Coping with Illness at Uni
Recently I came down with sinusitis, a common occurrence in the aftermath of a cold, and it left me bedridden and in no position to even think about university. The problem is, when you’re sick the thought that you might not get work done in time or to the best of your abilities makes you stressed, and therefore it often takes even longer to recover. While lying in bed drowning in my own sorrows and snotty tissues, I had a few thoughts that I would like to pass on to anyone who gets ill during their time at uni.
First of all, try not to panic. Illness is only made worse by stress. Let your lecturers know you’re under the weather and ask for any extra help you might need, try and take your work at a steady and manageable pace. Don’t stay up late at night poring over that essay, you’ll be better off with a good night’s sleep and to leave it until morning.
Next, consider what you’re putting in your body. Splash out on some lemons and honey and make sure to regularly drink them down in a concoction with hot water. Keep taking painkillers, devour soup by the bucketful. If you’ve lost your appetite, a bowl of plain pasta or rice is a filling and bland option that won’t have you heaving. Eating in front of the TV may also help take your mind off what you’re putting in your mouth.
Don’t put off going to the doctor. Sure, if it’s just a common cold that’s treatable at home then don’t waste the GP’s time, but if you’re in significant pain then going sooner rather than later will ensure an accurate diagnosis and some solid advice on how to get on your feet as soon as possible. I’ve found in my time at Warwick that the on-campus surgery is excellent. The nurses and doctors are so used to dealing with students that they always know how to sort you out, and are very understanding about why you’re feeling so run down. (Hint, uni is no walk in the park, we all suffer from exhaustion and illness at some point!).
Finally, go home if you need to. In the end the awful headaches of the sinusitis beat me. I knew I couldn’t keep dragging myself in on the bus just to end up not being able to follow the lectures and making myself feel so much worse that all I could do was crawl into bed and cry. It’s perfectly fine to admit defeat and head back for some home comforts to regain your strength. Sometimes just getting away from campus and the localities is enough to help clear your head and stop you worrying about all the work that’s piling up while you’re lying in bed. Luckily, I only live about an hour away from uni, but if home is too far to make the trip then do your best to shut yourself off from work and rest. Although it might seem like a lot of effort to catch up after you’ve recovered, believe me it’s much better than forcing yourself to work at sub-par level and dragging out your illness as a result.
Hopefully you won’t need this advice, but we all get ill sometimes!