Sanity Tips for Surviving Grey, Cloudy Days

The grey clouds have hung low over Chateau 101 these past few weeks, both literally and figuratively. Winter has brought with it dark skies, rain and bugs…of the germy kind! AJ has copped the worst of it – being that it is her first real Winter out in the world  – she has been sick with awful head colds on and off for a good part of the last two months. And I have spent a week and a half of the past two weeks unwell with an shocking cold as well which is not surprising given how worn out I feel following too many nights of unrest spent getting up and down to a sickly bub.

Fatigue and illness can make even the brightest of days feel cloudy and as parents of young children it is often not as simple as calling the office to let them know you’re taking a sick day before turning off the phone and climbing back into bed. Instead we need to find ways to keep the home fires burning as harmoniously as possible. We’ve truly struggled over the last few weeks but these are some of the things that have helped me to stay (somewhat) sane;

1. Regular family routines keep things ticking over. There have been times as a stay at home mum when the repetitiveness of daily routines with little ones has threatened to drive me crazy but when I am feeling poorly I find that the simple morning, mealtime and evening routines we keep are really very helpful. I can direct Immy to her routine cards to keep her moving as she gets ready for school and even AJ at fifteen months has a good understanding of what comes next at each of these times.

2. Simple traditions bring the family together. When one (or more) parent is feeling unwell, tempers can become more quickly frayed and family harmony easily fractured. While I am so thankful to Dad 101 for a weekend-day sleep in when I was unwell, I am also grateful for the simple traditions that bring us all together. Our Sunday morning pancake cook up is a great opportunity for us to touch base with each other, share a laugh and regroup before the working week begins again. Plus who doesn’t feel better after a pancake or two? I am pretty sure they contain magical healing properties.

3. Eat simply. You know I love my slow cooker, right? I can throw some meat, vegetables, stock and herbs into the pot in the morning and it will work its magic so that dinner is still on the table at (about) 5.30pm. Alternatively, we stick to simple, kid friendly foods for dinner – scrambled eggs or baked beans and toast, and mac n cheese are winners in our house.

4. Get outdoors when you can. Rug up and find a spot to sit in the sun with a cup of tea while the children play nearby – the fresh air and sunshine are guaranteed to lift your spirits.

5. Promote quieter play options. Find somewhere comfy to sit and read a story, do a puzzle, build with blocks or play a board game with the kids. Or choose table based activities that you know your children enjoy and that sustain their interest and concentration. In our house playdough, Lego and creating pictures using simple art materials like oil pastels, felt tipped markers and block watercolours all work a treat with the five year old. You’ll find more ideas for quiet play in this post here and I love these ideas at Moving Smart for keeping little ones occupied when you’re too tired to play.

6. Lower your expectations, especially when it comes to the housework. You can only do so much and you need to rest so do the bare basics and leave the rest for another day.

I would love to hear your suggestions. How do you keep the family sane when you are overtired or unwell?

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  1. Can you imagine how the homeschool Mums deal when they can never send their kids off to school on days like that? And even though it is Summer here in NY it has been raining all day and its not easy keeping a bunch of little campers cooped up inside all day as well.

  2. Rainy days are perfect for cooking with children. When you love to cook yourself it’s even more fun to do it with children. They like it, and you might get some great new ideas. For me anyway this is true.

  3. Sorry to hear about the nasty colds. We seemed to have them for the entire first term this year, but have escaped a *little* more cleanly so far this winter (if you don’t count chicken pox and sprained ankles anyway).

    It is the worst when you are sick at the same time as having to get up to sick little ones – and sort of inevitable when you end up so tired.

    I too find the quiet play activities help, playdough and drawing especially. My eldest and increasingly my middle child (11 & 7 respectively) can spend a lot of time drawing and colouring complex patterns like decorative mandalas. Of course, Mr 11 can now spend a lot of time reading too. It’s keeping Ms 3 happy that’s harder, but sometimes she will be content with me lying on the couch or the floor while she pretends to put me to bed or some other pleasant dream! I have to admit though, I do resort to the TV when I am sick too, or when they are. I think it is the television’s one excuse for existence.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! Your tips are very good and really helpful. Times like these really takes a toll on me. Good thing I came across your post! :)

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