Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Necessity of Fitting Rest into Your Busy Time Schedule

Image Courtesy of  num_skyman/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today is a rest day for me.  I have not turned into Wonderwoman
yet, even though, I was beginning to act as if I thought I had.

It occurred to me that all my readers and friends who have autoimmune diseases or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would benefit from a discussion about how to handle those wonderful times we have a new regimen of supplements or pharmaceuticals that are working for us.  If you are anything like me, you want to make up for lost time and do all the things you have been missing.  Or, you may decide to use those muscles that feel better and are getting stronger to jump into a thorough deep housecleaning.  Perhaps, you are returning to social interaction that you had backed away from, because you were too fatigued or depressed.

All the above is understandable and a pretty normal reaction, especially to those of us that were by nature extremely social creatures with a desire to be with family, friends, and acquaintances.  However, have you ever heard that phrase "too much of a good thing?"  Please be aware, I am not here to dampen your enthusiasm.  Keep that enthusiasm.  How wonderful to feel well enough to be enthusiastic about life!  That is a gift.

However, I am here to say, "Listen to your body."  If your body says it is tired, "Rest!"  I had a friend last week that was concerned I had overdone after a friend's two day visit.  That concern was well-warranted, because I had spent several days preparing a little more heavily than I may have during a normal week.  Even though I tried to be cautious, I found it hard to leave company and rest, or have a little quiet.  The thing is I was having so much fun, I was like a kid in a candy shop that does not realize too much of a good thing can lower your immune system.  Then, I piled on something else that week:  I opened up a memory foam mattress pad that off-gassed in my house, which I had not looked up to see what chemicals they used to make these things.  That kind of tipped the balance for me, but I was not ready to admit it.

To top that off, I started running out of vitamins, but due to me thinking I did not have enough money, I thought I had to wait to order them.  Oops!  I was wrong.  So here is another puzzle piece to what sets off Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.  We need our vitamins.  And now, we have had several days of weather change and darker days.  My body has not liked fall weather changes, but I forgot.  The puzzle pieces were finally fitting together, but I was still not ready to give an inch, since getting back to my strict regimen helped the burning fibromyalgia pain, and I was able to get up for my dental appointment.  Last night, I went to choir rehearsal and I did not leave when my body said, "Enough already, go home."

Last night that phrase, "Pride cometh before the fall", became very real to me.  I was letting my pride get into the way.  I fell into the old pattern of worrying about what people would think.  I wanted to show them how healthy I was getting, so I did not do what my body said, even though my husband and I had decided that I would leave choir rehearsal when my body got too tired.  Or, I would just stop singing and listen.  I realized my mistake when I got home, so then I thought about how to remedy the situation.

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What you do after our body gets healthier matters.  One cannot fall into old patterns of "shop until I drop" or not getting enough sleep.  Just because your body feels better does not mean you have stopped being sensitive to chemicals in the air or food ingredients.  You may feel normal, but your body will remind you when you have gone too far.  Healthy bodies do the same thing before illness.  Healthy bodies are designed to let people know when they are feeling pain, when they have a fever, when they have eaten too much, or when they need to sleep.  Many people who have endured chronic illnesses trained themselves to push through the pain or to do things they did not feel like doing because they had to.  However, nobody should do this on a regular basis.

Therefore, I would like to suggest a few basic tenets to us getting healthier autoimmune/chronic illness folks:

