In middle school during the '90s, a sick day was the next best thing after a snow day. I would pray for a little runny nose or a slight fever — something just bad enough that I could convince my mom that I was "too under the weather" to go to school. (And yes, I realize now that everything about that was absolutely a privilege.) Instead of worrying about completing overdue math homework, on these perfect days, you could focus on all the little comforting things you did to feel better when you were sick in the '90s. Of course, if you were afflicted by anything too horrible, like the flu or laryngitis, it would completely defeat the purpose of an enjoyable sick day. Nobody wanted to stay home from school only to waste their time sleeping instead of playing another round of Super Mario 64.
A few years older and wiser, sick days are sadly not the same. Without the constant parental care and worry, sniffling by yourself for 24 hours loses its luster. It's difficult not to feel guilty about missing that deadline or a day's wages when you come down with something that keeps you couch-bound. No wonder we long to go back in the '90s, when feeling ill meant that you could look forward to consuming all the soup you could possibly slurp while watching a seemingly endless parade of your fave Disney VHS tapes.
So let's take a walk down memory lane and reminisce about all the ways we made ourselves feel better when we had a cold in the '90s:
1Complaining To Everyone
Are you achey? Too hot? Too cold? Does your throat hurt? Don't worry, your parents will fix it! Back in the '90s, your parents seemed to have endless tolerance for your moaning, and somehow all that complaining just made you feel better. These days we vent about our love lives, our jobs, and bosses, but rarely do we feel OK launching into a diatribe of all our physical ailments. Now when I call my mom to complain about a headache, she'll tell me to take an Advil and get over it. Sigh.
2Drinking Cans And Cans of Soup
Being sick in the '90s meant one thing: You were going on an all-soup diet. It seemed there wasn't a sickness out there that couldn't be cured with a bowl of chicken noodle or tasty tomato soup. If you were lucky, there were even toast fingers involved, and all kids know that nothing was better than dunking toast fingers while waiting for the soup to cool down!
3Vegging Out In Front Of The TV
It is not a question of if you watched The Price Is Right while home sick in the '90s, but of just how many hours of the gameshow you could take. The show aired every day of the week in the '90s, so that essentially made Bob Barker your surrogate parent. As you lay on the couch wrapped in blankets, his dulcet tones would distract you from whatever uncomfortable symptom you were currently battling. The show was fun and oh so educational — I mean, now you know much leather recliners cost!
4Consuming Some Very '90s Liquids
Water was great and all, but when you were home sick, why not treat yourself to some of the finer things in the fridge? Grab a Sunny D, CapriSun, a Juicy Juice, or even some NesQuick if your parents weren't looking, to soothe that sore throat. I mean, they all had vitamins in them, right?
5Distracting Yourself With Video Games
Being home sick from school is when you really learned just how many ways you could die on the Oregon Trail.
6Falling Asleep While Reading A Book
For those feeling really under the weather, there was nothing better than cozying up in bed and reading until you fell asleep (it still can't be beat). Whether you were working through the collected works of Roald Dahl or The Golden Compass series, you would soon find your eyelids getting heavy despite the sun in your window. But good luck getting any shut-eye if you started reading one of the gripping new Harry Potter books or any of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series. Those were just too exciting (and also terrifying) to put down.
7Getting Crafty With A Coloring book
Before coloring books became a hip stress-relieving outlet for adults, in the '90s we used them to build hand-eye coordination and hone our artistic skills. Drawing in your coloring book was the perfect therapeutic activity to liven up a slow sick day. It felt good to fill in those line drawings of cartoon characters with crayons or scented Mr. Sketch markers — and if you got bored of coloring, there were always games, activities, and puzzles to do in the back.
8Listening To Your Favorite Tunes On Your Walkman
Staying home sick by yourself could be lonely, but one upside was that meant you had all day to listen to your music without interruption. Provided you didn't have a sore throat, you could sing along with your favorite Disney tunes, musical numbers, or Spice Girls album until dinner time arrived. Those who were especially ambitious would kill time recording their own Mariah Carey-esque songs on their Talk Boys, and have something cool to show their friends the next day at recess.
9Taking A Bubble Bath
While bathing was probably not your favorite activity in the '90s, no sick day was complete without sitting in the tub at least once. The steam would help you breath better if your were stuffed up, and the hot water would relax your achey muscles, but the best part were the bubbles. The fruity smelling concoction would give you plenty of suds to play with and make bath time bearable (OK, it was even fun).
10Two Words: Vicks VapoRub!
Not only did the mentholated eucalyptus oil smell great, but it helped ease congestion! You could really soak up the TLC when it was soothingly rubbed on your chest or back after a hot bath.
11Coaxing Your Pet Onto The Bed With You
If you wanted to feel better right away, all you needed was a quick snuggle sesh with a cuddly, warm puppy or kitty... provided you could get them to sit still for more than a second. No matter how many times I watched Air Bud, I could never convince my dog to do my bidding, but sometimes a nice lick on the face helped anyway.