How to survive to Monday
February 14, 2018 6:04 AM   Subscribe

I have a work deadline Monday. I am sick (a not overly debilitating cold) for the second time since January 21st when I moved to a new continent. My jet lag never went away, so my sleep pattern is shot. I woke up with a cold sore, a couple of hours ago I just experienced vertigo (only popped up a few times 3 years ago), and feel very homesick and sad. Plus I have ADHD. I’ve got food. How can I take care of myself and get work done?
posted by Bella Donna to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Think about forms of self-care that at once comfort you and help relieve your cold, and schedule those in.
These might be: a hot steamy shower with some nice-smelling soap or essential oil or something which will both help with your cold _and_ maybe make you feel better emotionally. A hot bowl of chicken soup or something that will, again, help with your cold and make you feel better. A cup of tea or tisane that might serve the same function. You can combine things: sometimes for a bad cold I will hold my head over a pot of simmering water with some menthol or eucalyptus dissolved into it and breathe deeply through my nose. You could do this and listen to some music you really like or a podcast that makes you happey at the same time.

Schedule these in pretty regularly (like, hourly or whatever works for you) throughout the days and be relentless about giving yourself your self-care when your time comes, as long as you did _some_ work in between.

And then, after each episode of self care, commit to doing ten minutes of work. Sitting down and writing the thing or processing the data or whatever it is for a minimum of ten minutes before you look at facebook or check the headlines for whatever horribleness the news is today. Ten minutes, and let yourself go longer because in those ten minutes you will get on a roll and you will want to keep going.
posted by gauche at 6:24 AM on February 14, 2018 [5 favorites]

IANYD, but if you have ready access to a drugstore, you might stop by and pick up some L-lysine to take as a supplement. It can help both with cold sores and with the lowered-immune-system situation you're describing, anecdotally and with mixed evidence in studies. And maybe treat yourself to some nice soft tissues (if you have a runny nose) or some fancy/tasty hard candy/cough drops (if you have a sore throat or cough).

If you have a favourite blanket or shawl, definitely wrap yourself up in it (I have a particular 'i'm sick' shawl that is soft and comforting, and I dabble eucalyptus oil on it and it makes me feel better when I've got a cold). This can help you feel cozy in between work breaks.

I know you said you have food, but if you can splurge and if it's readily arranged, why not plan to order your favourite comfort meal tonight as a reward for working through a tough day? A soothing soup, or something spicy, whatever makes you feel best when you're sick. (You could order extra to store in the fridge for a fun lunch tomorrow, too.)
posted by halation at 6:46 AM on February 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

I don't know that this schedule would work for you, but since your sleep pattern is already screwed up -- when I was in thesis-writing crunch mode, I split each 24h period into two full days: I'd get up at 5, shower, eat, write for a while, eat, sleep a few hours, get up, shower again, eat, write for awhile, eat, go to bed. The showering and eating after each wakeup, was helpful in cueing me that it was time to get going again. I suggest adding strategically placed cups of tea/hot chocolate into your schedule.

The other useful thing about this schedule is that I have found that I have maybe 4 hours of concentrated intellectual activity in me at a stretch, tops. Longer than that, and the dicking-around/staring at the wall quotient goes waaaaay up. So I was able to get two 4-hour stretches of good hard work in per day, instead of 4 good and 4 half-ass.

Good luck! Feel better soon!
posted by telepanda at 6:54 AM on February 14, 2018 [7 favorites]

I'm so sorry. Moving to a new place, let alone a new continent, is incredibly hard on its own, let alone when you are sick and under deadline. It is okay and 100% normal to feel really sad right now. I would probably take some medicine, take a long, hot bath with my favorite music and nice lighting and have a good cry, then let myself sleep for a few hours. And then I'd wake up, take some more medicine, make some good tea, and try to get one thing done for the project. Then I'd try to figure out one more thing I could do after that and build from there. I hope you feel better soon.

Don't forget the homesickness is totally normal, too. One of my favorite relatives told me that I should give a new city at least a year before making any decisions about leaving and I have always thought that was a good piece of advice.
posted by juliplease at 8:30 AM on February 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Go into survival mode.

Make two lists.

One is your self-care list where you write everything you can realistically do to care for yourself right now that will actually help you feel better i.e. drink water, take medication, have some herbal tea, have soup, order a comfort meal, take a long hot shower, steam your face over a pot of hot water, call a friend/family member, Skype a friend/family member, get some sleep, paint your nails, slather that cold sore with something, get into clean and comfy clothes, watch a favourite movie, etc.

The other is a list of tasks required to complete your work project. i.e. break your big project down into smaller pieces, which will be easier to tackle.

Then just alternate. Do only and exclusively 1 task from the self-care list followed by 1 task from the work list till Monday.
posted by spicytunaroll at 9:18 AM on February 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

Supplement L-lysine and COPIOUS amounts of vitamin C for the coldsore. Also, Abrevia or whatever they sell there as topical treatment because keeping it moist (sorry for that word usage) is proven to help skin heal better.

The vitamin C and L-lysine will stop the cold sore virus from replicating, the topical does same and helps the skin heal.

For your body... Melatonin for the jetlag, Magnesium + a good multivitamin for overall body wellness. You're depleted, the melatonin and magnesium will help you sleep.

Get a massage or go to a good yoga class. You need to stretch and work on your lymph system, etc. It will help you adjust. YOU WILL FEEL MUCH BETTER AFTER A SESSION, regardless, SO DO THIS.

If you need bigger help sleeping and being perky... A few days of 5-HTP at night + L-tyrosine and some Ginko Biloba in the morning is your jam.

Enjoy your new adventure!!
posted by jbenben at 10:01 AM on February 14, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you take ADHD medication, check if vitamin C is contraindicated. The vitamin C may make it much less effective.
posted by delezzo at 12:01 PM on February 14, 2018

I haven't tried this "Jesus Tea" cold-curing tea/drink yet, but have it bookmarked to try the next time I'm sick. It's a mixture of water, cider, lemon juice, chamomile and rooibos tea, and spices. That link has amounts for a big pot, or a single serving, and touts its miraculous health-making properties.
posted by fever-trees at 5:00 PM on February 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the good advice, folks, much appreciated! Am less miserable, am following advice, am fed, showered, wrapped in plush, and have a cup of tea. Just finished one of my articles. The hive mind rocks. Yay!
posted by Bella Donna at 10:56 PM on February 14, 2018 [5 favorites]

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