What I Do When I’m Under the Weather

What I Do When I’m Under the Weather

We all experience times when we’re under the weather physically or creatively.

I’m in the second week of a two-week cold (today is day eleven). My colds usually last about two weeks whether or not I see a doctor, so I use a variety of home remedies to deal with the symptoms while the process runs its course. Lots of rest, lots of fluids, and a reduced schedule. A cough suppressant or decongestant as needed.

I’m not in a very creative place at the moment. Fiction writing—yes, I do that, too—has ground to a halt. The plain truth is that almost everything has. I have enough energy to do what must be done and that’s about it. Blogging (although this post took most of the week to come together) and EmptyEasel articles. Maybe a bit of drawing one or two days in the last week.

So what do I do with all that “spare time”?

(By the way, lest you get the wrong idea from the illustration above, my cold isn’t that serious. I just love lightning and had to use that image! Now, where was I? Oh, yeah.)

What I Do When I’m Under the Weather

These are a few of the things I do when I’m in the middle of a cold or any other illness that sidelines me temporarily or long-term. Maybe these things will help you. Maybe they’ll prompt your little gray cells to other ideas.

1. Read

My first recourse is always reading. When I’m under the weather and lack energy for the usual routine, I have lots of time for sitting around or lying in bed. That means lots of time for reading.

Usually, hubby makes a trip to the library and lugs back an armful of books. Favorite authors include Agatha Christie, Jan Karon, Chris Fabry, and Joel C. Rosenberg. There’s nothing like holding a book in my hand, so although I have a lot of selections on my Kindle for PC, I still prefer books with real pages and actual covers.

What I Do When I'm Under the Weather

Sometimes, I read some of my stories. The older the better, usually. Otherwise, it’s too much like work!

2. Look at Photographs

I especially like looking at online photographs. One of my favorite places to browse is Pixabay. Pixabay images are published under a CCO license, which means they’re free for use in any commercial way. The images in this post come from Pixabay.

I don’t generally think of these images as reference photos, but you can never tell.

What I do often find is grandeur, beauty, awe—and sometimes sheer whimsy.

(This photo of colorful tomatoes reminds me of a drawing I once considered. It involved horses of different colors galloping across a black background. Drawn in colored pencil, of course!)

What I Do When I'm Under the Weather

3. Surf the Web

Just this week, I happened upon a YouTube Channel for the Longines Masters. I spent an hour watching the speed challenge of the 2013 Longines Hong Kong Masters. Show jumping on the clock. Did you know there was such a thing? It was fascinating to see world class show jumping riders and horses racing the clock on what looked to me like an impossible course. Lots of jumps and lots of big jumps.

The amazing thing was that there were three clear rounds of the 18 competitors. Amazing!

Needless to say, I bookmarked that channel for future reference, along with the channels for the FEI and American Endurance Riding Conference.

But I also watch videos on making art, some of which I’ve shared here and some of which I will be sharing in the future.

What I Do When I'm Under the Weather

4. Watch Movies

I don’t do this much at home, but when I was in the hospital for nearly a week in March of last year, my husband and I watched at least one movie every night for the duration. Sometimes two or three.

What do we like to watch?

  • Almost anything with Humphrey Bogart or John Wayne.
  • The Thin Man series starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • The Avengers series
  • Dreamer, Seabiscuit, the Black Stallion, etc.

The hospital room had a VHS player, so we pretty much went through the part of our collection that hasn’t yet been replaced by DVDs.

God is good and provided for me for this cold. Shortly before it got bad, my husband came home from a regular church meeting with a package of CDs. A collection of 44 episodes of an old radio program, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, starring Bob Bailey. I’ve been listening to one CD a day for the last several days and I must confess, I’m hooked!

What I Do When I'm Under the Weather

The Common Thread when I’m Under the Weather

The most important part of the process for me is the realization that I’m not a machine. I don’t create on demand (though I often behave as though I do) and I don’t control very much at all in life or in the studio.

Times likes these remind me that taking time to slow down and take a step back are just as important as all the time and work I put into art, stories, even this blog. If I don’t stop to recharge physically and creatively, pretty soon, the battery runs down.

And so does the mind and body.

So the best advice I can give you for dealing with your under-the-weather times is to find ways to recharge. Everything I’ve shared here recharges me in some way, preparing for the day with the lightning stops, the rain goes away, and the rainbows appear again.


  1. John G.

    When I was younger, often I could “mentally” beat a cold by taking a shower in the morning and getting dressed up (nice jeans, collared shirt) and force myself to leave the house. Somehow in my mind I would feel better, so physically I felt better. Now that I’m older, that doesn’t seem to work so well. The aches and pains of being sick hit me a little harder it seems. So I just try to enjoy the old fashioned bowls of soup and lots of tv and YouTube. And Empty Easel articles.

    1. John,

      Thanks for the comment.

      It does seem like the same thing that would be a minor annoyance at 25 or 30 is a knock-down-drag-out at 50 or 55. I don’t like to think it has anything to do with age because I don’t feel that old unless I’m not well. But who’s kidding whom?

      Soup is always a good treatment. Soup, a good movie (or two or three) and a hot foot soak. Ah! I feel better just thinking about it!

  2. John P Garrett

    Hi Carrie,
    I hope you feel better. I’ve had bad allergies for several months now, pollen count in Ga is awful. Your reading and Movie list is similar to mine. :0)

    1. John,

      Allergies are no fun. I have low grade allergies (I think), but have discovered that hot tea with a teaspoon of local honey relieves my symptoms, which mostly amount to drainage. I can tell when I forget.

      Aren’t movies wonderful? We watched The Big Sleep (the original version) last night. What a treat!

  3. Norma J Buffon

    I am glad to hear your cold isn’t ‘serious’. I have ‘hit the wall’ with creativity off and on forever. My creativity zigged into dance, choreography and costume design when my hands were diagnosed with arthritis. Funny thing, 40 years later they don’t bother me near as much as when I was younger! I am back to my ‘drawing’ art, not so much choreography and costume design now, but I have another sideline on creativity jewelry making with seed beads. It took me years to realize how much I do is creative, even tho my husband has told me I was very creative since the day I met him. So, thank you for your article, and keep on with Your creativity, you never know where it will take you!

    1. Norma,

      Thank you for your well wishes. It turns out my colds are compounded by mild allergies of one type or another.

      Thank you also for your very nice words about this article. I’m glad you’ve discovered all the other ways you’re creative!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *