Self Care While Your Kids Are Sick (or during other unexpectedly hard weeks)

On Sunday evening, we were having a lovely meal and game night with one of our favorite families. They had invited us to come over a couple of times over the past month, but it hadn’t worked out for various reasons. I was so happy that we were finally having this fun evening together, when my 5-year old walked up to me and whispered, “My tummy hurts. I think I might throw up.” Of course, we made it only halfway to the bathroom before his dinner came up all over the shiny hardwood floors (so very happy it wasn’t carpet, though!).

That was how my week started. The night that followed was a long night, with hourly calls for help from my little one. He went back to school on Wednesday, but by then my daughter had joined in on the fun. She had a much lighter case, but she stayed home from school that day.

I have been reflecting on self care a lot lately, so my question this week was: what does self care look like on a week like this?

Here are a few thoughts…

Welcome the Gifts of These Moments

When our regular routine gets disrupted by illness or other unexpected needs, our whole focus changes. We have to adjust our plans. The to do list we already made gets scratched out, and a whole new list of more urgent to-dos replace it. We cannot go through our day on autopilot, we are forced to “wake up,” to be present, and to notice our surroundings.

These times are filled with frustrations, disappointments, and plenty of things to complain about. We are often left exhausted by less sleep and stressed by what we have to cancel or left undone. But, if we shift our focus, we can also find beautiful gifts and simple joys that may get lost in the hustle and bustle of regular life.

For me, it is a matter of shifting into a mindset of welcoming and being present with what comes. I cannot simply do what I always do, I have to notice more, listen more, and usually pray more. Making the shift into welcoming helps me to feel happy to be one there caring for my sick child instead of feeling mad about the extra work or fearful about what else may happen.

I can let go of my other plans more easily and welcome a quiet moment holding my child, reading stories together, or playing together – all things I would not have had much time for on a regular day. This is really a more feminine – receptive – mindset, and I find it fits me well. Somehow, meaning and connection flourish more easily for me in this mode than in a task-oriented one. There are unexpected gifts and beauty, if I’ll have the eyes to see them.

Prioritize Sleep

Sleep is a baseline need for all of us, and we must prioritize it even more on the hard weeks. Again, this may require canceling plans or letting the house devolve into messiness or even the dreaded “asking for help.” Trust me, sleep is worth it.

Remember the saying for new mommas: “Sleep when the baby sleeps”? The same goes for a week like this – take your opportunities for sleep and rest during hard days and weeks – you’ll have time for your to do list later.

Getting sleep means a greater capacity to be relational, it means increased immunity, and it means a better ability to handle stress. You need this right now (more than you need order and a clean house – and I know you need those, too!). At the very least, forego Netflix, turn off your phone, and get to bed at a decent hour.

Do your own Immune Support

Care for yourself by nourishing and supporting your body. When we’re caring for other people, taking care of our own health needs can feel like “one more thing.” We can easily crave sweets to satisfy our need for dopamine, which gives us that feeling of reward for our hard work.

I’m not telling you to give up eating (reasonably healthy) sweets every now and then. What I am saying is, don’t give in to the urge to “give up” and eat junk food and stop taking care of yourself on weeks like this. Instead, find ways throughout your day to nourish your body and support your immune system.

Teas are a great way to do this, because they support your immune system and they feel comforting. Take immune support supplements (read more here). Eat simple but nutrient dense foods like soups with bone broth or green smoothies.

Practice Letting Things Go (Stop Listening to the Ideal Woman)

I mention Alison Armstrong and her amazing team at Pax Programs fairly often, because they have given me so much transformational information about myself and my relationships. One thing Alison taught me was about how women usually compare themselves to an “ideal woman.”

When they feel like they come up short (with parenting, housecleaning, career, whatever…), women tend to think of how an “ideal” woman would have done it better. For instance, the ideal woman would have kept up with the dishes, gotten to bed on time, slept on the floor beside her sick child, been more patient with her other children, etc. Your expectations and standards will be different depending on your own values and perspective on life.

If you are like me and constantly compare yourself to your own internal standards of what an ideal woman would do, weeks like this are a great time to practice letting go of that stuff. Just think “Is that something I really need to do, or is that the ideal woman talking?” Allow yourself, to weed through and choose to do what is a priority or what is important for your own self care, and then take a deep breath and let the rest go.

A Good Week?

This is honestly how I got through the past week. There were rough, gross, and trying moments, but there were also some really sweet ones. And, I really did get back to my to do list and achieve a reasonably clean house when the kids went back to school (the ideal woman is always trying to convince me I should do it now or everything will spin out of control). And, I’m a little surprised at myself, but I might even say it was a pretty good week in the end.

