There’s never a convenient time to get sick. Between work, exercise, plans with friends or family, and just general life responsibilities, it can be hard to give up a few days to take the time you need to get better from a cold, mild virus, or stomach bug. An illness can last a few days or a few weeks and similarly it can take the same amount of time to get back to feeling fully yourself.
But once you’ve recovered from your illness and feel ready to get back into the regular rhythm of your life, it’s likely a good idea to be careful about picking up right where you left off. Jumping back in too hastily can often mean you end up stringing along a sickness or it may even land you right back in bed again. The most important thing is to listen to your body while you’re still recuperating.
Keep reading for tips that will help you ease back into your daily routine and restore health.
Ease back into exercise. Exercise requires energy, which you may not have a lot of since you started your recovery. Don’t push yourself too hard on your first few days back in your workout routine. Start slow, work yourself back up to where you were before, and remember to always stretch as your muscles may be stiff and achy at first.
Eat restorative foods. When you’re sick, your body needs all the nutrients it can get to get you back on your feet but it’s important to eat intentionally. “Appetite sometimes wavers when you’re feeling lousy, but becoming underweight can put you at greater risk of infection,” says registered sports nutritionist Rob Hobson. “The body needs more energy to fight infection, so focus on small nourishing meals to help coax back your appetite. This might include soups, stews, eggs on toast, or smoothies. “
Hobson also says that vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, B, and iron, all play a part in the recovery process as they are all involved in the normal functioning of the immune system. He recommends focusing on foods like green leafy vegetables, orange-colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat, fish, and eggs.
Stay hydrated. It’s essential to stay hydrated while sick, but just as important during recovery as well. Drinking lots of water can help fend off headaches, nausea, or fatigue—and flush out any toxins leftover from an illness.
“Hydration is vital when you’re trying to fight infection and recover from illness,” says Hobson. “It’s essential to drink plenty of fluids to help organs like your kidneys to function well. Hydration also helps to loosen mucus and relieve congestion if these are symptoms of your infection.”
If you’re not a fan of regular water, try adding lemon or mint to add some flavor. You can also try water packets with electrolyte solution (no sugar) that usually have a selection of tasty flavors.
Make a to-do list. After taking time off to recoup, some might come back to their lives with an overwhelming amount of things to do. We recommend making a to-do list to help ease yourself back into daily life and work tasks, and to help organize yourself and prioritize your time. This way, you can avoid overexertion.
Get fresh air. Escape the stuffy room you were sick in and go outdoors to absorb some sunshine and fresh air.
Good sleep hygiene. Even if you’re feeling better, that doesn’t mean your body is fully healed from being ill. Getting enough quality sleep is a key factor in getting back to being your healthiest self. You can manage your sleep hygiene by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, taking naps if needed, avoiding caffeine before bed, and limiting your screen time.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.