Taking advantage of a bad cold

| kaizen, life

Optimist Kitteh is Optimistic!

I’m feeling under the weather. Instead of fighting it, I can embrace this feeling of fuzziness and figure out how I can make the most of it. I spent most of Thursday in bed, except for a chicken soup lunch and a congee dinner (the latter thanks to W-, who is totally wonderful). Friday was just as relaxed: chicken soup for breakfast, congee for lunch; playing video games, writing letters, and drawing.

I spent some time thinking about what gets affected when I have a bad cold, and how I can work around those. Here’s what happens:


  • I sniffle and sneeze. No avoiding that – it’s part of a definition of a cold. Having a box of tissue around helps me feel a lot more dignified. Hankies are a decent second. W- has some really soft ones.
  • I go between hot and cold. I feel hot after drinking soup. I feel cold after that effect subsides. It’s all about layers: warm bathrobe, fuzzy socks, flannel pajamas.
  • I feel tired and a little sore. Good reason to stay in bed or on the couch. No heavy lifting or vigorous exercise, although walking is probably all right. It’s also tiring to draw, but typing is somewhat okay. My skin sometimes feels a little sensitive, too. So: typing, playing video games, and some motion.
  • I can’t smell food. This is probably a good time to load up on vegetables and other things that are good for me. Also, chicken soup or congee every meal, yay!
  • I need to drink plenty of fluids. I can keep the kettle close by, and drink out of one of my favourite mugs. I like hot water. It’s simple and soothing. Oh, and if I’m sick, I get to have a glass or two of fizzy vitamin C. Redoxon’s effervescence seems to do something about calming down my nose and throat quickly, although Redoxon unfortunately has aspartame in it. Maybe it’s the placebo effect, though, as research concluded that taking vitamin C doesn’t really do much once you have a cold. (And doesn’t really do much for preventing colds, either, unless you have a stressful lifestyle.)


  • I overlook things. This is not the time for system administration. I’m allowed to do backups, but nothing major or irreversible. Good time to slow down and consciously pay more attention.
  • I find it difficult to concentrate or remember. Not a good time to read reference books or non-fiction books that I want to absorb, but good for reading fiction and playing games. Programming is tough, but simple drawing is okay.
  • I don’t feel creative. Drawing new things is hard, but practising drawing simple figures is okay. It’s a little tiring to do that, though, so I can only do so much. Clipping other people’s images for study is easier to do and that’s a good fit for my sniffles-brain, actually, although it makes me feel even more uncertain and pessimistic (see below).


  • I don’t feel awesome or productive. Time to go through all those “gray day” tasks, such as balancing my books and entering data. Also a good time for positive emotions from other sources such as comic books, I Can Has Cheezburger – Lolcats, and spending time with W-.
  • I don’t want to interact with people. I don’t want to answer e-mail or step outside the house, aside from what I need to do in order to meet commitments. (People are pretty understanding, though. Makes sense. Colds are contagious.) Anyway, if I take a while to get back to you by e-mail, this could be why.
  • I feel more uncertain and pessimistic. It seems to focus on two areas: life plans and drawing, with drawing getting the brunt of the blah-ness because I don’t feel as comfortable with it as I do with writing or coding. Deliberate practice helps me deal with that feeling.
  • This is an excellent time to make and double-check plans because of that extra rationality. Can I poke holes in my plans and patch those holes? What does my disbelieving self need to prove true in order to feel confident in something?
  • It’s also a good time to review good memories such as letters and stories, feel that tide of gratitude, and reach out to people. It gets around the “I don’t want to interact with people” bit by being something people aren’t expecting.

I’m going to have many more colds in my life. This is a state like any other state. Each moment is a potential gift. If I can figure out how to make the most of it, that’s another small fraction of my life that I can turn to good use. =)

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