When was the last time you were sick? (Hopefully NOT recently, there's been something going around LA, it could be spring allergies, it could be the flu). Sometimes, when we get sick, it's super easy for us to be SUPER HARD on ourselves.

If you've been sick recently, (like I just experienced), I want to give you permission to rest! It’s okay to rest, period, but especially when you are sick. As women, we tend to put everyone else’s needs in front of our own. We don’t want to let anyone down, or God forbid, not follow through on a commitment. Gasp!

And we FOR SURE don’t want to deal with the guilt that comes with missing one or multiple workouts, or not getting in our daily salad because the thought of greens sounds so unappealing.

Here's how I applied my own advice.

Last week I was super sick with a cold. In bed, with a box of tissues next to my along with a pile of used ones because my nose continuously dripped like a faucet (ew), sore throat, pounding headache — the works.

I shared on Facebook how I gave myself permission to rest.

Image title

It occurred to me after reading through some of the responses that I received, that this is a message that women need to hear.

Image title

Image title

Image title

Image title

Image title

So, as usual I want to share some things that will maybe help you to let yourself off the hook the next time you are sick.

Last week I:

  • Took pretty much the whole week off from working out.

  • Slept a lot.

  • Did what I could for work, but let a lot of things go that I just didn’t have the energy or the brainpower to get to.

  • Cancelled appointments.

  • Let some people down.

  • Ate according to my hunger and preferences, i.e. there were a few days where the thought of a big green salad for dinner almost made me hurl… so I opted for scrambled eggs + Ezekiel toast with smashed avocado instead.

In my dieting hey-day the majority of these decisions would have sent me into a tailspin…

A week off of working out?!

Canceling appointments?!

Letting people down?!

Bread for dinner and NO SALAD?!

There’s one thing I can point to that I know is behind my ability to now do these things that previously seemed impossible to do without being riddled with guilt, shame, and fear.

That one thing is TRUST.

Trust in my body. Trust in what I know first-hand for sure, works.

And that thing that I know for sure, without a doubt works, is me supporting my body with what it needs and asks for.

I spent so many years abusing it, ignoring it, thinking that the advice that I got from everyone outside of myself was better than the wisdom that came from within.

And now I see how much it will support me in maintaining a lean, healthy physique if I just give it the nourishment and love that it needs to feel safe.

I remember what a difference it made for me to go from 1200 calories up to probably around 1800-2200 calories (it was a slow progression of adding in more food and less crazy cardio… and PS I don’t know the exact number of calories because at that point I wasn’t counting, I was going by hunger).

My body was like, yess… and although it took a little time — and TRUST — for me to lose the little bit of bloat that came at first with eating more food and carbs, my body did eventually relax into the lean, fit body that I now maintain.

Anyway, that is a topic for another day (if you want to hear more about that journey let me know).

Today, I want to talk to you about how to best take care of your body when you are sick. 

We read these articles about the “best workouts to do when you are sick” and we feel guilty about not eating what we think we’re supposed to be eating to be lean, especially if we aren’t exercising.

Well, it’s time to put the kibosh on all of that crappy, “not serving you at all” thinking!

Here are my 3 tips for how to best support your body when you are sick.

1. Your Body Will Tell You How Much & What To Eat

I promise, it will. Right now, you may be so out of tune with your body that this seems impossible, but once you get the hang of listening to your body for the signals and asking it what foods would be most nourishing and satisfying right now, you’d be surprised at the wisdom you get in return.

For me, relying on and TRUSTING my body to guide me toward the best decisions related to food felt like a big leap. It wasn’t an overnight transition, but the more baby-steps I took toward tuning in rather than following some strict plan some other person gave me, the more I started to see that I really could trust my body to self-regulate and guide me toward the best decisions.

When you are sick, your body needs nutrients to heal. 

Forget all of the food rules like starve a cold and feed a fever, or however it goes. 

