You know how it goes. One minute you’re on top of the world, soaring through your work and your tasks, feeling like nothing can slow you down, and then… you or a family member becomes unexpectedly ill – whether from food poisoning, a nasty cold, or something more serious. This is exactly what happened to me in August 2020 when my husband fractured his foot in four places, requiring surgery. Our life as we knew it changed and I was down a set of helping hands.
In one sense, we are all fortunate these days, to have access to a vast number of resources available for helping us to identify whatever particular ailments we might be facing, and to help us come up with effective solutions for temporary problems. For example, I know gastrostop has been a godsend for addressing digestive issues in a hurry. I make a point to always have a pack of it in the medicine cabinet!
Either way, we all suffer from illness or injury from time to time. As hard as it can be, it’s necessary to do what you can order to hold the household, your business and other commitments together when those moments occur.
Here are some tips that have worked for me when I’ve had to hold things together when either myself, my kids or husband have become unexpectedly ill (or injured).
Make a note of all your important tasks and obligations, even if you can’t deal with them at the moment.
Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop when you become ill or have to care for a sick family member, and, likely, you won’t be able to keep up with all your tasks as you usually would if everything was going well.
Sometimes, it’s just necessary to lower your expectations of yourself and accept that you’re going to be less productive than you usually would be, and less productive than you would like to be. But you mustn’t lose track of important tasks, notes, and obligations that arise during this period, all the same.
So, be sure to make a note of all essential tasks and obligations coming your way, even if you aren’t in a position to deal with them at the moment. Why not consider doing a brain dump using my free brain dump template below. Alternatively, you could use your phone to take voice memos.
Make sure to eat and sleep as well as you can, despite how you feel.
When you are sick, your appetite will very likely not be anywhere near as good as it usually is. This can pose a problem because without filling meals and plenty of nutrients, your recovery will be slow and you’ll have less energy, things you’ll need when you’re battling an illness or when you’re run off your feet trying to look after someone else.
Do your best to eat and sleep as well as you can, despite how you feel. Wholesome food and sleep will give you the best possible chance of getting through the day and healing as quickly and effectively as you can while being less miserable in the meantime.
Sometimes illness can be short; other times it can go on for weeks. Either way, delegation is your friend because, there’s no need to stretch yourself thin, particularly for your mental health’s sake. When I say delegate, I don’t just mean delegating business-related tasks to your virtual assistant; I mean delegating a one-off clean to a cleaner or a basket of ironing to an ironing lady. Delegating can mean trusting tasks to family members and not being afraid to ask for help from your neighbour, friend or parents.
If you’re going to be unavailable, or unable to deal with particular tasks, warn people in advance
It might be that your sudden bout of illness means that you won’t be able to handle particular work tasks that you’ve committed to handling, or that you won’t be able to attend certain meetings, as planned. If this is the case, do what you can to warn anyone else involved in advance. For my digital marketing business, I use an appointment booking program called Calendly. For any appointments that are booked, I can send a reschedule request. You might be able to do something similar.
I know that when myself or any of my family members get sick, I immediately fill with anxiety. I think about all the things I have to do that I won’t be able to and I worry about lost time. Although this is not an exhaustive list of things you can do to make the time with illness or injury easier, these are four of the ones that I focus on the most, and that might work for you.