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10 Ways to Feel Productive on a Sick Day


Check off the to do list even when you’re feeling under the weather.

woman home sick

When your kids get sick, you’re all about finding low-energy activities to keep them occupied and still having a little fun while they rest and heal. So why is it so hard to treat yourself the same way when you’re sick? Probably because unlike your kids, you have a huge to-do list of everything that needs to get done around the house and for your family. Luckily, there are ways to be productive without running around. Each activity on this list will make you feel like you’re accomplishing something (yes, even in your PJs), without making you feel mentally or physically drained.

Create an all-day care kit. Give yourself the same compassion and attention you give your kids when they’re under the weather. Gather everything you need to get through the day: your fluffiest throw blanket, softest pillow, favorite mug, a box of tissues, and a medicine like Robitussin Tablet 12 Hour Cough & Mucus Relief to relieve your symptoms all day long. If you’d feel better staying connected to the outside world, keep your phone nearby. Otherwise, consider taking a mini detox to focus on healing.

Make a home project to-do list. With hours to spend within the four walls of your home, now is the time to catalog what needs doing, rather than letting it float around in your head. Grab a pen and pad and scribble a list of all the home improvements big and small you’d like to tackle in the next six months. Steam clean the couch? Paint the kitchen? Replace drawer pulls? Add it to your list and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing each item off as you tackle it — once you feel better.

Order groceries for delivery. No, you don’t have the energy to trek to the supermarket, but you probably have the energy to add essential fridge and pantry items to your virtual shopping cart. Once you’ve stocked up, either arrange to have your partner hit curbside pickup on the way home or have them delivered straight to your door.

Fold clothes during a TV binge. All you need is a comfy spot for sitting, a flat surface for folding, and the remote. Catch up on back-to-back episodes of a new show (or re-watch an old favorite) and put laundry duty on autopilot. Minimal effort, maximum getting-stuff-done satisfaction.

Read that book or magazine you keep hearing about. You may never feel like you have time to read, so now’s your chance to catch up. And if you happen to drift off to sleep halfway through, enjoy the nap.

Create a photo album. Being glued to the couch is a great time to finally post those photos of last year’s vacation. Alternatively, put those photos together into a photo book that you can get delivered to your door. You have no distractions, no more pressing to-dos, and just enough energy to curate memories on your laptop.

Write a heartfelt letter to someone you love. You know the running list of loving thoughts you have about your kids, your parents, or your best friend? The things you hope they know, but never find the time to tell them? Now’s your moment. Put pen to paper and share your heart in an old-fashioned letter to a loved one. When you’re feeling better, mail it to them. They’ll appreciate the sentiment (and the mail that’s not a bill).

Get crafty. If it’s good enough for the little ones, it’s good enough for you. Whether your creative inclinations lean more in the adult coloring book direction (go ahead, dust them off and knock yourself out) or knitting that blanket you want to give to your kids, it’s time to tap into your inner artist and play. No deep thinking required.

Plan your next vacation. This particular activity can be customized based on your energy levels. If you’re barely keeping your eyes open, go ahead and close them, then picture you and your family having a blast in different destinations. It’s like a virtual vacation dressing room — see which vacation idea fits best. Got more fuel in your tank? Hop online, research a few destinations, and if you’ve still got energy to spare, start searching for places to stay.

Organize the junk drawer. Each of us has that one neglected spot in the house, where every time you look at it you think, “Ugh, I really need to take care of that one of these days.” Today, you have all the time in the world to sort through the little things (just dump it out in a comfy spot to sit).