Universities bring together people from a wide range of places, each with their own strains of common viruses, and put them in close quarters. Students are perhaps not eating as well as they should, sleeping as much as they need, and partying a bit too much. You letting your own basic self-care practices slide in the face of your own workload pressures. If you have kids of your own, you have the various viruses they bring home from school or child-care to contend with, too.
The first week of term is particularly bad for colds and other viruses. And then later in the semester, they seem to come back. Given how chaotic it already is in December (or at the beginning of term), being sick/ill* seems like just one more thing you don’t have time for.
Feeling this awful is healthy.
Yep. That’s right. Being ill/sick is a healthy response to the virus. The mucus, coughing, fever, chills, sore throat, etc are all signs that your body is fighting off the virus.
It is tempting to be angry. You don’t have time for this. It’s ruining the season. You have So. Much. To. Do.
Viruses don’t respond to anger. They respond to your immune system doing the things it does. This is when breathing (in both the literal and figurative sense) is a good idea.
In order to fight the virus, your immune system needs energy. You have a finite amount of energy. (possibly less than usual because it is the end of term and you’ve worked really hard and you are tired). The very best thing you can do is stop expending energy on other things so more is available to your immune system.
Lie around. Nap. Drink lots of fluids. Eat nourishing food if you have an appetite.
Lying around doing nothing is not lazy. It is not “giving in” to the virus. It is not a sign of moral weakness. It is what fighting a virus looks like from the outside. Furthermore, doing this when you are starting to come down with something reduces the total time you spend fighting (which looks like napping a lot) and require a lot less energy thus saving energy for some of those other things you want to do.
Your gremlins might need a reminder: fatigue impairs cognitive function. The writing (and teaching, and everything else) will go much better later if you rest now.
Do the bare essentials. Nap lots. Drink fluids. Eat nourishing food. REST!!!!
Get well soon.
*in recognition of the many countries divided by a common language, I am using both terms. For those in North America sick covers a wide range of maladies. For those in the UK, it signifies something very specific that is probably not what you are experiencing right now.
Post edited 10 October 2016, additional related post added September 2021.