It only seems fitting I start with Christmas:
I always try to keep Christmas dinner simple. Of course I would go straight for the food who cares about all the other stuff. Seriously though, one year we had Jimmy Johns subs. Last year I made a huge pot of spaghetti and meatballs a few days before. I always try not to plan anything the month of Decemeber so I can conserve my energy for my immediate family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They are my world so they come first. We usually have a few favorite appetizers and of course wings with our easy meal. The past few years I have tried to keep gift giving as simple as possible. Giving the kids cash has helped immensely. Who doesn't love spending their own money and buying what they want instead of some lame gifts I pick out. Stuff has never been that important to me so obviously I am a terrible gift giver. The grandkids are the exceptions. We do buy them stuff but always try to keep it somewhat educational. Another thing I do is as soon as I/we buy a gift it gets wrapped. I do not let it pile up so I have to wrap a ton of stuff all at once. I get anxiety just thinking about that. I really don't enjoy Christmas at all. While other people are all jolly and nice to each other I am a Scrooge waiting for Decemeber 26 to arrive. I enjoy the reason for the season but I think it has gotten so out of hand with people thinking they have to buy all these expensive gifts to show their love. Yes, I'm weird but I'm okay with that. I also use online shopping as much as possible heck I do that all year round. It's wonderful. I try to keep my regular sleep schedule and try not to stress to much. It turns out how it turns out anyways.
Cleaning the house:
What is that? I always say,"You mean you're suppose to clean your house?" Ok that's not totally true I do keep the bathrooms clean and vacuum and mop once a week but I don't have a cleaning day. I pick and choose little jobs at a time. Dusting might not happen often but it happens. Baseboards are gross and need to be done someday but who cares? Plus
what if I die tomorrow? I'm sure no ones going to say, "My gosh her baseboards were discussing." You have to accept what you can and can't do and be okay with it. I have! Who cares.
I wash my sheets regularly I'll leave it at that. Once a week? Sometimes. For sure every other week. Hey, we go to bed clean every night so they can't get that dirty can they? Beside changing and washing all the bedding is a nightmare. If I'm doing the bed that's what I'm doing that day, the bed. It is by far one of the hardest jobs for me. There are times I have to lay on the bed to rest in between putting the sheets and blankets back on. I know that sounds crazy. Crazy but my reality.
Make the bed everyday? What's that? Are you kidding me? Why on earth would I make my bed, for me and Rich to see? Neither one of us cares at all if our bed is made. On the rare occasion that I do make it, because people are coming over, it's not like Rich says, "Oh honey thanks for making the bed it looks devine." So screw that. In fact when people do come over I whine to him and say, "Crap that means I have to make the bed." He always tells me, "Don't make it. Just keep the door shut." And you wonder why I love that man!
Speaking of the bed... But really, Just Do It! I know pain can be an issue but there's always a way to work around that. Nurture your relationship and treasure what you have together. Enough said, that's as much as your getting. Haha
I leave stuff out basically scattered all over the house. In the bathroom I have a huge basket I keep everything in that I use each day. Why put it away one day when I know I'm going to need it tomorrow. It takes energy to search for things. Most of the things I use each day are out in the kitchen too. It's not clutter it's reality. I go for easy. Why not? I live here. I keep the things I use most in the cabinets on lower shelves and at arms length. It just makes life easier that way. I get cold easily so at any given time there are sweatshirts on my kitchen chairs and in my car. Leave things accessible to your needs. If someone drops over who cares. Put your needs first.
Ask for help:
I hate this one. Being a type A person it is extremely hard for me to ask for help. I only ask Rich for help when I am forced to do so and when I do I always refer to it as "We" need to do this, that way I still feeling like I am doing it and in control. I'm pretty sure he cringes when he hears, "Hon WE need to do this." I always put the emphasis on the WE and chuckle out loud. He knows why. Of course he never shows it. Ask your people to help you. Admit when you need help and ask. It makes life so much easier instead of beating yourself up for not being able to do it alone. I know it's hard. Being ill takes away enough independence and asking for help and admitting you need it isn't easy but it's ok to do so.
Getting ready to go away.
Plan! That's a all I can say. Only you know the amount of energy you have when you have to be somewhere. For me taking a shower and then getting ready is exhausting. I always take a bath before I go to bed at night. Always. If we have plans the next day that means all I have to do is hair, make up, and get dressed. Which we all know takes a lot of energy out of us chronics. By the time you get to where you are going that evening you are already tired. I break it up into pieces. I will do my hair earlier in the day so that is done. Then a few hours before we go I get dressed. Then I rest for an hour or so and do my make up. I always mentally pick out what I am going to wear the night before, pick it out, put it in the front of the closet, so when I get up that decision is made. Baby steps if you will and again whatever works. On a normal day home usually get dressed right away. I lay my clothes out the night before so I don't have to fumble through to try and find something to wear. After my tea I do my hair and slap on a little makeup. I figure if I'm staying home for the day why do I need to get all dressed up. It's all about comfort. I love my stretchy pants and a tshirt or sweatshirt.