Image Courtesy of Simon Howden /
FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Don't push the envelope.  The work will still be there tomorrow.
  • Do you have a new business or job?  You can learn it and grow it, the same way you got your house clean:  baby steps.  
  • Break each goal or large plan into small, specific steps.  The principal works for healthy people too.  In fact, that is how I raised a family and went back to college.  I studied and read my materials, approached each class project in small steps.  And, by breaking things down into doable steps, I aced most of my classes.  I even did well in classes I thought I might not do well in.
  • Do you need a pajama day?  Guess what.  It is not a sin to have a pajama or yoga pant day.  Everyone needs a day off.  If you want to do this on your day off or while you are working at home, I'm certainly not judging you.  So, do not judge yourself.  Okay?!
  • Your body.  Listen to what your body is saying and figure out what you have done differently.  Do it before you fall into a relapse.  Is your brain feeling foggy?  Are you dropping things at choir rehearsal instead of feeling alert (me)?  Your brain is trying to tell you to "Stop!  Listen to me."  Did any of you ever watch "Lost in Space?"  Your brain is shouting, "Warning, Warning, Warning."
  • Weather Changes  Did you respond to weather changes before you felt better for 3 or 4 months in a row?  Do you really think you are going to stop having bodily responses to weather changes now?  I am talking to me too, and this is how I am handling it.  It's darker, so I am going to sit in front of my light for people that have SAD.  If I have to, I am going to turn on another light to make the room brighter.  Barometric Pressure is not something I can change, but I Can take my antihistamine for fall allergies, rinse my nose out with NeilMed Sinus Rinse,  and I can take Mucinex to thin my respiratory track secretions. 
  • This too shall pass.  Remember that if a treatment has been working well, it is time to figure out what you might be doing differently.  Or, maybe there is something in the treatment that can be decreased or increased according to need.  If you cannot figure it out, than you should get in touch with your medical provider.
  • Rest and Relaxation that will nourish your inner self and revive you is a good thing.  For some this is reading a good book.  For others, it is a stroll on a fall day, listening to relaxing music, turning off the electronics in the house, or soaking in the tub.  Do what your body can handle.  Do not compare yourself with other people.

Unless I come up with another idea to add to the list or you come up with another idea, I think this list is done.  Let me know if you have a good thought to add to this list, and I will add it and publish the list on another post.

Love you all, 

Deborah

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Putting Away Things in Present Time

This looks like a child's room, but it might be the catch all room.
The point is that most people who deal with clutter have had a
room that was a frustration and a mess.  Did you know
there was a study done on how having
too many toys in an area is frustrating for  children?
This makes them feel overwhelmed and depressed.  If
this bothers children, what do you think it does to grownups,
especially an adult that is dealing with chronic illness.  Yep!
It is overwhelming for her too.  
Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw - FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Are you putting up things in your house as you go along?  For the past month, I have been making a concentrated effort to do this as I clean up my messes.

I tend to be a piler:  here a stack, there a stack.  Sometimes, it isn't even stacked.  Sometimes, my stuff is strewn.  For instance, I had a hamper full of things I needed to go through.  I have some of those hampers that can be squished flat for storage, and they work well for cleaning up clutter:  put up, throw away, and give away.  I have also used one for a quick clean up, when I ran out of time.
Image courtesy of sattva - FreeDigitalPhotos.net



The truth is that I hate going through stuff I have thrown into a hamper or box for a quick clean up.  Sure, it seems efficient when you are in a bind, but getting to it later is hard.  You have to very disciplined in that area or learn to do the first time.

Do it the first time.  What do I mean by do it the first time?  If you get it out, put it up when you are done.  If you come home and you have brought in a couple of bags of things from the store, hang them up and put them in the cupboards.  If you bring in a newspaper, read it and recycle it.  If you have mail, go through it when you bring it in.

Even when your house is a cluttered challenge to be worked on, you can learn to put up things the first time.  This means you will not pile mess on top of mess.  This is one of the ways we become more unorganized and lose things.  Believe me I know.  When you pile stuff on a table or chair, you forget where you put things, because you cover them up.  I am not fussing at you, because I am guilty of this as anyone.

When I visit someone, I always do better in the areas I am talking about.  Do you notice this is the case for you?  Is it because we are more relaxed in our own homes;  or, maybe it is because we get caught up in other things as we come in the house or we are working on a project.  We are interrupted by other family members, our own immediate needs, the phone ringing, or time schedules.
Image courtesy of photostock - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Maybe, you think it is impossible to change.  I simply refuse to believe that. Habits can be changed with baby steps.  Take small steps in the right direction everyday.  If you have a glitch or backslide in an area, work it again.  Actually, working this way can be quite methodical and organized.

Are you living in a mess now?  Spend a little time every day working on one area.  While you work on your messy areas, put things up as you go along in your daily life.  This is so much easier than letting things pile up in little stacks all over the house.  Also, I cannot emphasize enough the need to get rid of the things that are not useful and beautiful in your lives.  If you make the effort to get rid of the clutter, it actually gets easier.  Try it, you might like it.

