Even though being sick stinks, it happens to the best of us. I've been fighting the plague (aka. this-really-annoying-virus-that-won't-go-away) for over a week now. It isn't fun, in case you were wondering.
Since life doesn't stop just because Mom is under the weather, I have to be able to survive the sick days and help my family survive them, too. If I'm not careful, both my home and my emotions will be a disaster. That isn't good for anyone, and it affects everyone. I need to have some strategies to hold life together, even if I feel like I'm falling apart.
Here are a few tips I try to keep in mind on sick days:
Be prepared- This bug hit me rather suddenly, but many times I have a little bit of warning that I'm feeling strange. Well, more strange than usual. Whenever possible, it helps immensely to be prepared for the impending doom.
Focus on necessities - Food and clothing. Those are the only two things that are really necessary. My family needs clothes to wear to school and work. They need to eat. They do not need furniture without dust or countertops without clutter. And I promise you that the kids will survive even if cereal, sandwiches, and frozen pizza are the only three food groups they eat for a couple of days. Trust me, I've run the tests to prove it.
Rest - I usually get up very early in the morning and keep moving for most of the day. When I'm sick, I reset the alarm, take naps, and allow myself to just sit. I also tend to let the kids watch television, play video games, eat marshmallows, whatever. Again, they really will survive, even if they are plunked in front of a screen with sugar in hand so I can rest. It's only a day.
Avoid important things - When I start my decision making with the words, "I don't even care," that's not a good sign. Paying bills, switching phone companies, making large purchases. All those things should wait, if at all possible.
Avoid emotional issues- This is not the time to evaluate the state of my home or my effectiveness as a parent. Self-contemplation and fever are not friends. It also isn't the time to address my children's faults or failures. They will still be leaving their dirty laundry on the floor next week; I can deal with it then. Same goes for any issues that might come up with my husband. It's best to run (or at least crawl) away from conflict until I can muster up some non-sick perspective.
Offer grace - It is just too easy to feel sorry for myself when I'm sick and to use my illness as an excuse for my sinfulness. It's like temptation is breaking down the door and I'm simply too beat up to fight. When I give in to complaining and a poor-me-attitude, I start judging others. Then it gets ugly. Really ugly. My husband is not a nurturing mother. My children are not natural caregivers. I need to be thankful for their efforts and overlook the opportunities they miss to meet my every need.
Remember the gospel- I know it's hard. Believe me...I know! But it is important to keep the state of my heart in mind, regardless of how I feel. God has given me this uncomfortable opportunity to advance the gospel through my physical suffering. I can also use this time to remember that Jesus wore a weak human body, too. He knew pain that I will never experience. He loves me and cares about me. And He wants me to have the humility to cry out to Him.
What strategies do YOU use to survive your sick days?
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