14 Sick-Day Self-Care Rituals to Give You the R&R You Need

You already know how to prevent getting sick as best as you can (hand-washing is your BFF), but sometimes the germs are inescapable. Once you suck it up and take a sick day to recover from a cold or a stomach bug, you’re kind of on your own until you get better. (Because who takes care of Mom, right?)

So what can you do to ease symptoms, care for yourself and simply feel more comfortable while you’re on the mend? Some people make a special recipe, use home remedies or even watch a sentimental show or movie to practice a little self-care while they’re sick. Need more details? Fourteen women let us in on their sick-day rituals to help you come up with your own.

“I’m from Michigan. When we are sick here, we drink Vernor’s Ginger Soda. It’s magic. It’s closer to ginger beer than ginger ale. Very good for stomach aches.” — Erin R.

“I will watch Colin Firth’s Pride and Prejudice until I feel better. I’ve seen it so many times that I can slip into a NyQuil coma, wake up and still know what’s going on. It’s long, and their accents are soothing. And… Colin Firth.” — Erin S.

“I bring out the big stock pot and make bone broth from scratch as soon as anyone has a scratchy throat. I make a huge batch and everyone in the family drinks it. The kids will eat it as noodle soup. It swear it helps us get well quicker.” — Bea S.

“I’m Mexican so I have to make canela tea: cinnamon sticks boiled in water.” — Teresa M.

“This is kind of weird, but I marathon This Old House if I’m super sick. It’s so soothing to me. I think it’s part that I grew up watching it with my dad so it reminds me of home, and also that it’s literally the least stressful show around and you can doze in and out without missing, like, a major plot point.” — Sarah S.

“I use Vick’s VapoRub, Asian facial masks, whatever new rom com is on Netflix or Hallmark, two or three blankets and all the pillows.” — Jamora C.

sick day self care advice
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“I like to wash my bedding so I can wallow in clean sheets like a pig.” — Erica G.

“I have two young kids and a husband who travels for work a fair bit. Self care when I’m sick is usually giving myself permission to go to bed when I’ve finally got the boys down at night and maybe letting some of the housework slide.” — Amanda L.

“I take long, hot baths with Epsom salts.” —Jessica B.

“I make a tea out of fresh ginger, garlic, lemon and honey. It always makes me feel better.” —Jacqui J.

“There’s really no such thing as self-care when I’m sick because I have two little kids that don’t care that I’m sick! But I do use eucalyptus oil to clear nasal passages. I just put a drop on my palm, rub my hands together and breathe it in. And I make a crockpot soup with fresh garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, tofu and broccoli/carrots/kale or other green things.” — Lauren C.

“I drink ginseng tea and eat congee.” — I-Wei F.

“I eat Kraft mac and cheese and watch Mary Poppins — I’ve been doing that same song and dance since I was a little kid, and it works like a charm.” — Lindsay M.

“I have a special box of cold supplies that I keep well-stocked so I don’t have to shop when I’m sick — meds, cough drops, soft tissues, tea, etc. — and there’s a note inside that says ‘I’m so sorry you’re feeling so miserable. Get some rest and feel better, sweetie.’ It’s nice to feel the love from Past Me to Future Me when I feel like crap.” — Judith Z.

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