Dinner and snacks:
Cooking can take a lot of time and can be very exhausting. Simple is my motto. I try to always make enough of what we are eating so we can eat it two nights in a row. I love making large pots of soup because we can get three nights out of that. Subway is always nice to do on occasion. Rich will pick it up on his way home from work and dinner is done. I'm fortunate he isn't a picky eater and if there is the occasion I don't cook he could care less. He will pop a turkey burger or something in the mic and be happy. Snacks are always grab and go. Bananas, yogurt, cheese stix's, etc. anything simple. I don't buy junk food at all except when the grandkids come. I like cup a soup too that makes a low cal snack and you feel like you ate something. You adjust to your likes and dislikes as long as it doesn't consume your energy it's only a snack after all. Try to keep breakfast and lunch simple too. I like a sandwich or something else that is easy to make.
This can be tricky. We don't do it very often because it is a huge energy zapper. When we do have company it takes the wind out of my sails. I have learned to never make plans the day after company comes because I know I will need it to recover, sometimes two or three days depending on the get together. Ask everyone to bring something people love to be told what to bring. This is hard for me. I have always been a do all person but I am learning to ask people to bring a dish when they come and I must admit I'm beginning to like it. We always grill when people come over because Rich mans the grill and it is one less thing for me. I always prepare a few days before, sometimes the week before, getting all the dishes and other stuff ready and try not to cram everything into one day. Spacing things out helps conserve the energy you need to talk to everyone who comes over. We do everything early because we like people to leave early, at least I do. If people stay that means my sleep schedule gets totally screwed up which in turn causes more issues for me. I figure if I'm entertaining I can make the rules. Early it is.
Keep a good sleep schedule:
I learned this from a sweet friend Lisa who has rheumatoid arthritis and myasthenia gravis two diplitating diseases. She always said she keeps a sleep schedule and tells everyone not to call her after 8:00 pm. She knows how important sleep is for her and she takes it very seriously. This is one of the best tips I have ever heard from anyone because it is so true. I do my best to get in bed early each night. After hearing Lisa talk about sleep I began to be aware of what impact sleep had on me. It is very important so be aware and make time for it. Make your bed as comfortable as possible. Use pillows if you need to. Prop up whatever needs to be propped up. Do whatever it takes to make sleep comfortable because it will help your day to be better. If you need a nap during the day then take it. This is hard for me because I've never been a nap person but there are days I need to shut my eyes for a minute and just rest. I am learning it is okay to do.
Learn to say No:
This is a hard one to learn but once you start to do it it gets easier. You don't need to explain anything to anyone. When asked something just say that's not going to work for me and move on. It's for your health so just do it. NO! If people don't understand they are not your friends and you will learn to be okay with that too.
Let things pile up:
Who cares? There are some nights we go to be with dishes in the sink and guess what? We wake up the next day and they are still there. It's crazy they stay right there until the next morning when I have the energy to do them. It doesn't happen often but it happens. The same goes with laundry. I'm usually really good about keeping up on my laundry, washing it and putting it in the dryer but then it stops. It never fails every time I open the dryer there they are the dreaded clothes I left in there the day before. No harm done. It's just clean clothes so who cares on that one too. It's funny how everything eventually has a way of getting put away somehow someway.
This is another, just do it. I know it isn't easy believe me I've heard all the excuses and they have come from me. The important thing is to find what works for you and stick to it. I believe we beat ourselves up over and over when it come to exercise. If we can't do thirty minutes at a time, like we are told to believe, we push exercise under the rug not realizing even a ten minute walk is good for us. Start slow and build yourself up. If you start to walk walk for five minutes and add one minute to that the next day, the next day another minute, and so on. You will figure out your number and what you can handle. Listen to your body especially after the walk and if it's too much scale back for a few days. Moving and doing anything is better than sitting. For those of us with arthritis sitting only makes the pain worse so don't sit for long spans of time even moving around the house is a form of exercise. I believe the world makes us believe we have to run on a treadmill and kill ourselves doing it but for some of this doing so is not possible. Once again do the best you can and don't beat yourself up. Plan for exercise just as you do for everything else in life. Exercise for the chronically ill is not refreshing like it is for those without chronic illness. I have found the pool is the easiest for me it is so much easier on my body than any other form of exercise. On the days I don't go to the pool I walk sometimes only fifteen minutes but I do it. There are days I might walk ten to fifteen minutes in the morning and then another fifteen to twenty minutes at night with Rich it just depends on the day. Don't forget one day at a time and do the best you can. Block out the worlds messages on one size fits all for exercise because it doesn't.
I'm sure there are many things that could be added to this list. Your list might look a lot different than mine and that's okay. My main point is don't be so hard on yourself because I'm sure I'm doing enough of that for both of us. Hang in there and push on!