If you’re feeling tired just trying to manage your classes, social life and other responsibilities, getting sick adds another obstacle and responsibility.
It often seems impossible to get through your whole day, but adding a fever or sore throat makes it even more challenging. The small amount of energy you once had is now completely depleted. So it makes sense when you are sick to excuse yourself from any sort of responsibility. Even with a little cold, people chalk their week off as lost time to the enemy called a bad immune system.
Is this you in moments of weakness and sickness? Do you wave the white flag the moment you feel under the weather?
Perception Is Key, Mr. Sniffles
This passive, shut-down approach misses the bigger picture when it comes to being sick. For some time you might hate your life and be named Mr. Sniffles in all your classes. However, this is only temporary. Being sick is a part of life and you will undoubtedly be sick again. Everyone gets sick—especially in college—and feels miserable. That is why it doesn’t make sense to waste your energy complaining and being depressed when you can’t control whether you are sick or not. People curse illnesses, but being sick gives you significantly more than what it takes away.
Be Thankful You’re Sick?
For one, consider all the downtime that comes along with being sick. College students are notorious for their on-the-go lifestyle and frying their brains as they stay up at all hours of the night. When you are sick, your body forces you to slow down and rest. This slowed-down pace leads to important, underrated advantages. The brain stops adding information and uses its time to organize and process previous information.
In a Scientific American article, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California says, “Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself.”
So if you are sick and resting, you can dispel the worry that you’re losing out on useful time and falling behind because your brain is still working. Rest just changes your brain’s gears to reinforce what you recently learned and to internally process yourself. You could face the problem of losing out on productivity by overtaxing your mind if your body didn’t make you pause.
Another advantage in times of sickness is the insight to focus on your top priorities: the priorities that often get pushed under the rug when you’re constantly moving. When you are healthy, your body and mind tend to race around as you believe that you will get it all done until you are forced to stop. Sometimes that stopping force is getting sick. A sick person recognizes the urgency of a situation better and is more likely to finish a task in efficient time because they know they cannot afford to waste time. Sick people make better use of their time and energy because the same abundance is not available compared to a healthy person.
Response To Sickness
Use your sickness to empower you and combat the disease of perfectionism. The next time you’re feeling sickly, take it as reminder that you’re not invincible. Take a deep breath and listen to your body as it tells you to slow down.
The sickness spell can come early or late, but it always comes; so face the challenge and use your illness to your advantage.