If you are one of the helpless victims of this year's flu--or even just a really bad case of seasonal allergies--chances are you've found yourself bedridden in the last few months. And because there are only so many syndicated episodes of Parks and Recreation one can watch, you may have found yourself extremely -- even terminally -- bored during your illness and recovery.
You also probably found yourself, after a day or two, to be pretty freaking gross looking. While there is no reason to embark upon a full, Academy Awards-level grooming during a bout of the flu, there is something to be said about using that "lost time" to make you feel better by doing small, no-to-low effort things that may even help you look a little better. As Billy Crystal's Fernando points out, "It's not how you feel -- it's how you look."
The trick is making your desire to lay around and do almost nothing work for you. Here are 13 things to do to kill time -- and maybe even end up looking alive -- when you're flu-struck.
13. Epsom salt bath: Epsom salts are great for your skin, and a hot bath feels amazing when you're sick. A five dollar bag of Dr. Teal's Relax & Relief can be found in just about every H-E-B pharmacy in town. The eucalyptus and spearmint formula soothes muscles, and also works as a mild decongestant. Alternately, you could buy plain Epsom salts and use your own essential oils to "flavor" them. Hate baths? No tub? Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Shower Tablets in Eucalyptus or Peppermint also help clear stuffy noses while you lean against the shower wall, weeping.
12. Face scrubs and masks: Dude, you are lying around anyway. Slather on whatever moisturizing mask(s) may be hanging around, that you've been saving for a home spa day. Nothing fancy on hand? Hit the kitchen pantry to make your own:
• Face scrub: One tablespoon (warm) coconut oil or olive oil and three tablespoons of sugar; add a drop or two of essential oil if you're feeling crazy. • Face mask: Mash up some avocado, add a dash of honey, maybe a little yogurt, and a drop or two of rosewater or rose essential oil. While you let our skin soak up the oils, throw a couple of slices of cucumbers on your eyeballs; better yet, make a pot of green tea, and then use the cooled tea bags on your eyelids.
11. Hair masks: Repeat above, only on your hair. Recipe ingredients include the usual suspects -- olive oil, avocado, honey, etc.
10. Manicure maintenance: Post-shower (or bath) your cuticles are going to be super-soft, so push them down and trim the excess. Don't trim or file your nails! They are too soft after the bath. Save the painting for when you feel better OR proceed to full mani/pedi, if lying in a tub for 20 minutes wasn't too strenuous. If saving paint for later, slather on some cuticle oil and lotion and give yourself a hand massage. Painting now? Go for quick-drying formulas and top coats--or a quick-drying oil like Essie's Quick-E Drops.
9. Smile: Assuming you can breathe out of one or more nostrils, this might be a good time to throw some whitening strips on those teeth. (Maybe skip this one if you're breathing out of your mouth.)
8. Pore strips: One of the most satisfying things to do when one is sick, because you already feel grosser than gross. Stuff is already coming out of your nose, why not blackheads?
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7. Clean clothes: Change frequently, and--if you can--keep up on the laundry so you aren't hoarding a big pile of your own germs. No one is saying you have to match (or even "go")--clean PJs just feel good. (A glamorous headscarf and earrings goes great with everything, including flannel pants, once you can sit up for more than ten minutes at a clip. Pearls optional.)
6. More foot stuff: Apply Vicks VapoRub to feet, throw on your heaviest socks, and just lie there. Don't ask how this works to eliminate colds -- it just does. It also makes your feet super soft.
5. Nose therapy: Oh, you've gone through three boxes of Puffs Plus and you want to pull your nose off your face before you blow it into one more tissue? Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream or Air Repair Rescue Balm should be applied regularly, and generously, all day long. If you're in serious pain, try an after-sun aloe gel with lidocaine. HEAVEN.
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4. Belt it: Hanging around in your husband's ratty, old, plaid flannel robe sucks, but throw on your fanciest belt to create a waistline. Slimming.
3. Stinky: If you aren't overly-sensitive to smells, burn your favorite/most expensive candles while you wait for death to take you.
2. Vision board: Take all of your old magazines, cut out pictures to make a vision board, and toss the rest in the recycling. You technically did a chore. Boom.
1. Hair Warning: DO. NOT. CUT. BANGS! Or trim, shave, wax, or pluck any hair, anywhere. Hair removal and cold medicines DO NOT MIX.