I’ve been sick since last week. Not seriously ill, just a cold with a bad cough, but it makes me feel miserable.
What made it worse was that I took a couple of days of vacation to go along with the 4th of July holiday, so I was off work last Wednesday through Sunday, and felt bad for most of that time.
I woke up Thursday morning with a sore throat and it was down hill from there.
My sinuses were stopped up, then runny, then stopped up, then half and half. I sneezed. I coughed. My throat continued to hurt.
I self-treated the best I could with Tylenol, antihistamines, hot tea, lots of other fluids and as much rest as I could get.
I’m telling you this to illustrate my next point: I also felt down.
Being physically sick usually means my mood goes down.
At least part of the reason lies in what I feel like doing when I’m sick: nothing.
I have been so miserable that I haven’t felt like doing much reading, writing, drawing, exercising, cross-stitch, crocheting—many of the things I depend on to make me feel better.
I don’t feel like doing any of the things I listed as self-care measures in a post last week.
I don’t even feel like watching TV or playing games on my phone.
I did exercise last Thursday, but I haven’t since.
My sleep patterns have been messed up. Friday morning at 4 a.m., I was wide-awake. Saturday afternoon, I was dead to the world. The rest of the nights have been spent battling a cough.
I’ve learned two things. One is that my physical health has a direct impact on my mental health. The better I feel physically, the better able I am to help myself with my mental health.
And how I spend my time and my activity level are very important to my mental health. It’s important for me to read, to write, to think, to write some more. It’s important for me to move around, to use my body as well as my brain.
In his book Depression: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (which I reviewed here), Lee H. Coleman Ph.D., ABPP writes about the importance of daily self-care in depression recovery: “When you’re recovering from depression, it’s especially important for you to have some routine in you life. This doesn’t mean having a boring, predictable lifestyle, but it does mean taking care of yourself by having a regular bedtime; consistent, healthy meals; and, ideally, a program of exercise” (p. 135).
I would agree.
How about you? When you are physically ill, does it adversely affect how you feel mentally?