Flu season comes in all-caps for most parents. Every day dreading that call from school or daycare asking you to come and pick up your child.
When it happens your life easily turns into chaos and all you can think of are all the things that now won’t get done.
If this is you, you are not alone! Here are 6 tips to better manage during flu season. Tips that will help you stay sane, get done what’s really important and of course, care for your sick child.
Let's get to it!
1. Worry gets you nowhere
Are you a worrier? I’m not a natural worrier, which means before having kids I don’t think I ever worried about anything. Becoming a parent turned this on it’s head though and it was all a bit of a shock.
All of a sudden there was little person to worry about... a fever what does it mean?? He’s coughing - could it be pneumonia?? And so my thoughts went on.
A mom’s worry can range of course, everything from a mild twinge of concern to heart-thudding panic. Now with three kids I eased a bit but I’m still probably somewhere in the middle.
Then with the likes of Google and social media, that little spark of worry can easily turn into full-blown anxiety inferno. The truth is, doing research online makes us feel like we’re doing something productive - like we’re problem solving - when in fact we’re just fretting.
My conclusion is, worrying does nothing but taking your time and energy away from better things, like making a plan...
2. Planning makes perfect - or near enough, anyway.
Be prepared. You want to make sure that before you get that call, you take some time to figure this out.
What will be your plan of action? Can you take time off work? Sometimes? All the time? If not who can help, your partner, a family member or a friend? Is there a service you can use?
Make a plan now and you can prepare the people involved, talk to your child explain what will happen, brief the person that will be in charge.
Do it early and you can remove heaps of unnecessary stress from your life.
3. Sleep when you can.
As a mom, you know all about disrupted nights. During flu season the sleeplessness can quickly go into overdrive and if we’re not careful we can run ourselves deep into the ground.
The trick here is to acknowledge the facts. It’s flu season, there are going to be disrupted nights!
The sooner you acknowledge this the better, and you can start to get some sleep when you can. Try to go to bed 15 min earlier. Skip that extra episode of your favourite show. Do what it takes to get some extra sleep!
I know it’s not fun, the little downtime you have you now need to swap for sleep - but trust me it can make the difference between complete exhaustion and manage quite well.
You’ll be more well-rested, which not only means that you are less likely to get sick yourself but you will also be less stressed and therefore more able to actually see the enjoyment in life.
These are strategies to think of before that dreaded call, next I share a few tips on what to do when your kid does get sick.
The first thing to do when you learn that your child is sick and needs caring for is to reset. Instead of rushing to fetch your child, quite likely in a state of panic thinking of all the things you have on that day, take 5 minutes to stop and reset your day. Look at what you have on and decide what is most important.
Don’t try to do them all in miracle time, instead decide what is most important and then delete, delegate or move the other things to later.
Remember here to focus on what is most important - leave the urgent but unimportant things for someone else to sort.
Do this and you will be able to get the most out of the day instead of feeling that you are constantly running behind.
5. Let go of your standards.
Okay, we’re in flu season, time to let go of your ideal image of parenting and do what works.
If your child likes tv, let them watch it - all day if it helps. Having pizza for dinner three days on the trot - that’s okay too. Ease into whatever works.
Your years of good parenting will not unravel just because you let go a bit. Instead, it’ll take heaps off your stress barometer och you can regain some sense of control.
6. Look on the bright side.
Yep, here we go. I am going to ask you to look on the bright side. Trust me, there are upsides with this. You only need to look beyond the stress and anxiety to see what it is.
Is it that you get a bit of extra special time with your child? Maybe this is an opportunity to clear that kitchen cupboard once and for all? Or simply you might feel grateful that it’s not worse than the flu. Whatever light there is look for it and enjoy it.
So those were my top tips for staying sane through the flu season, which one will you try. Share in the comments below.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, mindset coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.