Being sick is never fun. There are two schools of being ill: “Stop the world I want to get off,” (that’s me) or the stoic, “It’s nothing,” and carry on. I don’t know how the “it’s nothing” people do it. My body and soul say, Arthur Miller style, “Attention must be paid.”

My take? You can be sick crummy or you can be sick beautifully.

Given my devotion to expansive, millionaire thinking, I opt for the second. Being ill is awful, so why not use it as an opportunity to pamper yourself as you deserve. As a currently single woman, being sick when alone is an art and requires a strategy. I’m not talking catastrophic illness here, just the common cold or flu.

If you don’t treat yourself nicely when you’re sick, no one else will. Why not make it as pleasant as you can? You are a captive audience of one, so do it in style. Here’s your chance to become Queen for a Day…or a few days.

Lay in the Best Supplies and Hunker Down!

Get thee post haste to the store as if you’re preparing for a snowstorm. Better, call the pharmacy and grocery for deliveries. Buy the juices and ginger ales, the Campbell’s Chicken Noodle or Tomato soup, the saltines, ice cream, Jell-O, Social Tea biscuits; whatever your heart desires, whatever is your childhood comfort sick food.

Get the aspirin, cough syrup, cough drops, cold meds, tissues – lots of them. Buy some magazines; get some books and tapes from the library. While you’re at it, how about a bouquet of fresh flowers to cheer you. We love our flowers.

Set up your bed with deliciously fresh sheets, take a hot shower, get into your favorite PJ’s and…officially declare yourself sick.

You’re the Queen on a Retreat

Catch up on all your sleep. Watch all the daytime TV you want. Cruise the Internet. Listen to talk radio. Read books and magazines. Make phone calls. There are lots of bed bound activities: pay bills, make lists, write letters, peruse catalogs, shop online.

Don’t think any deep thoughts or make any major decisions while you are sick. You are weak and feeling perhaps lonely and sad. Life seems overly serious and impossible when you are sick. If you find yourself drawn into existential conversations with your mind, put them on hold and say, like Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

This is your chance to Indulge yourself with a capital I. Nap during the day without a smidgeon of guilt. Sleep is when healing happens. Read to your heart’s content. Watch movies galore. Play Candy Crush. It’s all about you and what makes you feel better and stay in bed.

Go Gourmet with Your Liquids

Drink all those liquids with style. Be creative, go international, go glam with your libations. Make pretty and hydrating spritzers with exotic juices and sparkling water. Make yourself an elegant tea tray with tea pot, milk pitcher and your best china tea cup.

Go English with the Hot Toddy! Oh those English… they really know coziness. Into a mug, put a splash of whisky, a spoonful of honey, a good squeeze of fresh lemon. Fill the mug with boiling water and stir. It lifts your spirits and warms your chest. Or, go French with Vin Chaud. Heat a cup of red wine, stir in honey, a squish of lemon, a cinnamon stick. Merci!

Call your friends and family and tell them you are sick. Let them cluck over you. Accept offers of whatever people want to bring you. You’ll feel better knowing there is someone worrying about you, caring about you.

At a certain point in your illness, freshen up. Take a short, hot shower and shampoo your hair if you can. Put on fresh PJ’s. Change your sheets and get back into your delicious bed. Feeling grungy and sticky doesn’t add to the experience. Keep it glam and pampering.

Do Unto Others…

The most important lesson in everything I just wrote: This is what you should do for your family and friends. Without being asked. Bring them whatever they need and whatever they don’t. Jump at the chance to care, shop and cook for them. Phone them daily and cheer them up. The next time you’re ill, they’ll happily do the same for you. And you will feel even more pampered and Queen like.

P.S. The side benefit of your Queenly retreat? Maybe you’ve lost a pound or two! Now that’s a retreat.

Do you have any tips for recovering or how you treat yourself when you’re sick? Any secret comfort recipes? We all want to know so please share below!

Liza DunkelElizabeth Dunkel is a writer and novelist who has lived in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for 25 years. She is the Creative Director of Camp Liza www.campliza.com, a personal blog about stylish and creative living. “A thoughtful life is a luxe life.” Elizabeth is the proud founder of the Merida English Library. She discovered a second career as a CELTA certified teacher of ESL and is Merida’s first, only and best college coach www.superenglishmerida.com.

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