Hugs, Deborah

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Bathroom Cleaning Directions Brought Back

Here is an excerpt from my Jan. 14th post.  The directions for doing the bathroom still work, and it is helping me to Simplify.  I hate to admit that even before I was ill, I never felt like a Perfect
housekeeper.  However, we sometimes put too much emphasis on that perfection thing.  I used to compare myself to other people.  Well, how often do you just drop in on friends?  You are usually invited, so they clean before you come.  I had one friend that told me a very long time ago, "I thought you were perfect before I got to know You."  After my moment of shock wore off, I felt complemented and I laughed.  Because I always knew I was not perfect.  Ha,ha!

Adjust the Days on this to your energy and when you start.  You may be able to do two days in one.

I know the chronic illness is often the thing that gets in the way.  When we are in pain and unrelenting fatigue assails our bodies, our routines often fly out the window.  We wonder how to get started up again, as we compare what we used to do with what we get done now.  I understand.

The best example I can think of ... comes from my own personal life... I started getting rid of the clutter in my dining room, which is also my  workroom, and the most used entry into our house.  I had a goal, which included having the table and sideboard decorated for Easter.  However, as I worked, I realized I needed to organize my arts and crafts supplies or box everything;  also, I was working on a couple of blog posts... I had other things that had to be done too:  laundry, bathrooms that needed to be cleaned, blogs and Facebook pages to tend to.


 "What's the point?",  you may ask.  The point is not finishing the dining room did not kept me from working on it a little bit at a time.  I have done the necessary everyday things, which I can rarely finish in one day... I jump in where I am.  I try to do a little bit everyday.  On the days I feel better, I may do a little more.

An example would be the bathrooms I cleaned on Saturday.  I cleaned the sinks and counters in both bathrooms, and in one I wiped down the toilet.  I had done the inside and outside of the half bath toilet two nights before, so I concentrated on the things that needed cleaning the most.  I didn't do the shower in the big bathroom, because  it was too big a job for me to tend to that day.  Nor did I do the inside of the toilet bowl in the master bath, because I was plumb out of energy...  

The point is I have not let perfectionism keep me from cleaning my bathrooms.  It is not an all or nothing thing.  My house is cleaner than it was a month ago.  In fact, I was able to rest comfortably when I needed to, because I had cleaned the toilet bowl  less than a week ago.   I feel good about what I'm doing, because I am making progress.  Truthfully, I doubt my house will ever be as clean as I used to keep it when I was healthy.   But, that does not mean I have to give up.  Nor do I have to compare myself with people that are physically able to do more.  I am doing what I can do, baby step by baby step.

Image Courtesy of [Grant Cochrane]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you with me?  Are you ready to work on those bathrooms this week?
If you have enough energy, you can do this in more than one bathroom;  but, I recommend choosing the bathroom that you think needs the most attention.

Tuesday:  Pick up the things that do not belong on the bathroom floor:  dirty towels, discarded clothes, shoes, and toys.  Put those towels in the washing machine if you have a load.  

Wednesday:  Clean off that counter and the back of the toilet.  Put away the things that do not belong there.  Throw away any trash you see in the bathroom.

Thursday:  Assemble your tools for wiping off your bathroom counters and the bathroom sink.  Wipe it down.  Dry it off.  Doesn't it look nice?  Hint:  Keep your cleaning tools in a carrying container like a bucket or under your sink.  If you have small children, be sure to childproof your cabinets.

Image Courtesy of [twobee]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday:  Soak and Scrub the toilet with your toilet brush.  With a rag or paper towel, wipe off the back, the tank, the cover and seat, and underneath the seat.  If you have little boys, you may need to wipe all the way down to the floor, otherwise use your discretion.  I am still looking for a long handled tool to do this, because it is quite painful for me to bend and get in the spaces I use to clean.  Sometimes, I clean the bottom of the toilet with my mop, while doing my mopping. 

Saturday or Monday:  My shower could use a wipe down.  How about yours?

Tuesday:  Are you sick of working on the bathroom?  Here is an optional task:  Mop, depending on how long it has been since you mopped the bathroom floor or whether it needs it. 

Hint: If you take a handi-wipe and wipe off that sink, counter-top, and toilet now and everyday -- your job will be easier every time. 

This is a way of spreading out your work in an area and making it easier.  I like to set a timer for 15 minutes;  however, if I am too fatigued, I set the timer for 5 or 10 minutes.  

We can do this together!

Hugs, 

Deborah