Self-sufficiency: 5 tips for looking after yourself when you’re sick

Self-sufficiency while studying abroad is about more than being able to manage your money or make the perfect mac n’ cheese. It’s also about being able to cope when the unexpected happens – like catching a nasty cold!

So we’ve asked student blogger, Lyssetta Teo from INTO University of Exeter, to share her tips on how to beat the sickness blues…

Teo Lyssetta - blog image - crop

Being ill is always bad but when you’re in your home country you’ll probably have family around to serve you comfort food in bed, take your temperature and give you medicine! But when you’re studying overseas, that all changes – suddenly, you’re responsible for yourself. You have to get your own medicine, cook your own meals and on top of that, keep up with whatever schoolwork you’ve missed. 

I learned this for myself when I got sick during my INTO course. One morning, I work up with a fever, sore throat, cough, flu and headache – unfortunately, I didn’t even have any painkillers or a thermometer to hand. Luckily, one of my friends brought me some pills but I felt so miserable.

cough-medicine-babiesI tried sleeping for a few hours then had to shuffle to the kitchen in an attempt to cook myself something. And it was at that point, where I was standing over the communal stove, sniffling and stirring porridge, that it hit me that this was what self-sufficiency truly means: being able to take care of yourself when there’s no one else to do it for you, even when you’re feeling your worst. It was a tough lesson to learn but I’m glad that I did!

Hopefully, you’ll be 100% healthy during your study abroad year but if not, here are my tips for taking care of yourself:

Tip 1
When you arrive at your study centre, buy basic medical supplies: thermometer, painkillers, flu medicine, cough medicine. Don’t wait till you fall ill!

Tip 2
If you fall sick, try to get as much rest as possible – avoid going outside unless absolutely necessary.

Tip 3
Make sure you have the number of your campus Student Health Centre to hand and make an appointment if you need to.

Tip 4
Don’t be shy about asking your friends to cook for you when you’re unwell (and if they do, they’re keepers!).

 Tip 5
Keep the student services team at your study centre informed of what’s happening – make sure you follow their sickness absence notification procedures.

But most importantly, prevention is key: look after yourself during your study abroad year – if you keep fit and healthy then you’re less likely to fall sick!

INTO says: This post is not a replacement for professional medical advice. If you fall ill and your symptoms persist, or if you’re at all worried or concerned, then book an appointment with your university’s Student Health Centre.

Find out more about studying at INTO University of Exeter.

Read our 5 ways to stay healthy while studying abroad.


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