4 posts tagged “chronic illness”

13 spring cleaning + laundry hacks when you have a health condition

Posted April 5th, 2018 by

Pain, fatigue and other symptoms can make spring cleaning and household chores… stink! We’ve rounded up some tips, tricks and life hacks for cleaning and doing laundry when you have a health condition.

1. Make a plan. Write out your cleaning to-do list (or find a free printable one online) and tackle your top priorities first. Pace yourself, even if it means spreading your chores out over several days or weeks. Think of spring cleaning as spring/summer cleaning – no rush.

2. Set time limits. Chelle Iredale, a writer for The Mighty who’s living with fibromyalgia, knows her cleaning limits: “15 minutes is a good amount of time for me,” she says. “Do what you can in that amount of time, then take a break. Re-evaluate how you’re feeling after each chore so you don’t overdo it.” Try to squeeze in some quick scrubbing or dusting sessions during TV commercial breaks.

3. Become a “no shoe” household. So what, if a few guests grumble? This rule will cut down on dirt. “When it comes to your health, do what’s best for you – not the masses,” Chelle says.

4. Pick products that make cleaning easier. It might be time to retire that ol’ mop and broom, writes Justina Bonilla, another Mighty contributor. Time-saving products like cleaning wipes, disposable dusters and wet mops can work wonders. You can even buy dust mop slippers and microwave steam cleaners these days. Also, shop online for cleaning supplies so you can take stock of your current stash and remember what you need.

5. Make things fun and comfortable. Listen to music. Or a podcast. Or an audio book. Anything that entertains or motivates you will make your cleaning session a little better, Justina says. Also, try to stay as comfy as possible by doing some chores sitting down (such as cleaning the kitchen table or wiping floor boards) and using a padded surface (think: garden kneeling pad or thick yoga mat).

6. Give into the urge to purge. Spring feels like a new beginning, which can make it a little easier to part with old clothes and clutter. Go with it! Less stuff = less work. While you’re at it, ditch some of your baskets and bins where junk mail and unworn shoes pile up.

7. Ask for help. Know someone who loves to clean and declutter? Time to phone a friend! And next time your birthday or the holidays roll around, consider asking for gift cards for a cleaning service or a new gadget (think lightweight or robo-vacuum) that’ll make cleaning easier.

Bonus: 6 laundry shortcuts! The Mighty recently shared a list of 24 laundry hacks for people with chronic illness, and here are a few favorites:

  • Skip the hamper — leave the washing machine lid open and ask everyone in your household to put dirty clothes straight in the washer at the end of the day.
  • Invest in a “grabber” to pick up dirty clothes off the floor.
  • Set a stool or folding/camping chair near the washer/dryer to sit on and help prevent fatigue.
  • Rather than sorting by color, sort into two baskets: one for pants, and the other for tops, socks and underwear — which makes for easier sorting/folding later.
  • If you have closet space, quit folding and hang everything on a hanger.

Got any tried and true tips for tackling chores with a health condition? Join PatientsLikeMe today to connect with others and swap ideas like these!

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Meet Cyrena from the PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors

Posted February 24th, 2016 by

 

Say hello to Cyrena, another member of your 2015-2016 Team of Advisors. Cyrena is living with bipolar II and lupus, and currently a PhD candidate in pharmacology.

Cyrena describes some days with her conditions as “swimming through a vat of molasses” — which makes managing her intensive student workload along with her health a challenge. She believes there is a lack of resources in higher education to support students with chronic illnesses.

Still, this hasn’t stopped her from taking control of her health. Below, Cyrena shares how she’s tracked her mood on PatientsLikeMe for over seven years, and how she prepares for every doctor visit to make sure all her questions get answered.

What gives you the greatest joy and puts a smile on your face?

Probably a full 24 hours with no obligations other than to play with my two cats, eat whatever I want, and hang out with my partner all day.

What has been your greatest obstacle living with your condition, and what societal shifts do you think need to happen so that we’re more compassionate or understanding of these challenges?

The greatest obstacle that I have faced living with chronic illness has been getting through graduate school successfully (and in one piece!) I believe that making higher education, particularly graduate and professional education, more supportive of students with chronic illness would require that institutions recognize that chronically ill students are willing and capable of completing a challenging degree. Completion, however, requires that colleges and universities be able to provide appropriate medical and psychological support, and if they are unable to do so directly, facilitate access to these resources through disability support offices. Most importantly, chronically ill students need to KNOW that these resources exist and that people around them are confident that they will be able to succeed.

How would you describe your condition to someone who isn’t living with it and doesn’t understand what it’s like?

Waking up everyday and not knowing what that day will feel like. Today I may be able to roll right out of bed and get on with my day, even though it feels like I’m swimming through a vat of molasses. Two weeks from now it could take me four hours to get out of bed, take a shower, and go back to bed again because I simply am too depressed to face the day. But no matter what’s happening, more often than not no one else can see what’s going on. That’s every day living with invisible illnesses.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone newly diagnosed with a chronic condition, what would it be?

Become an expert! No one knows more about you than YOU do. But also learn as much about your illness(es) that you can, so that when you communicate with your physicians and other healthcare providers, you have a better chance of understanding what is going on before you leave the office.

How important has it been to you to find other people with your condition who understand what you’re going through?

It has actually been more important to me to find people living with other chronic illnesses than finding people with my specific illnesses. I find that within particular illness communities there is a tendency to fall into a cycle of comparison — both positive and negative — rather than support. In meeting people with other chronic illnesses, I have been able to share general survival tips and identify ways in which the chronic illness experience can be improved for all members of society.

Recount a time when you’ve had to advocate for yourself with your provider, caregiver, insurer, or someone else.

I believe that I advocate for myself whenever I have an interaction with my physicians. I come in with a specific set of questions and concerns and make sure that the appointment doesn’t end until we have at least talked about them. Short of emergency situations, I don’t believe that anything involving my health is a unilateral decision. And I make sure to get copies of anything I ask for, even if they grumble about it.

How has PatientsLikeMe (or other members of the PatientsLikeMe community) impacted how you cope with your condition?

It was PatientsLikeMe that introduced me to the concept of tracking my moods online, then other health parameters like medications and quality of life. I now have over seven years of Mood Map data online. It gives me the opportunity to go back through my history and compare external and internal factors between past and current mood events. When I first started using PatientsLikeMe, I was a more active member of the community forums, and found it immensely helpful when I needed somewhere to turn with the aches and pains of everyday life with illness.

What is your favorite type of pet?

Cats, hands down. A cat is introverted and sometimes standoffish, but (s)he’ll be your best friend if you put in a little effort.

 

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