Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

Make Yourself at Home

Find the comfiest spot in your house and declare it your get-better zone. Peace, quiet and natural light are musts. A live, verdant plant helps, too. Goes with the healthy, thriving theme.

Deck your well room out in the softest, most luxurious blankets and pillows you’ve got. You’re sick, not on punishment, so spare no comforts.

Depending on what ails you, fill up a tray with appropriately healing food and drink. Even if all you can stomach are water and saltines, make them shine by arraying them on real dishes on an elegant tray. Not because you’re so sick that you’re having Martha Stewart delusions, but because nothing feels better than being catered to (even if you’re doing it for yourself). No tray? No problem. Work with what you’ve got.

Don’t Be Shy

Remember, it takes a village. Enlist the support of your family/friends/roommate/perfect strangers when you’re under the weather. Sick days are not silent days. When someone you love (or better yet someone who loves you) asks if there’s anything they can do for you, be honest. Ask for the childcare/pharmacy run/silence your heart truly desires. Sometimes they’ll deliver. Never will they read your mind.

Listen to Your Body

By definition, a sick day should be all about you. You can’t take care of work or your dependents if you’re a hot mess. Take some time to do a full assessment of how you’re feeling. Go beyond the squeaky wheel issue that made you call it quits for the day. The flu or the sinus infection or [insert your condition here] is important, but it’s probably not alone.

Make a note of subtle chronic issues that may be slowing you down a bit and building toward the next calamity of poor health. Then make a plan to nip them in the bud.

Rest and Relax

Lounge about, sleep, slouch in a hot tub. Strike whatever restorative pose suits you until you literally can’t rest anymore. Then …

Read Something Short and Sweet

Sick days are the perfect time to read. (No, your Twitter timeline doesn’t count.) My top picks for sick-to-well reading material are Next Issue and Shebooks. Trust me, digital’s best for sheer range and speed of delivery.

Next Issue lets you access 133 magazines, so you can gorge yourself on current and back issues of many favorite glossies without leaving your bed. Literally tap into thousands of articles and multimedia extras for free (during the 30-day trial period, that is) from your iPad, iPhone, Android tablet or Windows PC.

Shebooks is a new digital publishing house that specializes in the stories women want to read, at a length that respects their time, in a format that suits their busy lives. Amen. Its short fiction and nonfiction e-books sell for $2.99 and can be read on Kindle, Nook and the Kindle App for Android, PC, iPad, Iphone, Mac and Windows.

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”

-Jane Smiley

Make a List of One

If you’re like me, you like to get something accomplished, even on your sickest days. This is the perfect time to draft an If I Do Nothing Else Today List. The one-item wonders give you the satisfaction of bite-sized achievement.

My If I Do Nothing Else Today List

  • Write a blog post.

Done! I’m feeling better already.

Question: What’s your best tip for turning a sick day into an on-the-mend day?
Please scroll down and post in the comments section below.