5 Ways to Heal When Sick
As I write this, I am home for the second consecutive day with a painful strep infection in my throat. So, instead of sitting around kvetching, I decided to make the most of the experience and share 5 ways that I am using this painful experience to heal, physically and spiritually. I want to premise this post by saying that I am writing specifically about conditions that are short-term and curable, such as the common cold or recovery from an operation, rather than chronic or long-term illness. It’s possible that these principles could be applied to the latter as well, but I personally have not experienced such a situation, thank God, so it would be insensitive for me to direct this article toward that circumstance. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that we are holistic beings—body and soul intertwined. Therefore, while getting proper rest, taking medicine/supplements, and enjoying a delicious bowl of chicken soup all may be helpful in recovering from illness, equally important is the treatment and healing of the soul.
#1: Accept the situation
Often, we spend the first few days of our illness telling ourselves that we’re not really sick and will manage to push through. This is a big mistake and can spiral into an even worse illness. Why do we do this? Illness causes us to feel a lack of control, and we become vulnerable. Personally, I thrive on being busy and crossing tasks off my list of things to do. So when I’m sick, that means I can’t go to work, take care of my family, or accomplish the myriad other things that I do each day.
When we accept that we are sick and take time to slow down and surrender, then the healing process can begin.
#2: Have perspective
Recognize that this circumstance is temporary. Earlier this week a friend contacted me regarding an upcoming Cesarean section and her anxiety about the pain that would follow. Having experienced a C-section when delivering my twins, I quickly flashed back to those memories of an excruciating three months of recovery from a procedure that involved slicing into my abdomen and shifting other vital organs around. At the time, I remember calling another friend who had experienced a C-section, and I complained to her about how much pain I was enduring.
“You WILL heal. I know it hurts now, but hold onto the thought that this is short-lived. Your body WILL recover and life will go on.”
Her words brought me tremendous comfort. In the midst of a painful experience it is hard for us to have perspective and see outside of that moment. In order to bring this into my consciousness, I turn it into a prayer. If you’re experiencing an illness or recovery that you know is temporary, try reciting this affirmation and prayer:
“God, I know this pain is temporary. In Your unlimited kindness, please give me the strength that I need in this moment and help me heal quickly and completely.”
Method #3: Expand consciousness
We know the story—God sent Moshe to deliver His message to the Jewish people, who were enslaved in Egypt. And how did they respond?
The verse says,
“V’lo shamu el Moshe m’kotzer ruach u’m’avodah kasha”
The Jews did not listen to Moshe because of kotzer ruach and hard work.
So what exactly does the term “kotzer ruach” mean?
Some commentaries explain that it alludes to emotional difficulties or stress. Rabbi Doniel Katz adds that the term kotzer ruach means “constricted consciousness created by overstimulation of desire which knocks me out of myself.” In other words, when we experience constricted consciousness, we aren’t in touch with our higher selves and our ability to think and behave rationally. Rather, we are driven by our emotions.
The word for Egypt in Hebrew is “Mitzrayim,” which at its root derives from the concept of narrowness or constriction.
When we are sick, we are forced to slow down. We now have the precious OPPORTUNITY to reflect through meditation and visualization as a means to widen our constricted reality and experience truth and clarity.
Take some deep breaths in and out, and close your eyes.
Reflect on the days leading up to the illness.
Ask yourself the following:
🤔 Have I been “checked out” recently?
🤔 Where have I been placing my attention and energy?
🤔 Have I felt stressed?
🤔 Have I been focused on spiritual pursuits, or physical pleasures?