Reality—we all exist within the confines of complex human bodies. Regardless of shape or size, we are all comprised of bones, flesh, blood, and teeth.
While our spirits may be infinite, we rely on these physical forms to carry us throughout our daily activities. To keep our bodies functioning at their best, it is up to us to feed ourselves what we need to thrive and heal, rather than merely survive, or breakdown. This is my ultimate motivation and drive for supplying my body with plant-based food that is as close to its natural form as possible.
Going vegan at the start of my 20s, coupled with a move toward mindfulness and reevaluating my relationship with food, turned my life around for the better. Still, I am not here to say choosing to eat only plants is a magical shield, nor am I wearing some sort of invincibility cloak. The truth is, everyone gets worn down sometimes.
Even us vegans get sick.
Much unlike my childhood, I now typically suffer from only a couple of sinus colds a year. These colds tend to hit amidst seasonal changes and during times I’m not slowing down to give my body the rest and repair it needs. This is one of those times.
For the past week Andrew and I have been battling common colds in the form of acute sinus sickness. It’s been a reminder to us that some of the struggles we face in this lifetime will be physical. As with any other form of struggle, we must trust it, accept it, learn from it, and move through it, rather than fight against it.
While being sick can be a positive, growing experience, it’s only normal that it can also feel like a total bummer—one that gets you down and leaves you feeling physically and mentally defeated. That said, here are some suggestions to help you deal.
1. Soak Up Some Inspiration
As cheesy as it might sound, sometimes the best way to pick yourself up (figuratively) when you’re feeling like a pile of snot and tears, is to read or watch something inspirational.
Back in college when I was down for days with mononucleosis, I read “Through Painted Desserts,” written by Donald Miller. Have I hiked the Grand Canyon yet? Nope. But it remains on my list and is getting closer and closer to the top. Have I thought about selling most of my belongings and traveling around the country in a camper van, or moving into a tiny house or cabin in the woods? All the time.
Not only is “Through Painted Deserts “probably the most motivational book I’ve read, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It planted the seed then for the kind of nature-driven, unbound lifestyle I’m working toward living out today.
This time, during our shared sick week, Andrew and I watched “Maidentrip.” Currently on Netflix, this documentary features the story of Laura Dekker, the youngest girl to sail around the world by herself. You can watch the trailer here.
Once again, there’s something awfully inspiring about following the story of another body doing something magnificent, while your own body is feeling subpar.
2. Follow Up With People
So you don’t have the energy to cook, do laundry, clean up dishes or tend to all of the things around your house you see piling up. What you can do, is follow up on communications to make you feel better, and even get ahead of the game while sick.
What do I mean by communications? Be it emails, texts, or voice messages, I have a hunch you might have messages somewhere waiting on your response. Assuming you feel well enough to type or talk, take advantage of time sitting around feeling restless to get back to people. If you don’t have anything that demands your response, consider writing letters to your family and friends situated afar.
Following up on communications can also be in the form of saying no. There’s a great relief that’s felt when you say no to something you need to say no to. Nothing like giving yourself an extra break when you’re feeling rough.
3. Treat Yo’ Self With Herbal Remedies
Everyone has different remedies they flock to when feeling bad. Here are a few of mine.
ACF Fast Relief: Some might say it tastes like battery acid, but ACF sure does help shorten the duration of feeling down. My taste buds have learned to love it. No longer do I need a juice chaser.
Herbal Expectorant: As an alernative to Mucinex, this liquid cherry syrup with Guaifenesin helps you cough up all the gross things you’ve been choking down.
Turmeric: This natural dye and spice is my go-to anti-inflammatory all the time. If you’re looking for a turmeric-infused drink to lift you up, blend up a Golden Rabbit Smoothie.
Vega Hydrator: Water is an invigorating refresher that promotes vitality and flushes out our systems, yes. But it doesn’t replenish our electrolytes. I value Vega Hydrator just as much when I’m sick and weak, as I do following a long run.
Oils & Other: I’m a total newbie to the oil realm; however, I’ve recently started using lavender on my temples to help relax. I now carry it in my purse so I can rub it on my head at a moment’s notice. Do you have a favorite oil or another herbal remedy you swear by? If so, I would love to hear about it.
4. Make A List To Ease Your Stress
Lists have always helped me get everything out there and visually see what’s in front of me. Since reading a piece on Be More With Less titled “Make an Extensive Edit List to Shape The Life You So Deserve,” I have been inspired to map out my own extensive edit list. This edit list includes items I consider to be priorities, plus everything I need to cut out along the way.
If you’re interested in creating a list of your own, I encourage you to read the full story here.
5. Rest & Recoup
While being sick and couch-bound is a wonderful time to get inspired, don’t push yourself to take action on any big ideas until you feel you are on the mend. First priority should be giving your body and mind the time they need to rest and fully recoup.
Sit down. Stretch out. Take a bath. Drink some tea. Do whatever you need to do. A couple of nights ago I doubled up and sipped hot tea while in a boiling hot bath and sweated out what I can only assume were a load of toxins.
If feel you can’t recoup on your own or are facing an unfamiliar sickness that needs additional attention, I urge you to consult with a healthcare professional of some form.
Upward and Onward
This week of sickness has been good for the both us. It’s been humbling by reminding us that we know very little of physical struggle, compared to chronic battles others are fighting every single day. It’s reminded us to count this as a blessing. It’s given us the reflective time we’ve been both begging for. It’s sat us down long enough to map out the things in our lives we want to be in clear focus, and identify what we need and want to cut out. It’s reinforced my current theme of staying put and saying no. And last, but not least, it’s reminded us the road to healing is not a destination, but a lifelong journey.