Coping with everyday chores

Coping with everyday chores

The image in my head!

The image in my head!

I don’t know what it is like for everyone else, but in the past I have had the tendency to leave all the household chores for one day of the week, whilst working the other 5 and only having one day for rest. This has been very true for the decade in between the two bouts of extreme fatigue. I have watched friends and family running round like headless chickens attempting to keep their homes pristine clean and presentable for visitors. I too have tried this method of managing home and children, only to realise that this particular mode of “keeping house” does not work for me.

In my head I have an old fashioned vision of what a Mum and housewife should be like. Up before the children, dressed & presentable, serving breakfast, making lunches. When all have left the home for the day I would be working my way through the house, cleaning and vacuuming, collecting the washing and hanging it on the line. Preparing the evening meal so that it is served up with no waiting for the children and husband. This process is then repeated the next day, and so on throughout the week.

But in reality life is very different…

You see I am having to retrain my thinking and ideology of how I am supposed to behave. This is because I tire very quickly and am often in pain from head to toe, which gets worse with any kind of activity. I am learning how to pace myself and constantly reminding myself that it is okay to rest between activities. I even find I have to rest after writing blog entries! (Even thinking and concentration is a tiring activity.)

So what works for me?

Everyone is different, even other sufferers of chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia (and a variety of other illnesses that leave you drained of all resources) have varying ways of coping with everyday activities.

For me I have begun to spread out the household chores between other family members. The girls aren’t particularly keen on this, but they are coming round to the idea now. I have to rely on Mark to help too with shopping, driving, carrying and cleaning. I try hard to not let work build up over the week by doing a load of washing every other day. We take it in turns to sort out the family meals and be responsible for all the pets.

This works well… until I begin to feel guilty, as though I am taking advantage of everyone in the house. That is on days when I feel good, almost invincible compared to all the other days in between. Then I go overboard by doing everything. Mad cleaning spree’s, a weeks worth of washing (quite often 5 or more loads), cooking, vacuuming, obsessive compulsive tidying in a bid to make the home spic and span. Proving to myself there is nothing wrong with me and that I need to buck my idea’s up and get on with life.

…and back to square one!

After a sleep of 10 to 12 hours, I then wake up feeling worse than before. Completely unrested, tired & weak, aching as though I was in a car wreck and regretting that I tried to do everything all in one go.

I am slowly beginning to listen to my body more, accepting that I am not as capable as Mrs Jones next door and trying out new routines which are more beneficial to me. It is a long and slow learning curve, not just for me but also for those I love dearly. Because no two days are the same; one day I may cope well with doing one household chore but the next I could be struggling to lift the kettle.

So pace is the key

Don’t over do it! I’m no good to anyone if I push my boundaries too far. I refuse to have complete bed rest as a form of recovery. I have seen this first hand and personally I don’t think I could cope with the outcome of being even less capable than I am now.

I have been advised that I must walk at least a mile every day (for other sufferer’s you know how hard that can be), but some days I swap that walk with one of the household chores, just so I feel like I am being responsible for my family. One activity per day!

I have been in remission before, through pacing myself, so who knows maybe I will go into remission again some day. Light at the end of the tunnel, perhaps? But for now I will take each day as it comes, assess how I feel and listen to my body instead of just assuming that I can do it because that’s what I am supposed to do.

If anyone else has other suggestions on how to cope with chronic pain and fatigue then please don’t be shy and make a comment below. I am truly interested on how other’s deal daily with their “hidden illness”, because your way may work for me too.
Related Posts
Living with an invisible illness…
Hiding behind “everything is okay”
A mile a day keeps the pain at bay
Emotional overload
Categories: Life goes on, My life, my journey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Coping with everyday chores

  1. Pingback: My life, my journey… | geocachingwithgeokids

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  3. Hi there, I’ve read your post and hope you don’t mind if I contact you in the capacity of voluntary publicity officer for Pain Concern, an Edinburgh-based national charity and support network for those living with pain. I’m currently exploring the use of online media to support communities and provide resources, and writing because we have a Personal Stories section on our website (pain which we hope to develop as a resource for those who feel they may be suffering alone, who are looking for inspiration and examples of how to stay strong while suffering with an illness. I would be very happy to publish something from you on our website if this is something that interests you, and I can be reached at

    We are also approached by journalists and the media for ‘media volunteers’ who are willing to be contacted to share their stories for relevant articles. If you would like to contribute in this capacity, we have a short form that I can email you.

    Many thanks for your time,

    Fergus Harlow

  4. Hi Fergus

    Firstly I would like to thank you for coming by my blog and reading my musings. It means a lot to me when people post a comment, it provides me with all important feedback, that I am actually writing stuff that people are interested in.

    I have tried looking at the website “Pain Concern” but for some reason none of my browsers are loading the site. I wanted to find out more about the charity before committing to anything. However, I do feel honoured that you have asked me to contribute.

    Thank you again for this opportunity, I will also contact you via the email address that you have provided.

    Regards Faye

  5. Pingback: My life, my journey… | geocachingwithgeokids

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