Every New Year, I make a resolution to practice self-care. I pledge to join a gym, or rather go to the gym, instead of paying for a membership like it’s a charitable donation. I promise to make doctor’s appointments–not when something goes horribly wrong but to get a physical or routine check-up. And I hope to book a spa appointment when I’m not celebrating my birthday or taking a vacation. And every year, I fall short of my expectations. Here we are in November, and I have once again put off medical appointments. I want to change, and one day, I will. But until then, I must find creative ways to take care of myself while taking care of everything else on my to-do list–my daughter and my business.

Woman grocery shopping as self-care

Although my daughter thinks I’m pretty wonderful, I’m not wonder woman. So, I try not to stretch beyond my capacity by combining things on my to-do list. Recently, I ran my errands, bought school snacks and got a flu shot. Despite the extra precaution, I still was hit hard. At first, my daughter came down with a bug. She missed a few days of school and, fortunately, bounced back to take her tests before her fall break.

Woman getting flu shot as self-care

I, on the other hand, was down for the count! I suffered a range of symptoms–from a sore throat and headache to stomach pains and fatigue. On and off for about nine days, I barely got anything done. That’s a hectic time to get sick as a mom–we have turkeys to roast for Thanksgiving Day feasts and Black Friday deals to score for Christmas! At first, I fought the flu and tried to be productive. Then I decided to use the time to practice self-care.

Woman getting flu shot as self-care

Here are some self-care tips in case you, too, get sick this season.

Take a Bubble Bath

I take a quick shower most mornings and throw on yoga pants and a sweatshirt to drive my daughter to school. I work from home, so the morning routine is beyond basic. Lately, I’ve taken time out to create a bath ritual. I set the scene and light a candle or diffuse oils. Lavender is my go-to relaxation scent, but I also like bergamot and eucalyptus. I usually drop a few Himalayan salt rocks into the tub to detox, as well as a lavender bubble bath. If I plan to soak for an extended period, I break out my waterproof pillow, brown sugar body scrub and a face mask. If baths aren’t your thing, take a hot shower. Close the door and breath in the steam.

Read a Book

When I first became a mom, I started a book club during my maternity leave. Once I went back to work, the only books I read were the Bible and illustrated children’s stories. A decade later, I am finally dusting off books and reading a few pages before bedtime. I recently dusted off a romance novel. I also listen to books on Audible. If you are interested in reading, join the Single Mom Defined-Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh book club. If you are more interested in streaming music than books, check out Hoopla, the online music library is free with a CLP library card.

Take a Nature Hike

Explore nature, even if it’s right in your backyard. Fresh air strengthens your immune system. If you’re not up to taking a walk, crack a window. Before I got sick, I walked for an hour or two at a local park. It’s a great way to clear my mind and think about what I need to do for the day. I usually listen to meditations on the Abide and Calm apps while I walk.

Stock up on Meds

Once, when my daughter was a baby, I had to head to the pharmacy in the middle of the night in the middle of winter. That was long before the DoorDash days! Now, I take better care of our family by stocking up on things like ginger ale, Saltine crackers and chicken noodle soup.

Watch a Movie

I rarely watch TV. So one benefit of being sick was catching up on shows. I binged watched series of Netflix and Hulu, without feeling guilty about not being productive.

Hydrate and Humidify

Be sure to drink lots of water, warm tea or brother. I usually drink coffee in the morning, so it was a nice change of pace to sip on a peach-chamomile blend. Hydrating can help reduce mucus in your lungs, and it also soothes a sore throat. I try to stay away from immediately turning to medicine, so tea is a great remedy for me. The air in my house is pretty dry, so I run a humidifier when I’m resting.

Hey mamas! How are you getting in self-care this flu season?