What a Bad Week Taught Me About a Good Week

ingredients of a good week

His little body felt hot beside. A sickly heat that made me feel reluctant to hold him, to touch him, even though I desperately wanted to. I had been awake in the night, listening to his chest rattle interspersed with heavy coughing fits.

Yesterday’s cough rapidly turned into something else overnight.  Come morning, I felt an urgency to get him to the Doctor.  I did my usual morning jobs, hustling the girls to get ready for school, and checking son in between.  When it was time to leave for school, I carried him carefully to the car.  Poor little thing was too sick to walk.

We were at the Doctors a very long time: X-ray; blood tests; an appointment for the following day; a course of antibiotic for a nasty bacterial infection; and an ordered week off school.

It was a Monday, and so began my week.  My son’s health improved each day — many DVDs were watched from a make-shift bed on the sofa; bread was served cut up into tiny-small pieces; sips of water encouraged  — and it was a privilege, no, an honour to look after him.

However, as the week dragged on, I began to feel a weight rest over me.  A heaviness. Come Friday, I felt a touch crazy.  I found myself eating more sugary foods; I wasn’t sleeping well; I felt down; anxious even, for no real reason.  I’m prone to depression and anxiety, so it’s something I’ve learned to manage well over the years…so I can shine without fear.

That week is in the past now, my son is well again and I’m back in the swing of things. However, it was an opportunity to see all the things I place into a given week that make it a good week. Things I do to manage my predisposition to anxiety so I can live in the moments with freedom and joy.   I didn’t really see it like that until now: that the things I’m disciplined about do contribute to the outcome of a given week. As I type this, it seems all too obvious, but it’s easy to know in your head the things you need to do, and it’s different to stop, and pull it apart because you’re actually doing it.

1. Routine

I like randomness, but I do have a skeleton planned out each week so I achieve what I need to. This helps me not to get lost in creativity (which I do love, but it’s one of those things that can engulf your life if not kept in check).

2. Exercise

As I get older, I realise moreover the importance of exercise. I just HAVE to do it.  I enjoy exercise, but I need to prioritise and make time to do it…and then, just do it.  My current schedule allows for 4-6 hours of intense exercise a week.  On the week in question, it wasn’t possible for me to get out and exercise, or go for a run, and I didn’t have my usual motivation of meeting with my Personal Training group, so it the week slipped by.

3. Healthy Food

I adore healthy food.  However, I find when I don’t exercise; I slip each day, a little more, into eating refined foods.  It’s like a slow fade.  For me there’s a definite link between lack of exercise and cravings.  The way I can explain it, it’s like exercise is a reset button for my body, it keep me grounded, so if I do have a blow-out day, it doesn’t spiral.

4. Interaction

I usually get out at school pick-up/drop-off to collect my son from the Prep classroom.  I chat to a few friends; I get out in the sunshine.  The week my son was sick, I arranged to meet my three older children at a certain place, and I didn’t get out of the car at all.

5. Productivity/Planning

I often have meetings planned, errands to do, and other things that get me out and about.  I like being busy.  I enjoy achieving goals.

6. Dressing Up

I didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t get out at school.  I didn’t make an effort with my appearance.  The thing is, I enjoy dressing up most days and putting a bit of make up on.  It’s good to utilise my wardrobe to feel stylish and feminine.

7. Time Alone

I’m an introvert, and so I need time on my own to recharge.  This isn’t always possible with young children, and I struggled with the lack of alone time when my kids were little. So I often used to stay up late (too late) to get that time.  Now all my children are at school, I have more alone time during the day, and I love having the opportunity to work from home.

8. Organisation

Now I have a larger family, with many different people to allocate for, it’s more difficult to stay on top of things, especially when things don’t go to plan, which they often don’t.  When I’m thrown, usually organisation goes out the window with me.  But I’ll continue to strive for organisation, because everyone is much happier here at home when the basic mechanics run smoothly.

Difficult situations, sickness, hard weeks or months: they happen, of course. Sometimes you have to roll with the punches life throws the best you can.  I don’t regret the week looking after with my son for a second! It’s just I realised a good week is made, not found.  Like components of a recipe, there are certain things in a week that make it great. Motivation for me right there. So I’ll keep making, and sharing a zest for life with those around me as I live. And in tougher times, I’ll hang on; knowing better weeks are around the corner.

Sometimes, just sometimes, realisation comes, not by knowing or planning, but by recognising what works and pulling it apart to see why.

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  • Reply
    August 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Those moments of ‘insight’ are great aren’t they? To take stock of something and pull it apart, as you say, and find out things about ourselves or our lives is enlightening. This is how we grow and mature as Mums, sisters, friends and colleagues. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Kelly, were we separated at birth? I can not function properly if I am not eating healthy and I am unspeakably cross after a few days without exercise. And the two seem to go hand in hand – if I exercise, I eat right and if I eat right, I am more inclined to exercise. My little man is about to go through having his tonsils and adenoids out so any tips on how to keep him amused while in recovery would be gratefully recieved.

    PS. I ‘built’ pixie hollow for recently out of one of those plastic boxes and some astro turf! Works a treat as a dinosaur den too!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2013 at 9:29 am

    It’s like you are writing about me. Thanks so much for writing this, I feel less alone with my struggle with my tendancy to be a bit depressed and anxious. You put into words what I have been struggling to explain to my hubby about how I am feeling, and why exercise and routine is so important to me! I think I will get him to read this tonight! Thanks again xxx

  • Reply
    Rachel Cooper
    August 26, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I love this insight, you have just summed much of my feelings in a nutshell. Thanks for helping me understand myself 🙂

  • Reply
    August 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    i totally get you…glad that your little boy is feeling better and life is back to normal again. My son had a similar thing the other week, my husband was away and it was pretty stressful with him so sick as well as the other two kids…such a nasty horrible cough!!

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    Annette Higgins
    October 18, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I also suffer from depression and anxiety and use strict organisation to maintain balance and keep very busy.
    You have challenged me to do more exercise which I am not doing much of at the moment. Being a mum is tough and its hard when they get sick. My daughter has asthma at the moment.

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