I've been sick for less than 24 hours, and already my apartment is trashed. My little living room currently has two empty juice bottles, a bottle of sparkling water refilled with tap water (for the 100th time), a tea mug, many blankets, a robe, my post-shower towel, and a copious amount of Thai takeout paraphernalia — all artfully arranged around my pulled-out pullout couch… and my bedroom is no better. What will this place look like by the time I'm well?
Part of the problem is that I still have to go to work. (Believe me — I know that this is not ideal. The socially responsible thing to do when you're sick is to stay home and keep your germs to yourself. Sadly, many jobs do not offer paid sick time and/or don't have adequate staff to cover sick employees — or it's just a really important time to be at work and you have to power through!) I picked up my spicy Thai soup after work last night, and will likely be doing the same tonight. It is unlikely that dishes will be washed. So, how to cope? This is where you come in. I have a few tiny tricks, but really I'd love to hear your advice.
Clean up for 5 minutes when you feel your best. For me, that's right after a morning shower. Five minutes is enough to put the trash in the trash, the recycling in the recycling, the dishes in the sink, the towel in the bathroom, and the blankets and pillows in a less chaotic configuration. Maybe even fold up the couch if I feel up to it. Having a place to collapse other than my bed is a major luxury when I'm sick, but having the hide-a-bed out all the time makes me depressed.
Phone a friend. If you're totally miserable and helpless (we've all been there), don't hesitate to ask a friend for help. I'm sure he or she will be happy to bring over some juice, vitamins, more spicy soup, and DVDs, and will probably clean up around you without being asked. You know you'd do the same.
Fresh air in, germy air out No matter the weather, I try to keep the windows open — even just a crack — when I'm sick. The air, and therefore the whole apartment, feels so much cleaner.
Don't judge. I woke up this morning and not only felt physically awful, but felt awful about myself. "I live in squalor! I am a failure! What a mess…" No, I'm just sick, this is highly temporary, and it will all go back to normal in a couple of days. There's no need to hold yourself to your normal housekeeping standards — be gentle on yourself.
How do you keep your house (reasonably) livable when you're sick? Last year Annamaria Stephens wrote a great post entitled 10 Tips For Surviving Sick Days At Home, all about how to keep your home prepared for when illness inevitably strikes. Excellent advice I would do well to follow — the only thing I had going for me was a fresh-baked Netflix DVD in my mailbox!
MORE GET WELL SOON ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
• 10 Tips For Surviving Sick Days At Home
• Best Way To Spend A Sick Day: Curled Up With Books
(Image: The neat, clean, sunny and cheerful bedroom from Andrea's Urban Cottage Small Cool 2012 entry)