Cold and Flu Season Dread

I don’t know if panic is exactly the right word…okay, panic is the right word… I have to be honest, I’ve really, really been struggling with the thought of being stuck in our house for another Cold and Flu season.  Eight to nine months of only leaving the house for doctor/therapy appointments and for dropping off and picking up Kellen for school.  The closer it gets; the more the weather changes and the more I see parents posting on Facebook about their kids being sick, the larger the pit in my stomach grows.  Dread, panic, MOODY and anxiety all come to mind.  Seriously, as I type this, tears run down my face.  I’ve done this cold and flu season winter thing before and let me tell you, the very nicest word I can come up for it is, it SUCKS!

First of all, I really don’t like winter anyway.  I live in Minnesota.  I shouldn’t have to say more than “I live in Minnesota” to explain my disdain for winter, but I’m on a rant, so I will.  Only my husband, who thinks it is warm in Minneapolis because he grew up in Northern Minnesota, would like Minnesota winters.  In December, the sun doesn’t come up until 8:00 AM and it sets at 4:30 PM and then, in January we typically have, at least, a two-week stretch of it never getting above 10 degrees…including windchills, never above 0 and that lovely frigidness ebbs and flows all the way through February.  For clarification, those temps are Fahrenheit, not Celsius – this place is COLD and DREARY and really, really COLD.  There is only one way to make it through a Minnesota winter and that’s to find the cutest ankle length down jacket, gloves, scarves and boots you can possibly find and just keep going.  You can’t let the cold stop you.  18″ of snow?  Keep driving!  You have to suck it up, kick the cold weather in the face and just keep going out in it until one day, hopefully before May, you can get a pedi and trade those boots for some strappy sandals.

See, that’s the problem.  Instead of kicking that weather in the face and still living my life, when you’re home on cold and flu isolation, there’s not much to kick.  Home, pick up Kellen from school, therapy and doctors appointments.  That’s it.  It’s sitting in the house, looking out at the dreary weather and trying to be happy that you’re at home and not in the hospital, or worse.  Honestly, that’s the only thing that got me through last winter – everyday I reminded myself how lucky I was to be stuck in this house and then Spring came and we spent almost all of it in the hospital and then I still reminded myself…”you have to do this, suck it up, it could be worse”.

It sucked.  It sucked really, really bad.  And now, with only three to four months between we’re heading back in for the next round.

Last year, I think the real reason I kept my sanity is we were still so deep into the battle of Owen’s health, that I couldn’t focus on me and how I was feeling.  This year, I hope, and will plan, to not have that be my only distraction.  This year, I’m choosing to be really proactive about managing my mental state – because, quite frankly, I fear where I would be in nine months, if I don’t.

  • I will be seeing a counselor.  That’s not really the type of thing that I would share with the internet world but, I see so many preemie mom’s asking if the anxiety they are feeling is normal and, while I think it is normal, I also think it shouldn’t be ignored – waiting for it to go away.  I can’t be my kids’ best mom if I’m at my wits end and honestly, some days, I’m at my wits end.
  • I will be working out again.  I am equally dreading and cheering for this one.  Due to several weeks of hemorrhaging early in my pregnancy with Owen, it was recommended that I not work out during my pregnancy and then after he was born, I could never choose exercise over the hospital and then…the excuses kept coming. It’s been nearly two years.  I cannot wait for the first post run high – I will be getting it tonight (Thursday)!  Not only will I be working out, but I’m doing it at the gym..as in, not in my home…as in, going somewhere that doctors do not work.  Two nights during the week, Kyle will put the boys to bed so I can get out.  I will also go once on the weekends.  Hopefully, these three gym workouts will also give me the ambition to pull out one of many, many yoga DVDs and do those during a couple of Owen’s nap times.  Owen works out daily, I can surely get in 5 workouts a week, right?
  • I’ve armored myself with a cold and flu season bucket list.  I did this for a few reasons.  First, I wanted to remind myself that there are plenty of things I could be doing instead of feeling sorry for myself.  Second, I wanted to give myself goals.  I’m highly motivated by self placed goals and so there is no better way to make sure that I don’t just “make it through” this cold and flu season.  I want to do it Minnesota Winter style and kick it in the face – yes-you-suck-but-you’re-not-going-to-stop-me-from-doing-something-with-myself style.  Third, my bucket list is focused on things that will make me and, for most of the items, others, feel good.  Many of them are things to do with the kids, others are for people who are going through their own rough time.  I’m not the only person who is having a hard time.  This year, I don’t want to get by with just acknowledging “it could be worse”.  Instead, I want to focus on doing small things for those that I can help.  Finally, by sharing a bucket list with you all, I’m making myself accountable to actually doing the items.

So there you have it.  I’m terrified and anxious about what’s to come, but being scared doesn’t mean I’m planning to let it beat me. It means I’m preparing with everything that I have so that I can kick it in the face.

I’d love to hear how others plan to cope with their cold and flu season and if you’re making a bucket list, what’s on it?

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster