Cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, and organising can be overwhelming to anyone who has a family or lives alone. It is a thousand times more daunting when you factor in a chronic illness which knocks the wind out of your sails and leaves you fatigued, in pain and feeling helpless. This is a completely valid feeling and you are not alone, but what can we do to help break down the mammoth and never ending household tasks?

Here are a few suggestions which are not an exhaustive list by any means.

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ORGANISE

Make a list- my go to answer for anything (and then lists of lists which I look at and don’t tackle!). Think of all the major things around the house which frustrate you and make your daily tasks a little harder.

If your kitchen cupboards are, like mine, a bombsite with no order, call in a friend or family member and together get them in some sort of shape. If you know where things are meant to be and meant to go, throwing a quick meal together will take minutes instead of hours searching for the right ingredients.


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EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY

We are lucky to be living in an age where many routine tasks can be outsourced to technology. Set up direct debits for your monthly bills. Use the online services to have your prescriptions reordered and delivered to your door. Do your grocery shopping online. If these save you even five minutes, that’s five mins you can be using to do something else.


PRE-PLAN TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER.

Separate upstairs and downstairs and stock both floors with their own cleaning equipment. Having a bucket with spray bottles, microfiber cloths and sponges at hand wherever you need them saves you from needlessly carrying items up and down the stairs.

Place baskets at the bottom of the stairs to collect things that need to be taken upstairs and then take them up in one load.


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MINIMALIZE

Limit the flow of paper coming into your home. Unsubscribe from local papers or magazines you barely read. See if some of your recurring mail, such as monthly phone bills and bank statements, can be viewed digitally or send via email.

Try to keep counters and other flat surfaces clear and clutter-free (easier said than done!). So try to put things immediately in their designated place or do a quick round of tidying up before you go to bed each night.

I now stick to this routine, put the sofa cushions etc. ‘back together’, load the dishwasher or do as much washing up as I can, wipe down the surfaces in the kitchens… all these little things mean that I start the next day anew without having to deal with yesterday’s build up of jobs.


CREATE A ‘SCHEDULE’ WITH BACK UP

Spread your chores out over the week, so you don’t exhaust yourself by scrubbing the bath and vacuuming the entire house in one go.

Clean in stages, clean both bathroom mirrors and counters today, do the loos and floors tomorrow.

Don’t plan too many cleaning sessions in a row, but leave enough time for rest in between.

Don’t leave things like grocery shopping and laundry until the last minute, right when you run out of food and clean clothes, that just adds unnecessary stress.


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FIND LITTLE ‘HACKS’ TO MAKE TASKS EASIER

There are all sorts of little ‘work around’ that can help you conserve your energy.

  • Sit down whilst ironing or folding towels etc.
  • Keep a tall stool handy in the kitchen so you can sit down whilst prepping veg.
  • If you find bending over a struggle, get yourself one of those long arm grabbers.

The biggest point for anyone who is chronically ill is to be gentle with yourself. If the washing doesn’t get done today, it’s no big deal. If you forgot to do something that needed to be done, it’s not the end of the world. Write a list so you don’t forget next time. Our bodies are hard enough on us without ourselves being even harder. Be kind, be patient, be gentle. Treat yourself in the same way you would treat another chronically ill person.

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