Your friends, family members and co-workers are starting to get the cold and flu, and you’re wondering when you’ll be next. If the unfortunate situation happens and you do get sick during this winter season, it’s important to treat your physical sickness to get better, and to remember not to neglect your mental health during this time.
Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist, physical therapist and author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, gave suggestions in an email for what you can do to boost your mood while sick, and help prevent sickness from getting to you in the first place.
1) Get a proper amount of sleep, since sleep helps the body recover.
2) Do something fun, like getting a manicure or pedicure or seeing a new movie. Having fun can alleviate some stress and boost mood.
3) Do some type of exercise or activity involving moving around, like jumping on the bed, walking or taking a group fitness class (like a spin or kickboxing class). This depends on the level of sickness, but if you’re not already sick, exercise can help improve your mood and immune system.
4) Listen to music that lifts your mood. Consider compiling a specific playlist that makes you feel the happiest. If you add dancing to the mix, then you get two mood boosters.
5) Remember to relax. You can relax by breathing deeply, receiving a massage or even taking a soothing bath. Relaxation can enhance your overall health.
David Johnson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, added in an email that if a person is having mental health issues, this could make them more prone to developing physical illnesses, and vice versa. One of the keys to avoiding sickness is to keep your stress levels low.
“If a person doesn't handle stress in a productive way, i.e. if they let it weight them down, it will increase the levels of cortisol in the body and lower T-cells, the key to our immune system,” Johnson said. “I have seen many times when people come through a very stressful event and end up with a serious cold or the flu within a week.”