Coping with family life when you're temporarily unwell or incapacitated...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Posted by Amanda at Little Foodies

Like most people I find it hard accepting help from others. Even under normal circumstances if somebody does me a favour I feel as though I'm indebted to them for far more than the favour they have done for me. I have a back injury which has recently flared up again and I can't be, or do all things for all people at the moment. After speaking with friends and family (that should read after a stern talking to from friends and family), I'm learning that it's okay to accept help and that people giving you sympathy isn't something to be ashamed of. I hope that all of our readers are healthy and happy and that everybody they know is healthy and happy. Sadly, that's not how life works so here are some thoughts on how to cope when you are temporarily unwell or incapacitated. ... And, if you're the kind friend or relative then thank you on behalf of all those people you help...

1.First and foremost swallow your pride. Don't feel that you have to be Superwoman.

2.Gratefully accept if someone turns up and offers some help with the housework, even something simple like unloading the dishwasher. Accepting, will give you just that little bit of extra time where you can work on getting better.

3.If someone you trust offers to take the children off your hands for a few hours and they're going to have a good time. Accept! The children get to have some fun, you have some down time, making everything seem more possible.

4.If someone offers to take some ironing away, accept. I still haven't been able to accept this yet and I now have a few mountains of ironing and of course I'm wishing that I'd swallowed my pride and accepted. I will end up sending it to a company and will pay a fortune for the privilege.

5.Actually ASK for help. Most people will be happy that you've asked them. People like to feel needed and so long as you're not doing it all the time, being a total zap on their time and energy, and of course you remember please and thank you, I'm quite sure they will be happy to help.

6.Don't feel guilty if your partner is having to do a lot more at home than usual. You would do the same for them. At least I'm assuming you'd do the same for them. ;)

7.Don't panic if meals aren't up to your usual standards. Take Outs/Take Aways and the odd pre-packaged meal shouldn't harm anybody.

8.Indulge yourself. Even if it's something small like having a hot chocolate with cream on the top or ordering a book you've wanted for ages. Just something to send the message home that you are important and worth a little indulgence.

9.Laugh, even if it hurts! Believe me gentle laughter has helped me through some difficult days. It is proven that laughter releases natural feel good chemicals into your blood stream.

10.If you feel like crying. Have a good cry but then pick yourself up afterwards. You could do this by talking to people who you know are going to lift your spirits. Do this over choosing to call someone who you know could wallow in self pity with you. Much better to choose the person who you know is going to make you feel good and that everything is going to be okay. This isn't being selective. This doesn't make the person who will wallow in self pity with you a bad friend, just not the right person for your need at that time.

11.Most importantly remember to be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up for your current situation. Things happen, accept it and it will help you to move forward.

Right, now I'm off to order myself some indulgent on-line shopping while I sip some cream topped hot chocolate! If you could just pop round and do the ironing I'll be totally sorted!

If you have any other ideas then please do leave a comment. The more people speaking the better..

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This Post was written by Amanda from Little Foodies


I'll add this one, from my own experience -- remember that people who love you need to feel useful. When you let people help you through your illness, you are really being kind to them, too!

February 5, 2008 at 4:36:00 AM GMT+1  

Ah yes, it's so hard to let go. I really can't stand accepting help, but when you're down, you're down...and saying yes to help is about all you can do :)

February 5, 2008 at 2:23:00 PM GMT+1  

I hope you feel better soon, back aches are really incapacitating. Although I'd take some in exchange for getting rid of some ironing ;) - go for it.

What I find the hardest part is to actually _accept_ I am handicapped when I am sick, instead I think along the lines of "could be worse, don't be a sissy, don't whine, it ain't that bad, stop complaining..."

February 5, 2008 at 3:41:00 PM GMT+1  

Hi Lydia, you're right. I know I always feel better if I've done something practical or thoughtful when people I love are sick.

Hi CC, agreed.

Hi Petra, exactly, I've done that too. Why do we do that I wonder? Why can't we just accept when we're not right and give ourselves the time to heal that we need. Instead of always feeling that we have to soldier on.

Thank you for your comments.

February 5, 2008 at 5:07:00 PM GMT+1  

I think accepting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If we don't speak up we aren't helping anyone. Thanks for your post.

Meg Wolff said...
February 5, 2008 at 6:19:00 PM GMT+1  

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