Friday, 3 May 2019

Cleaning Tips For Fibromyalgia Sufferers

*collaborative post

Living with a chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia can be difficult in a huge variety of ways. One particular area that I have struggled with, is cleaning.

With three young children at home, it can be difficult to stay on top of the housework but I find it vital to keeping my mood elevated - once the housework starts to slip, I feel very down!

But how can you stay on top of the housework when you live with extreme and unpredictable bouts of pain?

I won't pretend to be an expert, but there are a few things I've been doing lately to try and keep things ticking over and take the pressure off a bit. So I thought I'd share them with you today.

1) Keep A Non-Timed To Do List

I've always been a huge fan of a to-do list, and when it comes to keeping a house in order - I think they're crucial so that the less-regular tasks aren't forgotten about.

However the mistake I have always made is to try to run on a daily schedule - this worked fine previously but post-Fibro, it doesn't! I can't predict what my pain or energy level will be like from one day to the next, and so keeping to a schedule just isn't possible any more.

Failing to cross tasks off my list "on time" was making me feel bad, and once I feel disheartened - my motivation levels drop! So removing the time pressure to complete tasks has been a huge help.

Now I keep a simple To-Do list of tasks, and I do them as and when I feel able to. Crossing things off the list when I can gives me a great sense of satisfaction, but without the pressure!

2) Keep Cleaning Equipment and Products Where You Use Them

I used to keep all of my cleaning products under the sink in the kitchen so that I knew where everything was, but if you get a sudden burst of energy in the bathroom and have to make the journey all the way down the stairs to collect the cleaning supplies before lugging them back up with you again - that can be the difference between using that energy on actually cleaning or wasting it on an unnecessary trip up and down the stairs!

Keeping bathroom cleaning equipment in the bathroom, and kitchen cleaning equipment in the living room etc - makes a big difference!

3) Avoid Chemicals Where Possible

Studies have shown that fibromyalgia patients tend to be sensitive to chemical products, and so if you can avoid them as much as possible when cleaning - then do. There are many fantastic chemical-free or low chemical cleaning ideas online, often they actually tend to work better than the chemical laden store bought products too.

4) Delegate Tasks & Ask For Help

Asking for help can be a big thing for sufferers, but it is so important to ask for support from loved ones where possible.

If you live with other people, don't be afraid to delegate tasks to them. Even children can do age-appropriate tasks such as putting their dirty clothes into the laundry basket to help lessen the load for you.

If you are undertaking a bigger cleaning job than usual such as an end of tenancy clean, consider hiring an end-of-tenancy cleaning company if you can.

5) Do Things In Smaller Chunks Of Time

Rather than trying to do 2 hours worth of cleaning per day all in one go, I find much more success in setting the timer for 15 minutes at a time and doing what I can in short bursts with some rest time in between.

It helps to keep me from wearing myself out, and although it might take me longer - I find I have far more chance of getting a lot more done this way.

6) Do Things Sitting Down Where Possible

This was a tough one for me to learn and accept, I'll be honest.

To begin with, I would try to force myself to do all of the things I used to be easily able to do standing up. I couldn't accept that things had changed and my body could no longer manage standing for long periods of time.

One evening, I experienced a lot of pain when standing at the kitchen counter to chop up onions for dinner. I refused to stop, feeling annoyed at struggling with a task I used to find so simple, and I forced myself to work through the pain and finish chopping the onions.

The result? 3 days worth of absolute agony.

Next time I needed to chop onions, I reluctantly took the tray through to the living room and sat down to cut them.

But guess what?! I had zero pain and suffering afterwards!

As irritating as it can feel to make these changes to the way you do things, if they result in less pain for you afterwards - they have to be worth making.

7) Listen To Your Body

This is the most important one at all. I can be the worst person for setting myself tasks for the week ahead, and trying to force myself to achieve them all - even when my body is crying out for me to stop and take it easy for a while.

But it always results in terrible flare ups and pain, usually seeing me bed bound for a whole day.

I'm trying my best to learn how to listen to my body and pace myself. I know it's not easy, but it's so important to learn to do this.

I hope you find these suggestions useful, and if you have any of your own to share - I'd love to hear them!

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