body’s ailments in two ways–naturally, aka doing the shit you’re supposed to do but extra, and unnaturally, aka taking advantage of the cool stuff that humans made to make you feel better.

For the natural remedies, I try to eat healthily and nourish my body the best way I can to start, and I do this before I get sick, too. Make sure you’re taking any supplements that you know you need, B12, C, A, etc. as well as a multivitamin if you aren’t getting all your vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat. When I’m sick, I try to eat a healthy and high carb (energy for your cells!) diet to keep myself going throughout the day. I also like to supplement with herbal teas that I sweeten with agave nectar (sugar is not really great for your throat, but if you aren’t vegan, honey is a healthy option) to soothe my throat. Additionally, I like to have soups with some type of miso or vegetable broth base, not only to help with my throat but also because they’re warm and comforting. (Note: I personally didn’t love the Amy’s soup pictured, so go with whatever you know you like.)

The natural methods might help you completely, which is great, and that tends to be the first attempt for me because I try not to take medicine if I don’t need it. However, cold and flu medicine is highly effective at treating symptoms and making you comfortable when you’re sick, so I take that shit. I find that the generic version of Dayquil is what works for me. I prefer not to take medicines like Nyquil or Benadryl because of the sleepy hangover that I have the next morning, instead opting for the Dayquil before I fall asleep to keep symptoms at bay. If you need something to help you sleep, however, look for the active ingredient Diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine that makes people drowsy (e.g. Benadryl).

Things to Pack

If you’re sick and don’t have the luxury of having the day off from class or work, here is a short list of things to have on you to make your experience more comfortable:

  • Your preferred “unnatural” medicine (tablet or pill form is more convenient than the liquid, typically)
  • Your preferred “natural” medicine (I like to take tea in a thermos or bring a tea bag to work to prepare there)
  • Water (Stay hydrated!)
  • Tissues
  • Hand lotion (more on this later)
  • A light sweater (if your illness is making you feel uncomfortable temperature-wise, dressing in layers and bringing a light sweater can make you feel more comfortable throughout the day)
  • Hand sanitizer (Especially if your daily life includes a lot of touching people’s hands or shared desks)

Don’t Forget Your Skin


My last tip for being sick is to take care of your skin, especially if you’re reading this in the winter or already have dry skin because being sick can kind of wreak havoc on your skin. I like to take warm showers, use moisturizing cleansers, and apply lotion after I get out while my skin is still warm, which allows the moisture to sink in more easily. Additionally, having hand lotion can help with dryness associated with excess hand washing or hand sanitizer use. Also, if your illness has comprised of a lot of sneezing and nose-blowing, a little lotion around your nostrils can help if you have cracked or irritated skin in that area.



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