Under the Weather

Weekend Meditation

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A nasty cold has stolen most of my energy and focus this weekend. It's interesting to note what foods I crave in my sickroom: the sweet tang of orange juice, the salty-meaty warmth of chicken soup, hot tea with lemon and honey. Occasionally I want something cool on my throat like ice cream, but at the same time dairy has lost its appeal.

Being sick is miserable, inconvenient and annoying but, strangely, I kind of like it. Here's why...

I learned a long time ago that when I get sick, the fastest way to get better is to give in, stay at home and rest, rest, rest. Powering through it usually just means prolonging the pain, dragging out the misery as I limp from this to that, not really being all that effective as I honk and sniffle and expose everyone around me to my lovely germs.

It takes a little work on the old ego to admit that the world can live without me for a day or two, that someone else can step into my shoes and be the hero. Once I let go of all that, it's kind of nice and cozy to lie about, drifting in and out of sleep. The wobbly stack of books by my bed finally gets some attention and my backlog of Splendid Table podcasts starts to shrink considerably. Dishes and dust bunnies pile up without guilt because, hey, I'm sick.

I know it's not always possible for some folks to indulge like this: things such as having young children at home or a pressing deadline (like, ahem, having your blog post due tomorrow) can interfere with the rest, rest, rest imperative. But to the extent that you can, try to let it all go for a bit. Drink deeply of the nourishment of taking care of yourself, or even better, letting someone else care for you.

I always keep comfort foods stocked in my pantry so I don't have to run out: chicken soup, of course, and apple sauce, miso broth, rice congee, potatoes for mashing. I can usually manage a quick trip to the corner market for fresh OJ and lemons. Then it's back to the fluffy, cozy bed and the freedom of allowing myself to do one thing and one thing only: get better soon.

What are your sickroom/comfort foods? Can you find time and space to rest when your hit hard with a cold or flu?

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I hope you enjoyed this encore Weekend Meditation, originally posted in November, 2008. I will be posting these vintage posts every Sunday (with the occasional new post, if I can manage!) for the next several months while I focus on writing my first book.