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Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020
Home / Brunch / Humour: Five ways to cope with sick days

Humour: Five ways to cope with sick days

From awww-inspiring posts to guilt-free TV binges, there’s so much to do

brunch Updated: Dec 08, 2019 00:22 IST
Rehana Munir
Rehana Munir
Hindustan Times
The social media potential of a spot of ill health is immense
The social media potential of a spot of ill health is immense(Photo imaging: Parth Garg)

I’m not proud of it – okay, I’m just a little bit proud – of owning a pretty enviable sickbed game. What’s a sickbed game, the paragons of health among you might ask. It means the inner resources you fall back on when you’re under the weather, as one commonly is during this season. I’m not, of course, speaking about the grievous afflictions that leave us quite shattered. But there are plenty of illnesses, from headaches and the flu to foot injuries and stomach woes that leave us brooding in bed every now and then. I’m here to share the successful strategies for those sneezy, mopey, don’t-I-look-dopey times.

Social media influenzing

The social media potential of a spot of ill health is immense. An arty photograph with a steaming hot beverage, a pair of bright yet mismatched socks and a fluffy pet with a caption that sounds like ‘Ill but feeling blessed’ draws a collective sigh from both friends and hard-to-please acquaintances.

Q: The perfect antidote to the despondency born of germs, pills and rapidly-depleting sick leaves? A: Beautifully crafted dramas!

For best results, leave the face out: the actual horror of your condition can be a real dampener for your social media well-wishers. This can be followed by a sick-day earworm ranging from a wistful ballad to edgy hip hop. The genre doesn’t matter, just the description. Nothing invites the ‘awwwwws’ like a well-framed bout of illness. It buys you enough credit till you’re well enough to pose those just-out-of-the gym or ready-to-rock-the-dance-floor pics.

Period drama binge-watching

Whether it is the slickly packaged gloom of Mad Men or the meticulously crafted tension of The Crown, period dramas are expertly designed to transport you to a time and place far away from your current predicament. In days past, a good book would do the trick. But reading has never been a passive activity; it commands you to conjure worlds through the spell of words. TV shows do all the work for you. And in the case of beautifully crafted dramas, they even leave you with a sense of accomplishment. The perfect antidote to the despondency born of germs, pills and rapidly-depleting sick leaves.

Catching up on correspondence

That long-ignored mail from a second cousin. The follow-up to your follow-up on the insurance claim rejection. The SMS from the travelling neighbour you blocked from memory. The invitation to the school alumni event. The missed phone call from your ex-colleague. The WhatsApp family group where 3,500 messages have mutely accumulated with not a stir from you… Now’s your chance to catch up. Fine, you can give the ex-colleague’s phone call a miss. Perhaps even the alumni event. But now’s the ideal time to reinstate yourself as a living, breathing, emoji-ing member of the community. A few well-placed ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and you could recover much of your lost social standing before you leave that bed.

Making restaurant discoveries

The online food delivery revolution has made many things easier for all of us, not least when we’re too weak to move. That’s the time when guilt-free online ordering can take over. That chicken khichri you had always wondered about. Or that Scotch broth you didn’t know you could trust. The protein salad that always sounded too healthy, or the seven-layered dessert too sinful. Here’s when all those echoes of doubt and self-flagellation can be safely silenced. Guided by the motto “But I’m ill!” you’re ready to embark on a culinary adventure that could yield memorable delights. Just be sure to match the indulgence to the illness.

Doing nothing

Now here’s the icing on your get-well-soon cake. Your mild to moderate illness/injury offers you a mind-blowing opportunity to do absolutely nothing, which is liberating. Not in the self-improvement sense that demands you hike up a mountain to breathe in solitude. Or mindfully play drums in sync with the rhythms of the earth. Or chase butterflies in a misty meadow. Actually nothing. Idleness is a radical stance in our hyperactive, FOMO-plagued age. Staring at the ceiling. Hearing the rumble of the road roller down the street. Falling asleep at the oddest of times and waking up to find the world has in fact gone on without you, all without the anxiety of having missed out by choice. Sigh. I can almost feel the sniffles come on.

Rehana Munir’s debut novel, Paper Moon, is now on stands

From HT Brunch, December 8, 2019

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