I know your secret…but you know mine too.
We have a good day with lots of energy, we’re “normal”, so we go crazy cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping…and the next day we are back in bed for a day or a week. So much for our plan to save energy and avoid a flare!
Chores need to get done, it’s not like the cleaning and cooking fairies visit our house but do we need to do it all in one day? Probably not. Maybe it’s time to rethink our strategy and break the cycle. Maybe we can use our time and energy in ways that don’t cause us to be bedridden, in pain for days or weeks afterward.
I put together a list of 14 steps I’ve taken to use my time more effectively AND save energy which then helps me avoid some flares.
Try some and see if they don’t make a difference in your life.
- Do laundry once a week. All my kids have moved out and my husband does his own laundry so it’s just my laundry I have to worry about. Mostly it’s jammies and towels but sometimes it’s all my bedding too.
- Now that laundry is done take a break until the next day if needed. This is the time to save energy and avoid a flare. Then organize an outfit for each day and put each set in a basket. No more searching through drawers or closets, just grab a basket and get dressed. If you have an outing planned pack 2 outfits in the basket, one for the outing and jammies
- Grocery shop once a week or every other week. Again, my days are unpredictable so it may be less than a week or two weeks before I can go but I keep a list with an app called Grocery IQ. My husband and I can add items to the same list so when he isn’t working offshore he knows what I need and does some shopping for me.
- Relax your standards. I was a type A, sometimes I still am, but when I got too ill to walk without holding on to something I had to stop being so strict. The stress of looking around at the mess and expecting it to be spotless wasn’t good for me. There’s an apt saying that fits perfectly “If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it” – Mary Englebreit
- Batch similar tasks and complete them at the same time. I like to cook and freeze meals for myself so when I am unable to cook I can just pop something in the microwave or oven. Most times I will cook several dishes at the same time to avoid having to do everything all over again the next day.
- Answer email only once or twice a day and if you can, have a set time for doing so. You don’t want to be glued to your phone or laptop 24/7, it’s not healthy and it is actually counter-productive. I also have different emails for different things so I check and answer them all at the same time.
I turn off all notifications and set my phone to “Do Not Disturb” when I am writing or trying to rest. This means I don’t get woken up or interrupted which means a more refreshing nap and an article worth reading. Interruptions can keep you off track. Let your friends and loved ones know that if they can’t reach you, you will get back to them asap. Trust me, you DO NOT want the police coming to check on you because of a worried family member.
- Waiting at the doctor’s office? Write a blog post or make a grocery list. Do that research on a new supplement you’re thinking of trying or answer email. I always bring my crochet…sometimes I think I could finish a king-sized afghan with how long I’ve waited for some doctor’s
- Stay off social media or set a timer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone on Pinterest and lost myself in crochet patterns and thingamajigs for hours
- Say “No” and stick to your guns. I’ve always let people ask too much of me. I'm good at buckling when it came time for me to stand up for myself. In one way, chronic illness was good for me because now I can say “No”. I don't have the slightest tinge of guilt. It takes awhile for the people in your life to become accustomed to not having access or use of you but they manage
- Make a list each day and prioritize what is most important. Keep a running “to do” list on the side. Days you feel well but have nothing to do can be productive. Don’t worry if things don’t get done, nothing is ever finished…not really
- Try not to multitask, give your full attention to what you are doing.
- Take breaks in between tasks, sit in the sun or lie in a cool room and just breathe deeply
- Set timers. When the timer goes off move on to your next task, rinse and repeat
Feeling like a spring chicken on a good day doesn't mean we have to do everything that day
Just like we should be doing every other day, we should take care of ourselves on our ‘good’ days too. Spread chores out over time and have someone else help.
After everything we go through we should be able to enjoy our good days. Not catching up on chores or shopping. These steps may take awhile to use regularly but you may have more good days if you follow them. I hope for your sake you do because you deserve all the best.
You might also like my post 16 Tips (For Spoonies) To Spring Clean & Organize Your Bedroom
I love hearing all about how you tackle your struggles with chronic illness!
Do you have other tips you can share with us? Most spoonies have found workarounds for all types of things and I’d love to share your advice.
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Kim is a freelance blogger, writer and VA. She loves sharing resources for other “spoonies” to help them create lives they love. Hoarding crochet patterns on Pinterest is her second favorite thing.