It's still hot here in the eastern United States, but it seems everyone we know has been sick at least once already this season. Even my daughter and I have caught two colds in the last month! I was hoping our running noses weren't indicators of how bad the coming sick season will be... but then I turned on the television to find this: Health officials are warning against a severe flu season. Oh, great!
I've also heard experts say hand sanitizer isn't cutting it against flu germs anymore. They're saying that good, old-fashioned hand washing is what will save you instead. That's all fine and good— but for this mama who had a particularly hard winter last year due to our entire family catching RSV and my husband catching the flu in February, let me be clear: I'm probably not leaving the house. At least, not if I can help it!
Last year, I only left our home to go to the pediatrician with our newborn. Some moments were lonely and isolating despite spending time with my husband in the evenings and with other family members on the weekends. I couldn't organize play dates because my friends' children were either sick or safeguarded from the plague, too. I don't blame those moms at all! I thought, Surely next year, when our girl is a year older, I won't be so cautious of germs, and I won't feel so alone. But now that we're here, I can positively say I'll still take every measure to keep us healthy— and that'll likely include staying home, even if I don't like it.
It was tough combating the winter blues when I was stuck indoors all season. On top of learning how to care for a new baby, I focused on hydration and better nutrition, exercised on a stationary bike after I was cleared by my doctor, and tried to rest as much as possible. Take others' advice, and sleep when the baby sleeps! I also turned on a few extra lights so that I wasn't living in the dark.
My favorite coping mechanism— which was new and basically revolutionary for me— was journaling. I started a Gratitude Journal, where I wrote down what I was most thankful for while giving myself zero parameters for completing it. Blank pages meant no guidelines and no guilt if and when I didn't touch it for days or weeks on end. The journal has stayed on my nightstand since its purchase in early February, and I've decided it will remain there until its pages are filled. It's a pick-me-up that lifts me up, no matter what. It will surely help me get through what will most likely be a brutal flu season.