How to be sick abroad
Being sick at home is not fun but being sick abroad is even less fun. I wasn’t homesick until this week when I was sitting in class only wanting to be home in the States with my dog. If you’re like me, you get sick every fall no matter what and you just grab some emergen-c and go on with your day. When I first got that tickle in my throat, I went to my local Føtex and searched for some. Before I left my house my home-stay mom said that I was probably just better off getting “a whole bag of oranges”. I took her advice and got some oranges, a box of lemon and ginger tea (to feel at home), and a orange and mango smoothie. It’s only been a couple of days and while I’m still sick, the extra boost of vitamin C has helped a lot.
#1. Don’t get sick
Now I know this is obvious and sometimes getting sick is unavoidable, but there are a few tips and tricks I’ve found over the years that help.
A regular sleep schedule.
Getting enough sleep is the most important thing, our bodies need sleep to recharge and heal. Not getting enough sleep makes a body work harder and increases chances of getting sick. Establishing a regular schedule takes a couple of days to enforce but just one day to break, so keep at it as much as you can.
A balanced diet
It’s easy to eat whatever you feel like, to grab a coffee with your friends, to grab a pastry on the way to class instead of breakfast; there are so many incredible places to eat here in Copenhagen. And this is okay every once in a while, to quote Rhetta- Treat yo’self. But giving your body the food it needs to function is just as important as sleeping. Make sure that you’re getting as much natural sugars and vitamins as you can, as well as protein and carbohydrates.
#2. Take care of yourself
Take a nap every so often, turn your brain off for twenty minutes, stay in one weekend. Self care is a crucial part of studying abroad.
Nap Time! (source: scienceofpeople)
A twenty minute nap serves the same purpose as turning a computer off and on again. It refuels your energy stores and peps you back up. A thirty to sixty minute nap helps solidify long term memory and frees up your brains disk space. A ninety minute nap is best, its the time it takes for a complete REM cycle and will leave your body and mind feeling rested.
Vitamin A, B, C…
If you didn’t bring any vitamins, separate or a general multi vitamin, go and pick some up at your local Apotek (Danish for pharmacy). Talk to the pharmacist to figure out exactly what you need. I’m from New England so I’m used to having much less sun in the winter so the lack of Vitamin D wouldn’t bother me as much as someone from California who is used to having a lot of sun all year round.
#3. Be honest
People get sick, its part of life. Your professors will understand if you cant get to class one day, just don’t email them right before class!
Let your faculty know that you’re not going to be in class as soon as you know and set up a time to go over what you missed. If you don’t feel well and you’re in class, let them know while you’re there that you wont be at the next session. They might even have some tips to help you feel better!