We now know that the 2012/2013 flu season will go down on record as one of the most severe in the past decade. While we haven't quite reached circa 2009 swine flu levels, the CDC is reporting that 47 states have "widespread" flu activity, an elevated rate of hospitalizations and even deaths. While the flu rates may already be subsiding, there are a still a large number of people who will be staying home over the coming weeks, trying to kick the virus, which can cause fever, chills, body aches and respiratory problems -- among other complications.
Rest is a crucial part of the recovery process, but it can be kind of, well, boring. If you're home sick and getting stir crazy, try one of these activities that will help you repair along the way.
Watch A Comedy
If you're feeling well enough to watch a movie, make it a comedy. Research shows that <a href="http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter">laughing may actually boost your immune system</a>.
Take A Steam
Turn your bathroom into a steam room by running a hot shower. If you're too lightheaded to stand, sit on a chair or the closed toilet and breathe in the steam, which moistens your nasal passages and throat, and can help you relax.
Stir Up Some Homemade Hot Chocolate
If you make winter's classic warm drink at home, <em>you</em> control what goes into the mix. That can keep sugar in check with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/hot-chocolate_n_1048961.html">unsweetened cocoa powder</a> and cut back on fat by using <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/five-warm-drinks-health-coffee-tea-cider-chocolate_n_1025772.html#s425957&title=Hot_Chocolate">skim milk</a> -- plus you can still reap the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/chocolate-stroke-prevention_n_1004426.html">health benefits of chocolate</a>, like a boost in heart health, a drop in blood pressure and lifted spirits. And if you're suffering from a flu or cold virus, the added hydration boost can only help your body's capacity for fighting the infection. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/23536504@N07/3448676406/" target="_hplink">lisa_eglinton</a></em>
Enjoy Homemade Soup
Sipping soup, especially broth, is bound to feel good, while providing you with the nutrients you need to fight your infection. It's also an easy way to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17574705" target="_hplink">eat healthfully</a> without feeling weighed down. And homemade beats canned soups or restaurant servings, which are often loaded with sodium. Making your own hearty meal in a bowl cuts back on salt and also gives you the chance to load it up with healthy winter veggies. Try these tasty <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-patricia-fitzgerald/soup-recipes_b_1173275.html" target="_hplink">winter soup recipes</a> from HuffPost Wellness Editor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-patricia-fitzgerald" target="_hplink">Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald</a>.
Play A Board Game
Just as you want to keep your body active when you're stuck indoors, exercising your gray matter is a great idea, too. Depending on the objective, board games can test your powers of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/games-for-midlife-women_n_1087369.html" target="_hplink">memory, logic and problem solving</a>. So dust off that old Scrabble board, serve up the hot chocolate and challenge a friend or family member to a round. Don't already own any games? Many can be easily downloaded as smartphone or tablet apps.
Take A Nap
Sleep, sleep, sleep. We probably don't even have to tell you to this one, as you're bound to be feeling wiped out. But try to support your sleep schedule by timing caffeine intake (from coffee, tea or even medications) so that it doesn't interfere with your naps.
Enjoy Your Alone Time
If you find yourself repeatedly wishing for more hours in the day, take some time to kick back and relax. Being out sick is the perfect excuse to stay away from your email and phone. What's more, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/flu/homecare/">the CDC recommends avoiding contact with the people around you</a> when you're contagious.