I’d love to know: What works for you during days/weeks/months with sick children or unexpected setbacks? Comment below or send me an email at

One Reason I Talk So Much About Self Care

I see self care as the beginning of becoming your own health advocate and of trusting your own body’s ability to heal. I am a believer in natural health approaches, in integrative treatment, and in the ability of the body to heal itself given holistic support. I have seen real change and healing in myself, in my clients, and in my family through these natural means.


But, there is a real shift that is necessary in order to walk that path. That shift has less to do with which practitioners you see and what information you read (though that is part of the picture), and more to do with how you see yourself in that process….

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Celebrate {Come Back to Center Day 5/5}

This is the fifth and final day of our 5 Day Instagram Challenge! If you haven’t already, you can join the challenge by following us on Instagram or by joining the Sweet Water Sisterhood Facebook group.

Today your challenge is to CELEBRATE!

Celebrating reminds us of all that we have to be grateful for. It shifts our brains into a mode of appreciation instead of critically assessing what is wrong with our lives or what we need to work on.

Do This First

Before you decide what to celebrate and how to celebrate it, I want you to take a few minutes to make a list of things you are thankful for. Set a timer for five minutes and see how many things you can write down. 

Once you have taken the time to be thankful, then start thinking of what you could celebrate today and an activity that would add to the joy of what you are thankful for.

What to Celebrate

Here are a few ideas for what you could celebrate today:

  • A half-birthday or small life anniversary (like the anniversary of when you painted your room a new color or when you planted your first garden or when you moved into your home). Look through your calendar and see what you could find – it could even be a 1 month or 1 week anniversary of something!
  • Small victories – getting through a busy week or a making a deadline, a child sleeping through the night in his own bed, a month without being sick, completing this week’s challenges – anything that feels like a success to you!
  • The good things in life: your family, a dear friend, your home, your job that you love, sunny weather, flowers blooming, the weekend, etc.
  • There are lots of things to celebrate when we take the time to notice them. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

How to Celebrate

Here are a few ideas of how to celebrate:

  • Do something you love to do, like going to a beautiful outdoor location, wearing your favorite outfit, or listening to music that makes you smile.
  • Eat foods that feel like a treat but that you won’t feel guilty about – fresh fruit you don’t usually buy, a homemade dessert, dinner at your favorite restaurant, chocolate, tea – something that feels a bit extravagant and celebratory!
  • Express yourself! Sing, dance, talk about what you are celebrating with other people or celebrate with friends/family.
  • Add a little beauty. Buy or pick some flowers to put on the table, pull out your nice plates for dinner, or add some simple decorations to your celebration.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t stress yourself out trying to do something special. Sometimes the simplest things can feel the most nourishing to our hearts. This way, it feels like a treat and not like a chore.

Celebrations are part of every culture. They help us step out of the grind of everyday life, notice the goodness around us, and receive at a deeper levels the gifts God has for us. 

Don’t miss this chance to celebrate!

And, I’d love to hear about it once you’ve done it – post a photo or comment below about how you are celebrating today. 

Are you ready to join us?

Simply follow Sweet Water Offering on Instagram or request to be added to the Sweet Water Sisterhood group on Facebook to get your daily challenges.

Need More Support?

If you’re interested in more support for Holistic Mental Health, check out this group coming up in March…A Little Space: From Sad and Stressed Out to Centered and Soulful.

Connect {Come Back to Center Day 3/5}

This is the third day of our 5 Day Instagram Challenge! If you haven’t already, you can join the challenge by following us on Instagram or by joining the Sweet Water Sisterhood Facebook group.

Today your challenge is to CONNECT with some one you love who encourages, comforts, or energizes you. 

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Are You a Coffee Drinker?

by Katie Palmer, Certified Herbalist and FDN-P

Do you find yourself stumbling around, glaring at everyone, and murmuring words of frustration at the sun until you’ve had your first cup of coffee? Are you the type of person that constantly repeats the phrase, “Sorry, I haven’t had my coffee yet”? If so, this may be a sign of adrenal dysfunction.

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Foundations for Mental Health without Medication: What You Eat for Breakfast Matters


Last week, we talked about how a healthy circadian rhythm is key to mental and emotional well-being. I gave you several strategies for how to create a morning ritual that will set your wake-up time and result in benefits like increased energy, better digestion, improved mental clarity, and reduced mood swings throughout the day.

There is one morning practice that I left off of the list on purpose.

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