Two thirds of parents feel constantly unwell as they ‘power through’ day-to-day family life, new research shows

The average British family goes through more than 12 illnesses a year, but parents say they don't have time to properly recover

unwell woman blowing her nose
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New research has found that two thirds of British parents feel constantly unwell but have 'no choice but to power through’ illnesses due to the demands of day-to-day family life. 

We may prioritise self-care more so now than ever before, with us all understanding how self-care can help boost health and manage stress, but with the demands of day-to-day family life, fitting in time to rest and relax can feel like an impossible task.

The impact of this neglectful approach to health and wellbeing has now been laid out in stark statistics. According to new research from family wellness brand Zarbee’s, 60% of British parents feel constantly unwell as they have little to no time to recover from illness and are forced to 'power through' family life no matter how sick they feel. And this powering through is cited by over half of parents as the root cause for them feeling more ill now than they ever did pre-children.

The research also showed that the average British family experiences more than 12 illnesses every single year, with common colds, coughs and sore throats being the most frequent sicknesses families experience. While there are natural flu remedies on hand, as well as natural cold remedies suitable for all the family and natural remedies for coughs and sore throats, it's long been known that rest is the best cure for any small-time illness and parents clearly aren't getting that. 

But it's not just the ill person who is affected by sickness. A third of parents admitted that sickness takes a toll on their relationship with their other half due to the lack of sleep and general frustration that comes with feeling poorly. 

But while many parents feel they have 'no choice but to power through' illnesses, their partners are stepping in to try and ease the pressures of parenting when their other half isn't feeling well. The research found that more than half of parents take on all household chores to give their other half time to rest when they're sick, whilst 40% offer to take the kids out the house to give them peace and quiet. 

The good deed doesn't go unnoticed. Nearly all, four in five, parents appreciate the support given by their partners when they're ill, feeling thankful that they're willing to step up and take the lead with parental responsibilities when they can't. 

There are also some preventative measures families are putting in pace to try and curb the effects of illness. Seven in ten parents use multivitamins and healthy eating to support their family’s immune system and reduce the impact of illness on both their bodies and their relationships.  

A representative from Zarbee’s explained, “Our research shows that when one parent is run down, the relationship with their children or their partner can be impacted.  A family’s wellbeing is also a priority for parents who are already using, or consider using, multivitamins to support their family’s immune system all year-round."

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.