With all of the focus on COVID-19 and everyone trying to remain healthy, I wanted to update this post and keep it relevant. Normally, this is popular around the time school starts, but I think it’s relevant now and for the long haul. Stay healthy, dear friends!
It’s getting closer to school starting and you know what that means…sharing lots of germs with our friends. This also means our kids are out of school because they’re sick, mom’s up late with them, and the family might miss fun activities. I know I shouldn’t be so pessimistic about that part of school starting, but it’s a real and genuine concern I have. There once was an entire year that not a week went by and there wasn’t someone who was sick. We had to do something about it. So we took charge and we decided that we needed to figure out how to keep our family healthy…for as long as possible.
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Becoming Resilient To My Anxiety
I’ve become very resilient to the emotions that flood my mind when my kids are sick. It’s taken years to get here! But, I wanted to talk about what used to happen in my mind when we had sick kids. I wonder if I’m the only one who felt this way?
It all started when our oldest son was about 4 months old. We had given him some formula that his little body did NOT like. As first-time parents, we had no idea that you couldn’t just give your children any kind of formula. I was exclusively breastfeeding and I didn’t have extra breast milk for him when I went back to work. Anyway, he was projectile vomiting while daddy was watching him. Daddy freaked out a bit and called me at work. He knew I would get worked up about it, so I left work and we took him to the hospital. The nurses and doctors basically told us we were overreacting and we were sent home. Looking back, of course, we were.
Four Thoughts That Were Causing Me Anxiety
I was explaining it once to my therapist and I asked him if he could help me understand why I get so worked up with sick kids. He couldn’t give me the answer, he only asked me to talk through what my thoughts are when it happened. Talking it out, I figured out that it’s because of four main things. 1, I can’t control what’s happening to them. 2, I’ve let them down as a mother. 3, I didn’t protect them from getting sick. And, 4, What if they die?! Oh. My. Goodness. What an awful thought! It’s not an unrealistic thought…it just shouldn’t be a thought.
I would spend hours entertaining the idea in my mind the worst-case scenario. How bad they could get. What steps do I need to take when they get really bad? At what point do I take them to the hospital? What would I ever do if I lost them? I would be devastated! My husband would have to constantly tell me that the kids were going to be fine. I would separate myself from their tender state so I could go have a good cry because I was so worried about them. I would sob and tell my husband that I wish I didn’t worry about them so much! This is crazy!
How We Keep Our Family Healthy
After so many times of the kids getting sick when we wanted to play as a family, I decided that we needed to find a way to keep the kids healthy. Last year, we spent the entire summer sick. It was awful! Our solution has been a number of things, and it certainly helps my anxiety. Maybe I’m feeding that need to have control…maybe. That’s beside the point. Because we have been able to enjoy each other more and spend more time outside of our house. If we do get sick, we get over it very quickly.
1. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Packed with Vitamin C
My kids don’t like many vegetables. But, I still make them have some for dinner. Whether I need to sneak them in the casserole or it’s an obvious vegetable side dish. They don’t have a problem with the fruit, that’s easy to incorporate. Kids need fresh fruits and vegetables in their daily diet to fight off any illnesses that come knocking on our door.
2. Reduce or Completely Eliminate Highly Processed Foods
There’s no doubt in my mind that highly processed foods have an effect on my children’s immune system. It’s not entirely possible to eliminate the processed foods in our family’s diet, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Check out this article and research done on processed foods and the effect it has on the immune system.
3. Daily Exercise
I found this article showing research done on how exercise increases immune system response. I’m a firm believer in making sure you get some daily exercise to increase immunity. It’s just as simple as that. I make my kids do at least 20-30 minutes of activity a day.
4. Daily Multivitamin
Even though we eat healthily, I still feel like the kids may be missing components of the nutrients they need in their diet. Just filling in the gaps.
5. Daily Vitamin C
Fresh fruits and vegetables with vitamin C, multivitamin AND vitamin C? Overkill? Well, it works for us. I’m not rocking the boat because it’s been working for almost a year.
6. Daily Probiotic
There’s evidence linked to the benefits of probiotics and how it affects our immune system. If nothing else works, we’re certainly convinced that the probiotic has been one of the best solutions to many of our illnesses. We personally swear by these UP4 kids cubes! They’re just little chewable cubes. Not gummy, almost like white chocolate. The kids never complain about eating them and I really do believe they have helped their bodies fight off illness and keep them healthy.
7. Wash Your Hands
I can’t stress this one enough. Teach your children while they’re young to wash their hands before they eat a meal, after they come inside from playing outside, after they use the restroom, and before they help prepare a meal. Teach them good hand hygiene now and the knowledge will stay with them for a long time. It takes a lot of reminders, but it’s worth it! And, remember these things yourself as well. Kids learn a lot from watching their parents and if they see you washing your hands a lot, they will too.
I’ve learned over the years as a mom four things: I can’t control what happens to my children; I am the best mother for my children; I can’t protect my children from everything; my children are not going to die from a cold. The more I tell myself these things and practice training my brain to say them out loud, the more positive I can be with them.
Sometimes getting sick is scary. Especially, when your children hear someone tell them that people around the world are dying from the flu or COVID-19. They need you to be positive and brave for them! Arm yourself and your family with the right tools: fresh fruits and veggies; less processed food; exercise; multivitamins; vitamin c; probiotics. With these things, you and your children are on the right path to feeling better…physically and emotionally.