Three things kids do when they are ill (that we could learn from)

When I became a mum and returned to work for the first three months I spent so much time off looking after ill kids who are germ spreading machines…or being ill myself having caught the germs from them! I’m a veteran mum now and the lurgy is doing the rounds at school right now so these are things I’ve observed when the kids aren’t feeling well that we could all learn from.

Three things kids do when they are ill

  1. They rest. They sleep more and they shy away from social interactions. Good job too as illness and tiredness often bring out the grumps. I know my daughter is really ill if she just wants to sleep or cuddle up on the sofa. When they regain some energy they do what they can. Sometimes we attend playgroup or go to the park (if whatever it is isn’t contagious!) just to do something different. Ultimately though, kids slow down when they’re not feeling well.
  2. They listen to their body and nourish it with the food it needs. I notice my kids eat more fruit and comfort food like mashed potatoes…if they have an appetite at all. They drink more water too. Our bodies know what they need if we only tune into them.
  3. They let someone else take care of them. In my experience (both as a child and as a mum) a child who’s not well wants their primary caregiver or if not, someone they love and trust to care for them. To understand how they’re feeling, to make them feel safe, to know what makes them feel better. 

What do you when you feel ill? 

My point is that kids get ill, they instinctively rest and recuperate and they bounce back stronger than before. how many of us do the following when we’re feeling unwell? 

  • Push through it. You can’t let being unwell stop you right?! 
  • Grab some medicine and dose yourself up so that you can get on with life
  • Go into work so that no-one thinks you’re faking it
  • Eat junk food because it’s easier than making something
  • Push everyone away, saying “I’m fine, really”. 

We literally do the opposite of what a child would do and then we wonder why we’re ill for weeks and/or exhausted. 

We don’t have to be strong all the time

I genuinely think it comes down to feeling like we have to take on all of the responsibility. Many of us consider ourselves to be caring, the one who has to keep it together all the time. We are the ones that everyone else relies on. Am I right? So many of us say outright that we are terrible patients. I know I do! But allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, to rest, to be cared for is revolutionary. It feels so good and we get better sooner. It’s also a gift, to care for ourselves and to let others care for us. Here are some things you don’t need to do if you aren’t feeling up to it: 

  1. clean the house – honestly, it will get messy again (almost instantaneously if you have children/pets) and it can wait til you’re feeling well. Better still, ask for help! 
  2. trek to the shops – instead, ask a friend to go and pick up the essentials or order online. Better still, ask someone to cook something nourishing for you
  3. go to work/playgroups – stay at home with a warm drink, a duvet and the remote control or a book. Sleep as you need. 

If you get a moment, as you feel better, take some time to think about balance. How is your life currently balanced? Does that need to be addressed? If so and you don’t know where to start, give me a call.