Just eat nutrient rich foods that sound and taste good. Tune into your body (eat slowly, don’t multitask) in order to know the appropriate portion sizes and when you are full.

For me, when I am not working out, I naturally am less hungry. And when I am sick, the thought of eating raw vegetables sounds so gross. So, I allow myself to eat what sounds good, in amounts that feel right.

ACTION STEP

The next time you are under the weather, practice asking your body, “What would be most nourishing and satisfying for you right now?” Then follow the guidance and leave guilt and food rules out of it.

(This is actually a great practice for any day, not just when you are sick.)

2. Rest!! Period

If you Google the phrase “Should I work out when I am sick?” or “What workout to do when I am sick” you’ll get a long list of articles with tons of advice.

Forget that advice! Ask your body and it will tell you. Now, you do have to be able to differentiate between that ego-driven “guilt/fear-based voice versus your actual intuition.

When you ask, “Body, should I work out today?” and all you feel is exhaustion and aches and pains, then STAY IN BED. Sorry to yell, but I want to make sure to get this message through, because it’s so important (and so often ignored).

If when you ask, “Body, should I work out today?” and you feel this icky dreadful feeling of guilt that says, “Get out of bed and go work out because if you don’t then there will be negative consequences…” then that is the ego guilt/fear-based voice talking.

ACTION STEP

If you follow the above steps, and you receive the ego guilt/fear-based response, I want you to close your eyes and take a deep breath. Then imagine that voice coming from a scared little girl (even though you typically don’t picture that ego-driven voice coming from an innocent little human being, but just humor me).

Imagine putting your arms around that little girl and hugging her, enveloping her with love. Then, thank her for trying to take care of you and protect you in her own way. Say to her, “I forgive you, I’m sorry, and I love you.” And then lovingly allow that fear to dissolve and for true nourishment, self-care, and support to replace it.

That ego-driven voice is the part of you that is operating out of fear. It thinks it’s keeping you from harm (i.e. gaining weight, etc) but in reality it’s often holding you apart from true freedom and health.

The more you release the fear-based action with true self-love and nourishment, the more quickly you show your body how much it can trust you, and thus you show yourself how much you can trust your body.

When you’re sick, your body needs rest. It needs to direct its energy toward healing. 

Sleep is best and rest (in all ways) is a top priority. Remember this and allow yourself to embrace the fact that 1, 2, 4, 7 days off of working out is not a big deal in the long run.

Supporting your body to be able to heal is most important. Besides, oftentimes if we don’t settle down and rest, and we try to continue with our sweaty workouts and our go-go-go schedule, our ailments just get worse rather than better.

Let go of perfection and relax into self-care and self-love.

3. Remember The End Game

What is it that you really want? Really, what will you accomplish by go-go-going and ignoring your body when it’s giving you VERY CLEAR signals that it needs rest and nourishment?

Think about it.

That is no way to live.

There is no finish line, this is a lifestyle. A balanced, healthy, happy, peaceful, confident, radiant life is “the end game.” Right?

Use sickness as an opportunity to truly practice living how you want to live.

Serve as an example of someone that truly loves and respects herself. 

Show your kids, loved ones, co-workers, employees, friends, etc an example of what it looks like to take responsibility for your own well-being and ultimately, your happiness.

I remember in grade school there was this award for the student that never missed a day of school. One of my friends actually won it for never missing even ONE DAY of school in all eight years!!

I don’t know about you, but I feel like this is a silly message to send kids. It’s okay to take a day off! The world is not going to end. And frankly, who is happy about the person that shows up to work/school sick anyway?

Get away from me!!

Let’s all just get clear on the fact that none of us are supposed to be superhuman.

And sometimes, we have to let things slide in order to pause and take care of ourselves so that ultimately we can be a lot more valuable, productive, and successful in achieving our goals than we are when we ignore ourselves for the sake of other stuff.

If you are using a screen reader, this is a spam check, please skip to the next field