I’m going to be honest – the last month has been stinky. I’ve been dealing with a virus along with migraines twenty out of the last twenty five days, including one episode that lasted for over 48 hours. I bet you’ve had times in your life when illness (yours or someone close to you) takes all your energy, leaving nothing for even the most basic routines. I’m not even dealing with anything series or life-threatening, but it still saps all my resources. I can only imagine that when the diagnosis is more serious and severe, it would all take an even bigger toll.
It’s discouraging and disheartening. The whole time the Eat at Home Challenge was going on, I was struggling to get dinner for my family or some days, to even make it to the table myself. My plans of sharing our meals on Instagram and creating new recipes fell by the wayside. Even the nights I did make dinner, I didn’t find enough energy to take photos.
It left me feeling like a bit of a hypocrite as I encouraged others to make meal plans and eat at home, while we were making do with quick runs to the grocery and more restaurant trips than normal.
But it also made me realize that there are seasons in life when focusing on meal planning and cooking is not the right timing. That’s the season I found myself in and maybe that’s where you are (or have been) too.
Some seasons call for survival mode.
Here are some things that have gotten my family through this (hopefully) temporary situation. Maybe some of these ideas will help you too.
1. Be kind with yourself.
It’s okay to cut things out of the calendar, pare down the housework to bare minimum, and have the easiest dinners ever. This season of illness and recovery are temporary. There will be a season of thriving later on when you can get things back the way you like them.
2. Fall back to your easiest meals.
If you find something you or a family member can easily make and that is tolerated on a sick stomach, it’s okay to have it regularly. There’s no prize for variety in this season.
3. Don’t worry about big grocery trips.
I usually shop once a week and try to keep extra trips to a minimum. During the last month though, we’ve made more grocery stops than I can count. It just wasn’t possible to think through what we might need or want more than a couple days out.
4. When you start to feel better…
~ Make a plan for simple meals. The slow cooker is your friend, as it can be loaded in the morning when energy is higher.
~ Set backs happen. Try not to get discouraged as you recover. Focus on the progress you’re making. If you need to grab food from a restaurant one night, it’s okay.
~ As your energy returns, try making something simple to stock the freezer. I made a double batch of meatballs the other day and put half in the freezer. It made me feel like I’d accomplished something and we have something easy and homemade for later. You can do the same by doubling a favorite casserole or soup recipe.
I’d like to know what has worked for you as you pull back together after a “survival mode” time.