With the colder nights drawing in and surgeries sending out invitations for flu jabs naturally our thoughts turn to ill health, colds and flu. This month is also Breat Cancer Awareness month and although there is a lot of focus on treatment for women (which is brilliant), not many people consider the recovery process.

Whether it’s the flu or recovery from something a lot more serious, an operation or chemotherapy, mums still feel that guilt that they aren’t performing at their best for their children. It’s perfectly natural, as mums we’re the strong ones, we’re the protectors and we always put our children first, so in times of illness we want to shield them from this part of us, to carry on as normal. Unfortunately, this isn’t healthy for us or for the children.

Recovery from any illness is often the most important part of the journey. You need to rest, you need to recuperate and you need as little stress as possible. Now this is easily said, as when you have children it can seem impossible, so we’ve put together some ideas on how you can put yourself first while pleasing your children too.

I remember, over 14 years ago now when my son was born, my first child. He didn’t sleep, not even daytime naps and the whole process was a complete shock to the system. I loved him with all my heart but it took a bit of getting used to, the sleep deprivation, the colic, the sore breasts, the stitched perineum and the rest. I was also a single mum. The father disappeared when I was 5 months pregnant, not ready to be a dad. In full health I was just hanging on, just coping but then I thought, what if I get the flu?

I was 21. I’d had teenage college years where if I felt a little under the weather I’d curl up with a Pot Noodle, switch on T4 and wave goodbye to the world for a few days. I’d nap when I needed to, take long luxurious baths, and pig out on chocolate or talk for hours on the phone to friends. I actually enjoyed working my way through box sets and dosing myself up with over counter remedies but there was no chance of that now.

I asked my aunt, “what happens when I’m ill.” Her response, “you get on with it like every other mum does.” It was a shock but 14 years later I’ve never managed one of those duvet days, not once. I wouldn’t change a single thing, but I do think after operations and during illnesses, women need to be given a little slack and need rest more than anyone as once back on track, the daily demands are exhausting enough!

I have a big operation coming up in December that will see me with a whole month off so I’ve been researching ways I can still play with the kids. I’ve found some great ideas along with some excellent tonics and vitamins that will really help with recovery after an operation.

Step 1 – Washable Duvet

If you are going to have a duvet day be prepared for sharing your sick bed with children. They will also want to bring snacks and drinks! A washable quilt is a must to stop you stressing about the occasional spills! We recommend this one from the fine bedding company. It’s light, it’s airy, perfect if your temperature is fluctuating and can be washed and dried in a jiffy.

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Step 2 – Easy Activities

You can’t stop being a mum because you’re ill, in fact you could actually use this time for bonding more with the little ones. (Unless of course you’re very very ill and even opening your eyes is an effort). My own children love it if I’m feeling under the weather as they say I stay still in one place long enough for them to play with me. Stock up on books for all ages (let the children read to you if your head is fuzzy – see below, Percy can’t read but she insists on reading me a bedtime story when I’m not well). Stock up on DVDs, there are actually great ones that are for all the family- or you could give your children an insight into your childhood with blasts from the past like ET, The Goonies, Ferris Beuller’s Day Out, Dirty Dancing, The Gremlins, Annie (of course, choosing age appropriate films).

You can also give in to technology. We’re all so worried about the amount of time our children spend on their kindles, DS’s, phones and Playstations that  we monitor their usage like crazy. If you’re ill, give yourself a break and give the kids a treat with a little extra tech time. You could even join in and learn how to play gems like Minecraft while you have time – see exactly what your child gets up to online!

Jigsaws, crafts and arts are also great ways to spend quiet time together.

Step 3 – A Little Pampering

What better way to relax than to use this time for a little pampering. From deeply delicious aroma filled baths to a spot of foot care and a few masks, now is the time to really indulge. If you have daughters, you can introduce them to the joys of pampering. Teach them the importance of a good skincare regime and let them soak their feet in pure essential oils beside you. Dr Bronner does a great range of soaps that include antiseptics such as eucalyptus so they make you feel as though you’re receiving a little first aid too. HoMedics meanwhile are the masters of pampering electricals, especially the Elle McPherson range and you’ll find everything from massage chairs (which really work) to heel scrubbers and foot-spas, usually with a good discount.

The Magnesium footbath is also ideal as it eliminates that restless feeling, relaxing joints while improving your mood. Justin, one of our male reviewers uses magnesium to help combat restless leg syndrome and found this was the ultimate treat- it even comes with a blow up footbath!

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Step 4 – Some Light Reading

Being poorly is the perfect time to catch up on some light reading. Whether you’re reading with the children or looking for motivational inspiration there are some wonderful books still out there. Put the kindle away and enjoy the feel of a freah paperback in your hands once more. There’s nothing quite like that new book smell. If reading with the children Hallmark have some great interactive books now, that pick up on your child’s voice and ask customised questions. There’s also a magazine that is geared towards parents and children called Phoenix, while First News is a great paper for young ones who want to know more about the world – it’s great for adults too.

Step 5- Get Some Sunshine

When you’re under the weather it’s not always easy to get some sunshine. That’s why the Lumie Light Therapy is ideal. See our full review below:

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Step 6 – Nutrition and Vitamins

There are so many vitamins and tonics out there now that it is hard to decide which ones to take. Usually when recovering from an operation or a virus, vitamin C and iron make sense. Spatone do an apple flavoured iron supplement that is easy to digest while our Olympic Blogger Nicki Bartlett will tell you about the wonders of Nordic Oil. Beauty In also offer a great range of drinks and teas that renew collagen while helping you fight disease (colds, flu and viruses). They can be drank every day whether you’re under the weather or not as they support a healthy immune system.

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