A Mom’s Prescription for Getting Healthy When Sick

Research Question 

When a mom, dad, or any other caregiver is sick, who takes care of them? I learned the hard way that moms usually take care of themselves. While there are many things to prescribe someone who is sick for getting healthy, there aren’t many substitutions for rest…

Symptoms

I came down with what I’m pretty sure was Strep throat (undiagnosed) this past month. And it was baaaad. Fever, body aches, and all! I wanted my mommy. I curled up in my bed and bunkered down to let it run its course. I opened my eyes looking for ibuprofen and chicken noodle soup at my bedside. Instead, I found my toddler whining and prying my breast out of my bra…

It was my first time experiencing being sick as the primary caregiver in my household. I was expecting my husband to take care of me, but he just didn’t have it in him. My husband DID have his moments, but he just couldn’t meet my expectations. And while I maintain hope for him in the future, it simply was not the time to try to teach him. I was miserable, but at times more miserable because I wasn’t getting the help that I wanted than I was miserable with the actual sickness. 

So I started thinking about my mom and all of the single moms and dads that regularly do not have any help or have little help. How do they do it!?  Not to mention all the moms with more children and/or more responsibilities. 

The only way I was getting healthy was by doing the IMPOSSIBLE, the UNSPEAKABLE for a caregiver by heart: put myself first! ❤️ It was very strange. Yes, I felt guilty the entire time. But it didn’t take long before my energy began to return and I was back to putting myself in a more appropriate position further down on the list of priorities. 😉

Here is what I did:

Experimental Treatment

1. Told my husband and everyone else that I was “out of commission.”

I stopped doing everything. Anything that took too much energy and made me tired afterward I just didn’t do. Some moments that meant not cleaning the dishes, other moments that meant not getting out of the bed. And the world didn’t end. 

The apartment was a mess, but it’s okay no one came over because I was sick 👍🏼😷 I think I cooked a few easy meals that didn’t require much, like boiling pasta or required even no cooking at all, like sandwiches. My husband cooked and cleaned when he just couldn’t take the mess anymore.  

2. Slept as much as I possibly could. And I slept alone! I slept away from baby girl and my husband in the room with the most sunlight and cracked the windows for fresh air. This eliminated waking up throughout the night every time somebody moved. I got full nights of sleep with absolutely no interruptions. I do not think I have had a completely uninterrupted nights sleep since my daughter was born. 

3. I finally ate. I had soups and sweets for calories (energy) and endorphins.* I drank lots of water as well.

4. Watched a funny movie or two in bed with my husband. Again for the endorphins.*

5. Took a few other precautions to keep germs from spreading like changing toothbrushes, disinfecting, changing bedding, etc.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

*Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that give you good feelings. They are released when doing things like exercising, laughing, etc and literally make you feel better.

“Social Laughter Releases Endorphins in the Brain”

Some research suggests endorphins have even greater healing powers… 

Endorphins and Cancer

Focusing on endorphin production may be something serious to consider. Whether or not endorphins help you get better faster, we do know they make you feel better. Thus, helping the time pass faster until you are feeling better again.

Results

Guess what? I started physically feeling better after the first day of doing nothing! I spent about three full days of doing nothing in total and the house didn’t burn down. My experience shows that rest is a crucial factor in getting healthy.

Prescription Rx

Rx: Nothing. Don’t do anything. 

Doing nothing may not be an option for everyone, but doing minimal is. Rest is too often overlooked and underrated. 

Winter is a new stay-at-home Mom and USF Alumni! While Tampa is considered home, her little family lives abroad several months out of the year thanks to her husband’s career. This on-the-go lifestyle has made living mindfully her number #1 priority. While taking advantage of this opportunity to travel as a family, Winter’s goal is to be financially independent. She loves writing and she loves all things active, all things outdoors, and all things health & fitness. Winter holds a BA in Exercise Science from the University of South Florida. Follow her and watch for her new ventures @AbroadIsLife on Instagram and Twitter.